Uganda: FEWS NET projected food security levels as stressed in the Greater Northern Region and a crisis in Karamoja

Staple food prices have continued to increase in recent months and are higher than prices recorded last year and five-year average levels across most of Uganda. Prices of staple sorghum and maize are now significantly above average in several key reference markets across the country. In Karamoja, terms of trade for sorghum against firewood, charcoal, and goats are below average and worse than last year, significantly restricting food access for poor households. After the first season bimodal harvest in June/July, food prices are expected to decline but are now expected to remain above average given expectations for below-average production, increased net exports, and impacts of the war in Ukraine on global supply chains and prices” (FEWS NET, 06.05.2022).

The Cassava Republic is getting hit hard by not only the rising commodity prices, but the weather. The agricultural production will be slowed down and that will hurt the farmers of the regions in the Northern Uganda and in the Karamoja sub-region. That is very evident and FEWS NET together with the World Food Programme is clearly having an oversight here. This here should worry the state, as it has targeted and had a military operation in Karamoja. Which is not mentioned here, but the burning region of Karamoja isn’t having a better times ahead of it. To the contrary things are only getting worse.

The Cassava Republic is also hit with an impactful war, which is not only hitting the exports of wheat, but in general. That’s why prices of commodities will go up and has gone up over the last year. Things are not getting better there either. Just read the quote below, which is a continuation of the first quote from FEWS NET on the matter.

In general, prices of food and non-food commodities have increased notably since late 2021. The main driving factors include rising transportation costs due to increasing fuel prices, seasonally declining market stocks, and reduced production prospects from the upcoming first season harvest following below average rainfall. More recently, impacts of the Russia-Ukraine crisis have driven further fuel price increases and increased the rate of general inflation of food and non-food commodities, further reducing household purchasing power. In March, retail prices of maize grain and sorghum increased farther above five-year average levels. Retail prices of beans and cassava generally remained below average in March, though prices of beans increased by 9-20 percent across monitored markets from February to March” (FEWS NET, 06.05.2022).

Here is the worrying statement:

However, rising food prices will likely result in some higher selling prices for famers, increasing access to income for those with near average production. For pastoralist households, pasture and water availability is expected to improve in May given the forecast of above-average rainfall. Overall, most households in bimodal areas are expected to access sufficient food and income to meet their essential food and non-food needs, with Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes expected to persist at the area level throughout the projection period. However, given revised expectations for a third consecutive below-average production season as well as rising prices of food and non-food commodities including fuel, Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes are now expected to persist throughout much of northern Uganda for the majority of the projection period. In Karamoja, availability of food and income is expected to remain seasonally limited as the lean season progresses. Given delays in the agricultural season, the lean season is now expected to last through July, longer than usual by about three weeks. During this time, insecurity is likely to continue constraining limiting income-earning, including from livestock production and sales. When schools reopen for the new term in early May, households will likely experience some improved food consumption due to WFP’s food and nutrition programming for school children, including school meals, take-home rations, and supplementary food for households with malnourished children. However, food prices are expected to continue increasing through around June until the harvest from bimodal areas begins to boost market supplies, with an increasing number of poor households likely to face consumption gaps and Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes during this time. Though some seasonal price declines are expected following this, prices are expected to remain above average. For many poor Karamoja households, below-average purchasing power will continue constraining access to food from market purchases. Around August/September, the start of harvesting in Karamoja is expected to support improved access to food from own consumption and income from crop sales and reduce the number of households facing consumption gaps, though Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to persist at the area level even during the post-harvest period. Overall, widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are now expected to persist through at least September, with worst-affected households facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes” (FEWS NET, 06.04.2022).

We are seeing changes and the next coming months will be impactful to say the least. As the farmers and everyone else will struggle. There will be lack of food and a distress in some parts of the Republic, but it can become really dire in Karamoja. The Karamoja where the army has attacked, burned villages and gone after the citizens. That’s where things are getting worse and where they will have a terrible food insecurity to the levels of crisis. They can possibly get into Emergency, which should worry anyone. This just really speaks of how the state is failing its citizens and things are not getting any better.

