By Godfrey Olukya 4-10-2012
Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni has urged the government of Saudi Arabia to allow Uganda’s Muslim pilgrims undertake their religious obligation to the Arab country for the annual Muslim haj pilgrimage saying the country is free of the Ebola epidemic.
The President said this while meeting the Saudi Arabia Ambassador to Uganda, Dr. Jamal Abdulaziz Raffa, who called on him at State House, Entebbe. He said Uganda is officially declared free of Ebola as there are no more new cases of the strain that have been reported for over one month.
‘Our Muslims should be allowed to go to Mecca because we no longer have cases of Ebola in the country.’ Museveni said.
Saudi Arabia had refused to allow Ugandans into their country fearing that they would take there Ebola
The Ministry of Health today officially declared an end of the Ebola outbreak following the completion of 42 days of the post Ebola Surveillance countdown period which is a prerequisite of the World Health Organization requiring any affected country to monitor the Ebola situation.
Announcing the declaration today from Kagadi hospital where the epidemic was first reported, the State Minister for Health in Charge of Primary Health Care Hon. Sarah Opendi Acheng appealed to all countries with travel bans on Uganda to lift them to enable free movement of people.
Some two million pilgrims from around the world perform the annual pilgrimage to the two holy cities of Mecca Islam’s birthplace and Medina. About 900 Uganda Muslims could miss taking part in the pilgrimage following Saudi Arabian authorities’ refusal to issue visas on the basis that the country is not yet Ebola free.
Ambassador Jamal Abdulaziz Raffa assured the President that he would speak to the Saudi Government authorities about the request of the Government of Uganda seeking clearance for Ugandan Muslim pilgrims to travel to Saudi Arabia for the pilgrimage.