If it were not for the issue of blood donations, being critical, as a factor in the presence of the Uganda Blood Transfusion Service (UBTS), more regarded as the Blood Bank, it would have been actually advisable to ignore it. Yet if one does that, they risk falling into the same blackmailing trap that they seem to have acceded to.
More than a week ago, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) leadership, threw down this gauntlet. Unless the officials of the Blood Bank apologized for having ratted on an appointment they had organized to collect blood from the FDC members at their Najjanankumbi headquarters, FDC would campaign against blood donations.
This is undoubtedly an extreme reaction on the part of FDC, but they have an argument for a number of reasons. One: the Blood Bank went national to publicize their plight that it had run out of blood for transfusion services to give to the hospitals to the sick, who need the blood during medical operations.
The Blood Bank needs nearly 360,000 litres of blood annually, but they collect only about 240,000, leaving a deficit of 120,000. In a dire statistic it would mean that, if there are that equal number of people countrywide, needing a transfusion of blood, lack of it means that they would die.
As a national opposition party, FDC saw it as their duty to the citizens, to all possible lengths, to cover that shortage. That is why they organized that the Blood Bank would go to collect blood from willing FDiC members and others who would come to the venue. They did not know that the Blood Bank officials had a catch to it.
Which brings the second point: blood is life; therefore, the Blood Bank officials should not use the withdrawal of collecting it to save their jobs and skins. The collected FDC members waited for the Blood Bank officials in Najjanankumbi to arrive to carry out their duty for several hours, but in vain.
It eventually occurred to the FDC party president, Patrick Oboi Amuriat (POA), that they were not forthcoming. It made him reflect that there must be a political motive to this absence. Despite several calls to the Blood Bank officials, they avoided their phones: and they avoided Najjanankumbi.
FDC officials said that, the corresponding party, the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) had organized similar occasions which the Blood Bank responded to positively. This has been strenuously denied by William Mugisha,a senior Blood Bank official. Instead he accused FDC of trying to stage the occasion in te Blood Bank heir headquarters as a mark of politicizing the donations.
Whatever the case, by the Blood Bank not going to collect the blood from Najjanankumbi, smacks to act in the realm of “political correctness” and fearing for their jobs, when perceived to be cottoning to the wishes of the FDC. Is that what the Blood Bank officials want?
Even when journalists wanted the Blood Bank officials to explain this development, they went AWOL (Away from official leave) to avoid embarrassing explanations. It is however clear what must have happened.
NRM important officials must have warned the Blood Bank not to give FDC political-boosting publicity in donating blood for the good of the people; or risk losing their jobs. In a country where jobs are becoming a second lifeline, Blood Bank officials undoubtedly listened to this political blackmail – and kept away.
But this is unacceptable; and this leads to the third point: is listening even to ridiculous logic worth the lives of the citizens. The Blood Bank officials obviously thought so.
Put it this way: if FDC goes national on this campaign and succeeds in making people to keep away from donating blood, then there would be uncountable deaths which would be put on the head of the Blood Bank for failure to collect the blood, even when they had been invited to do so.
The NRM would conveniently keep off, but later come to blame both the Blood Bank and FDC for causing the blood shortage. This is a skewered form of political chess played on the sensibilities of both the Blood Bank and the lives of Ugandans.
No amount of explanation will come from the Blood Bank officials to offset this logic. It means that they will constantly come up with lies to explain their absence in the matter and to cover the official warnings, but for all that they should apologize to the FDC, and go and collect the blood for the sake of the lives of Ugandans.