The state should act upon this and think of safeguards. Nevertheless, don’t think they will. They rather send more soldiers and have more birthday bashes for Muhoozi. Than being concerned with the lack of food or ability to plough their fields. No, the state is more busy scheming and enterprising for their own. That’s why this sort of news needs to be spread. Because, the citizens of Karamoja and the Greater North will be hurt by this. That is the message from FEWS NET and it should be heard. Peace.

Opinion: 10m shillings is the price of an average Acholi MP apparently…

“𝐀𝐜𝐡𝐨𝐥𝐢 𝐌𝐏𝐬 – UGX 312.9m” (NTV Uganda, 29.03.2022).

The Acholi Parliamentary Group (APG) has consisted of 29 MPs and if that is still the case. Then each of them is 10 million shillings in a “special operation” surrounding the burial of late Speaker Jacob Oulanyah.

This is now reported and it’s obviously why, because the APG said it would boycott and not stand behind anyone else than an Acholi for the Speakership in the 11th Parliament. However, they voted like the rest of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) in regards to the recent election of former Deputy Anita Annet Among, which is not Acholi. Therefore, their treats was pointless and fruitless. Also, their ideals of ring-fencing a position based on tribe. That totally failed.

Alas… they still got additional perks and a benefits drive, which is 10 million shillings into the bank. The APG MPs has clearly gotten paid off for their utter silence and continuing the cause of the State House and the President in the 11th Parliament.

As it is perfectly clear that the Acholi Parliamentary Group and the Acholi MPs pleas and rhetoric ahead of the poll on Kololo fell on deaf ears. The NRM High Command and NRM CEC had already decided. Well, even the NRM Caucus was falling in line and the vote was just a practicality and a necessary thing to do by law. Everything else was already settle a day in advance or so.

The Acholi hadn’t enough leverage and neither did have a man inside the NRM CEC. Since the late Oulanyah happened to be their representative. They had nothing to offer or show for it. This is why it was easily to see that it was more business as usual. Ensure the cause and the will of the President. Not assuring and re-assuring a sub-region of the Republic. No, that is just a cause, which you amplify when in need of votes. The rest of the time… they can fall in line and it is just as easy as dropping an envelope of few million shillings to silence them all.

The President and his merry men only needed 10 million shillings each to get them to back-off. He only needed a small kickback to get them of the hook. That’s all that he needed and that was their price. So cheap, so simple and it’s not even funny.

The Acholi MPs came at a bargain and they took it. Instead of standing their ground and trying to show some sense of solidarity. Nevertheless, they can easily be bought and it’s proven now. Peace.

Opinion: The Acholi MPs should worry about the hospital(s) in their region

That the Acholi Parliamentary Group should worry about the state of affairs locally and the lack thereof. Yes, they can be offended and cry havoc over some demonstrations held by National Unity Platform (NUP) activists in Seattle, United States, where Speaker of the Parliament Jacob Oulanyah is currently getting his treatment for his illness.

However, the Acholi MPs should worry that they have 5 district without hospitals and the ones they do have isn’t up to scratch. One the Lacor or St. Mary’s Hospital in Gulu is run on donations and not on government subsidies. As well, as one of the other hospitals in the region is Gulu Regional Referral Hospital, which lacks housing for staff, which was it has failed to complete after commissioning it 8 years ago in 2021. While the same hospitals also have trouble with it’s power supply, which is also insufficiently run oxygen plant at the hospital. That was reported also in 2021.

Therefore, the Acholi MPs should worry about the state of the hospitals it has in the region and the lack of thereof, which is striking. These MPs are more about image and displeased that Oulanyah is getting into trouble for his medical tourism. That is done, because the Ministry of Health and the Hospitals of the nation cannot help his sickness. This is why the state and the taxpayers are paying for his services, travel and costs of treatment. That’s why the Acholi MPs should worry about that tab and how these funds could have been utilized in the Republic.

Instead, the Acholi MPs are not showing a power move. The Acholi MPs should be concerned about how their citizens and constituents have to go far to get to the nearest hospital. Secondly, they might not able to get the treatment they need or deserve. Third, I doubt the state will foot the bill for any commoner from the sub-region to do the same. Because, we know these sorts of services only get footed and covered for the high ranking officials. A person in Kitgum or in Pader can forget to get this sort of medical help or ability to book a flight to the United States.

This is the failure of the MPs and the representative of the region to understand. They are fine that their own asses and possible offices is safeguarded, as they are regarded as honourables. Nevertheless, the citizens and the ones living in their region doesn’t have the same opportunities. The citizens has to walk long or get transport across the sub-region to get to a medical facility or even a working hospital.

This shows how mismanaged their adventure of going after the NUP. The Acholi MPs should ensure more voting of funds to the hospital and Ministry of Health. They should ensure the region and the districts have working hospitals with staff, medicine and equipment to help the ones getting sick. In such a fashion that Oulanyah doesn’t have to get fit-to-fly across the world for a hospital bed. That shows the world how these parliamentarians has failed their role and the ones who voted them in.

Since they rather wants to a pissing contest with NUP MPs and the Opposition party. To defend the honour of the speaker, instead of honouring the constituents who they represent on the daily. These are the ones they should care about and not that anyone demonstrate against the speaker. He is just one man and the state clearly couldn’t take care of him at home. That’s why the state had to foot the bill and pay for an expensive flight to the U.S. for him, which we know wouldn’t happen to any ordinary citizen of the state.

That’s why only the high ranking officials and the ones who is part of the anointed elite is allowed to be medical tourists on the bill of the state. This is what causing the outrage and the demonstration against Oulanyah. The same concerns could be put on the late Rev. Simon Lokodo who died while under treatment in Switzerland. Therefore, we know something is wrong in the Ministry of Health and the state of the hospitals in the Republic. If everything was working and they were proper places to be at. The High Ranking Officials would have stayed home and not travelled abroad to get treatment. That is just the reality here and its evident of what is lacking. Because if everything was working. Oulanyah would have been treated at Mulago or Aga Khan for that matter in Kampala. The same could have been said about Lokodo.

It is time the Acholi MPs reflects about that and not feels insulted by a few demonstrators. The Acholi MPs should worry about their districts and the lack of proper medical care or facilities there. Since that what’s really wrong here and the reason for Oulanyah’s fate in the first place. Peace.

Amuru Land Grab: The Legacy of Atiak Sugar Factory

Today on the 23rd October 2020 President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni commissioned Atiak Sugar Factory. This is not without consequences. The industrial enterprise has cost two thousands citizens their lands.

It has been years since the 11th December 2014. There been reports that the Madhvani Group have used land for big sugar-cane plantations, which are the producers for the Atiak Factory. This has been the reason for the land grabbing and forced evictions of the Acholi. The Madhvani Group established their Amuru Sugar Works who was getting 40,000 hectares of land.

The state will proclaim the amount of people working there and families, which is supposed to participating in the enterprise. They are only proclaiming the great things. However, not telling the costs in Amuru district or amount of forced evictions. Neither, addressing the bailouts of the investor. Who is behind the Sugar Factory either.

Today, that should not be forgotten. People have died in protests over the years. There been naked protests and MPs arrested over this. Therefore, the Atiak Sugar Factory has created issues. These should not be forgotten in the starting of production at the factory.

The factory is partly owned by the state and Horyal Investment Holdings Company Limited. Atiak Sugar factory located in Gem Farm, Atiak sub-county, Kilak County, in Amuru District. In Okidi North there are residents who said their was kicked out by the building of the factory and the land. The total of people in articles mentioned is about 80 people. As the Atiak Factory and its estate covers about 16,000 hectares of land. There been speculation of about 80 people thrown out of their lands needing redress for losing their land.

Therefore, there are plenty of scandals in the building of this factory. That they didn’t clear the legalities before the Madhvani Group or Horyal Investment Holdings got their land. This should have been fixed before the citizens was thrown away from their land without any compensation becoming Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in camps. That has happen in this regard, but the President only wants to praise for the industrial enterprise itself.

This factory needs to be remembered for all the folks who lost their land by the state and foreign investors who got it. Because, this wasn’t just a small token and building a factory somewhere. No, this was forcing an industry into an area. Bailing out an investor (Horyal) at least once, maybe twice in the years since 2016. Also, giving land cheaply to Madhvani Group to produce sugar-cane. Therefore, this isn’t a success, but a depressing move into modernity and producing of sugar.

It isn’t sweet, but it is instead bitter. Peace.

Kanyamunyu confesses to the murder of Akena: Is the Mato Oput enough?

“The rare process and ceremony of mato oput is undertaken only in the case of intentional or accidental killing of an individual. The ceremony involves two clans bringing together the perpetrator and the victim in a quest for restoring social harmony. Mato oput begins by separating the affected clans, mediation to establish the ‘truth’ and payment of compensation according to by-laws.  The final ritual, ‘drinking the bitter root’ is a day-long ceremony involving symbolic acts designed to reunite the clans” (Justice & Reconciliation Project (JRP) – Mato Oput Ceremony, 10.05.2010).

In November 2016, there was an unfortunate murder of Kenneth Akena. After that has followed a long process and an aftermath, which has not answered the needs for retribution after the killing of a innocent civilian. The ones suspected, Kanyamunyu brothers, Matthew and Joseph Kanyamunyu. Also, Matthews girlfriend Cynthia Munwangari.

This process have been going on for years with relief and no verdict. The accused have been left of the hook and the ones investigating have let it be. Therefore, the stories now unfolding. Is very telling.

That Matthew Kanyamunyu have asked for forgiveness to the Acholi Elders and Akena’s family. That shows remorse and also that he says the culprit. Which is very different story, then the ones peddled in 2016 to 2018. When they claimed to be innocent and not involved in the murder of Akena.

Now, Matthew has deliberately stated his guilt. Because, before the story was that the brothers damaged the car of Akena but didn’t kill him or shoot him. Alas, that story has to be altered now, as the man has plead guilty in from the Acholi Elders.

Even in February of 2020 in the Courts, Kanyamunyu claimed he was a good Samaritan to Akena and only quarrelled with him, because he scratched his Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. That story should also be dismissed now, as he did take the blame this week.

Its time to get closure here, even if Matthew and the brothers gives 10 cows to the family of Akena. The family of Akena will never get Kenneth back. He been dead and this has haunted Matthew. He tried to run away from the deed, but it never went away.

That’s why he 4 years later confesses to the family of the deceased and to the elders of Acholi. What is striking is that he could roam free and not face the consequences of his actions to this time. That Matthew had such suction and reach within the chambers of power. This is shown by the time that has lapsed without any verdict in Court. That it has been running, but no definite answer to it.

What is also striking is that the man pleaded not guilty right from the jump into earlier this year. Not like he haven’t tried to play this out and be totally cleared of the guilt. He has used the prolonged justice system and the mechanisms there to run away from charges and incarceration.

That he plead guilty now to Acholi elders is fine and dandy, it is an important event and that he takes accountability for his misdeeds. That he took the life of Akena and is responsible for his fate. That’s why he apologized. However, that is maybe enough for them, but is it enough for society?

Because, if the man is of the hook for kneeling and confessing, how cheap is life then? Especially, considering how long he defended himself and how long he pleaded “not guilty”. Just because he has a change of heart. He thinks this is enough. Give a few cows and ask for an apology. That is not answering for the crime committed but bonding himself out with a gesture and a smaller pay-off to the deceased family.

This is a traditional mediation ceremony, which was performed. The Mato Oput is important for the Acholi and their traditions. However, the man should answer in the courts of law. Where he has denied and denied the whole murder case. So, that it can have some legal remedy as well. He has now confessed and that should matter to the pending case and the unanswered legal retribution.

Because, if not… then Akena’s life was just worth 10 cows and could be traded away that easily. After years of denial. That shouldn’t be enough, especially the way the Kanyamunyu have played this case out in the public sphere. Peace.

President Musveni letter to Minister Matia Kasaija: “Delays in Clearing Imported Machinery By M/S Guangzhou Dongsong Energy Group (U) Co. Ltd” (14.08.2018)

Opinion: Museveni goes bananas in his defense of the Bugiri By-Election loss!

“My Reflections on Age Limit and Election in new Municipalities” – Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on the 30th July 2018

There are something striking about the defense of the loss in Bugiri Municipality, would think there was warfare and additional cult-like obsessions from the opposition who won. That they we’re tricking the Electoral Commission and that they had the economic capacity of the National Resistance Movement (NRM).

When he claims the losses of the recent by-elections are on voter tourism, have he seen many buses hired by the Forum for Democratic Change? Have he seen or heard reports of dodgy caravans crossing one district to another on polling?

This is the whirlwind of nonsense, as a mad-man using all methods to capture the lack of finesse and use of message from him. President Museveni are using fear and intimidation towards the public, that is why everyone isn’t biting and he cannot manage that. He is now seeing that the opposition if they have the right amount of power behind them, they can actually galvanize popularity. However, he calls it sectarianism and pseudo-ideology, nevertheless, the first I don’t even care for answering, but second needs to be addressed.

By a man of recycled promises, an empty treasure chest, 32 years of rule, less and less results to prove of his ideology or even governance. He shouldn’t claim of others, he should keep his mouth shut and walk-on. Museveni is an empty headed buffoon, whose place is on the farm rearing cows and not being an executive. The defense of the loss in Bugiri proves it.

He call it these things, when they don’t follow the Correct Line, the “Follow My Guidelines”, that is how he is and he cannot help himself. That is part of the lost cause, the man with the old hat. Thinks everything should be focused around and his reign. The ones who doesn’t listen or being servants to his orders, are sectarian or following a pseudo-ideology, if you feel that sounds like hogwash? Your absolutely right.

President Museveni, you have overstayed your welcome, people are tired of you and your lies. You have promised the world, but not even given them a glimpse of honest leadership. That is why people become your enemies, when they are not listening to you or following your commands. Which is sort of a bugging narrative to repeat, but the reality, nevertheless.

You still have the majority, still sitting secure in the State House and controls the army, so right now, Mr. President, you have no need to fear. These elements will always be out there, because everyone will never follow your every command and every word. Because that wise your not and that level of expertise in every field, you have not.

You might have taxed the Over-The-Top Service, but your delivering Down-At-The-Bottom Services to your people. Time for you to relax and figure another way to rule. I know it is to late, but someone has to say it. Best would be to retire and hang-out with Mugabe. Peace.

Mzee says “Follow My Guidelines” and expect everyone to tag-along!

Repeatedly, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni cannot help himself. He just have to throw someone else under the bus. He is riding the bus, put up all the protocols for the bus, he has made the legislation and even made the entire legal framework since 1986 and still he complains about the judiciary. It is as if the man forgets his place and that his own role as the sign-offs of laws, the ones that put them through Parliament is himself.

How stupid does Museveni think people are? That should be an important question at this point, because he always blame others for his short-comings, if it wasn’t him; it was the British, the Obote’s and the Amin’s, but never the high and mighty Museveni. No, that cannot happen, he is perfection and the greatest ever gracing the blue planet of ours.

“But in a statement issued on Monday, Museveni, who is in South Africa for the BRICS Summit, said the judges fell short of understanding the importance of a long term for the elected leaders but concentrated on theatrics. “Unfortunately, our judges in Uganda spend more time on form and not substance, on procedure and not substance,” said Museveni. “My freedom fighter’s sense of justice, in this matter (the age limit ruling) focuses more on the convenience of 7 years rather than 5 years. With the 5 years, a lot of time is spent on electioneering and less time on development; the first two years settling in, the third year some work in the constituency and, then, by the 4th year, electioneering again,” he emphasised. Museveni said, in the end, however, “the judges are not the ones in charge of the country.” He stressed that, “If the NRM MPs follow my guidelines and bond closely with the people, through wealth and job creation, we can, together with the people, make the necessary Constitutional reforms, judges or no judges.” The President said the Constitution should “facilitate the modernization of Uganda and the economic and political integration of Africa for the survival of the people of Africa as free people, not just the theatre of democracy of form without addressing substance.” (Kim Aine – ‘Museveni on Age Limit Ruling: Judges are not in Charge of Uganda’ 30.07.2018, link: https://chimpreports.com/museveni-on-age-limit-ruling-judges-are-not-in-charge-of-uganda/).

He is blaming the judges for stopping the extension of the time of MPs, even if the legal framework doesn’t abide to it. Meaning, that if the President really cared about this and about the laws. He would ensure they were passed properly, even if I have a hard time believing his blast of them. Since, the same laws that ensured the passing of the abolishment of age limit, didn’t need to be fulfilled when concerning him. However, the laws was applied when concerning MPs, that was the need for a referendum and also more public consultations, not just rubberstamping the law and call-it a day.

The judiciary have their place, as they are following the rules of law put in front of them and abide by the set of framework the politicians put together in Parliament. As the pass the laws, it is not like the judges makes these laws and orders. Not in theory, therefore, the whole blasting of them is just weird. When the one law applied to MPs and their extension, but not to the President. He should be more careful with his wording, because why didn’t the same laws apply to him and with the consultation of the extension of his time in office?

Why?

Because the judges are appointed by him and they are working for him, they don’ won’t to bite the hand that feeds them. The key thing out of this was: “follow my Guidelines”, meaning, his words is law and the way forward. There are nothing else to state on the matter. Museveni have the guidelines and the rest have to be in submission and follow, there are no but, if’s or what. It is just follow me and than you can rest assure. That is it. Peace.

Age Limit: Erias Lukwago statement after Age Limit Judgement on the 26th July 2018

The frustration and disillusionment many of you and I feel this evening cannot be gainsaid. But I believe it has not been an exercise in futility, for the luganda adage that “nkuwaabidde takuvirako awo” has come to pass.

I am glad that the the Constitutional Court has embraced and incorporated in our constitutional jurisprudence the novel doctrine of “Basic Structure”; a very instrumental tool that informed judicial activism in a number of commonwealth jurisdictions like India, South Africa, Belize etc. I’m only disappointed that they shied away from applying it to all the provisions of the impugned age limit Act and strike it down. Nonetheless, it provides a firm foundation for the next course of action.

We shouldn’t loose sight of the fact that even leopards sweat. We should not despair. Step by step, brick by brick we shall build the Uganda we want. Remember that dictatorships world over do not fall by gravitational force like ripe mangoes, but through sustained struggles and concerted actions of right thinking people.

We must harness and seize every available lawful means to push on with the struggle for rule of law and Constitutional governance. My sincere gratitude to all Ugandans who have walked with us in this strenuous journey. Aluta continua.

For God and My Country.

Opinion: Not shocked that Museveni get another day!

The Age Limit Saga seemed like it would never finish in Mbale today. The Constitutional Court today has given a postponed verdict. This was the finalization of the petition to withdraw or to get the Age Limit “null and void”. However, that didn’t happen and isn’t surprising, that out of the five judges, four judges voted in favor of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. So the life presidency is established by the Constitutional Court today.

This was expected. This wasn’t breaking news. This is just what to anticipate by the National Resistance Movement and the regime of Museveni. Nothing was shocking about it. That one man was against it, seems like a clever way of masking difference of legal opinion, but not making the charade more real. This result was to be expected, just like the lawmakers was supposed to deliver this law and ensure that Museveni got another day as the almighty ruler.

It became 4 to 1 in favor of Museveni becoming the life president, while the judges was agreeing, that the MPs are not allowed without a referendum to go from 5 years to 7 years referendum. Clearly, showing the lack of balance and also a back-slap from the Court to make it sting. This is sending the message, that the State House is deciding matters and not the Parliament. They are only loyal followers of the President. That is why the President is allowed to rule beyond his Age Limit, but the MPs are not allowed to give themselves more time in power.

This here should be seen as another day in the regime of Museveni. Where he has secured himself, used the institution in favor of himself, the MPs are just tools of his reign. If the MPs doesn’t understand that by now, then they are blind fools who has succumbed to the greed and opportunities of the office. They have been self-serving and shown that with their actions and voted for the President in hour of greed.

That is why Museveni knows even as he punish them and stings them, he takes the crown and secure himself. He doesn’t care, he got what he need and has validated himself, by his appointed judges, who delivered what he needs. That is not surprising. That is just to expect.

The ones saying this is a victory for anyone but Museveni. Is lying directly in your face. They are doling out a big fat lie. The winner took it all, took the bride and the kingdom, left only breadcrumbs for the guests. That is what happen today. Peace.

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