Uganda: Major National Review Recommends Ways of Ending Hunger in Uganda (27.07.2017)
I write what I like.
“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.” – Harry Truman (Special Message to the Congress on the Internal Security of the United States, August 8, 1950).
Certainly, the National Resistance Movement and their government doesn’t seem to care how they look. None of their pledges or even written letters to the Local Government matters. Not even in the midst of famine and starvation. You would think that a government and their agencies had sense of keeping their promises to the ones who needs the most basic in life – as their plates are empty after droughts and bad governance. Therefore, the NRM has no sense, when the Bukedea district are reacting that their promised food relief is less; than promised from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) Dr. Ruhakana Ruganda and his department. Certainly, this is disrespecting the people and the citizens of Bukedea. Take a look!
“Mike Okwii, the district secretary for health and social services wants the matter investigated expeditiously before they can distribute what they have received. “According to the letter signed by the commissioner of disaster and preparedness, Bukedea was supposed to get 800 bags of posho and 400 bags of beans. But the district has received only 400 bags of posho and 50 bags of beans, which is shocking. So for us at the district leadership, we have decided not to distribute this food. Not until when OPM delivers all the food items”, he said. Okwii confirmed that as of now, nobody has given them any response as to why the Office of the Prime Minister delivered consignments that have fewer supplies that what was declared. “Nobody has given us the right answer why they delivered less food compared to what is on the delivery note. The minister for Teso Affairs is going to follow the matter because you can imagine the minister came to Bukedea to allocate food to the sub-counties. Little did she know that she allocated food which is not even there”, he added (URN, 2017).
The reason for the disrespect is staggering as the reports of termites and insects to survive, proves the lacking governance and upkeep of institutions. Also, the agricultural sector has been left behind, as the irrigation and thinking of how use water in farming. Certainly, the food relief is a way of making sure the people eat while they wait for next season and possible time to start farming again. These in regions that has been hard hit and the government had been warned by FAO and FEWSNET, so these reports should have forewarned them.
“Food is required besides the medication. If someone is sick, the first treatment is food; medicine works well on a well fed body,” said Dr. Chebitai” (New Vision, 2017). Therefore, with the knowledge that the state still has the capacity to not deliver what so needed and necessary is not only a theft, but taken food of the plates of those who starve. That the NRM has the audacity to this proves how they can easily neglect their citizens. Even taking away their first treatment, that is the level of disappointment, the ruling regime can to do their own. Peace.
New Vision – ‘Parliament staff donate food items to Teso’ (07.05.2017) link:http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1453187/parliament-staff-donate-food-items-teso
There are something deeply wrong, so sincerely wrong when the citizens doesn’t get needed food relief and have to eat termites and insects to survive. This is the state of the famine now in Teso Region, in Katakwi, Amuria, Bukedea and Kaberamaido district.
“Mr Robert Okitoi, the Amuria District council chairperson, said “The situation is bad, people are now eating termites. I think the government should just declare a state of emergency for the regions of Teso, Karamoja and Lango.” (NTV Uganda, 01.06.2017). On the 26th April 2017 the Parliament has passed a motion to declare ‘State of Emergency’ in Uganda, but the President and the State House has not done anything about it.
Still, a local farmer wrote a piece to the Chimp Reports that has some valuable assessments:
“The current hunger in Teso has largely been attributed to drought, while this assertion may hold some truths; there is increasingly evidence that the Ministry of Teso Affairs has not done its part. Hunger in Teso is as a result of both internal and external factors. For many years, the region has been experiencing declining productivity and this was recently worsened by drought. For districts like Ngora, Bukedia and Kumi, land fragmentation has heavily affected productivity” (…) “Clearly besides drought, Teso food systems are in a crisis and our expectation was that the Ministry of Teso affairs working with other stakeholders would work to address this problem. Our view is that hunger should be among the ‘affairs’ that Ministry of Teso Affairs should be engaged in.Agriculture remains a major livelihood for our people in Teso and therefore we require urgent response from Ministry of Teso Affairs on its plans to help our people get out of the current hunger crisis”(Akorikin, 2017).
This here proves that the drought is just the last piece of the straw in a bigger problem, that even the State Ministry has not been in-charge and had the oversight of the Teso Region. There are lacking the support they need. Still, the government still have done something now and then. Like this one relief to Kaberamaido district: “Kaberamaido district has finally received 12, 000 kilograms of relief food from government valued at Shillings 33 million. Kaberamaido is among the districts battling a severe food crisis resulting from crop failure due to prolonged drought. The most affected areas in the district are Ochero, Bululu, Kobulubulu, Kaberamaido, and Apapai sub counties. With over 5,000 households facing starvation representing about half of the total population in the district, the 12,000 kilograms of flour delivered is far from solving the food crisis” (Odongo, 2017). That means on the 30th April 2017, the government delivered 12.000kgs of flour that is estimated to be 231,000 citizens in the district alone. Therefore, you don’t have to be rocket scientist to know that this food relief to the one district isn’t enough…
“The minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness, Hilary Onek, has offered a bit of advice to the hunger-stricken; stop selling the little food you have left. Onek said the weather has become so unreliable for Ugandans to hold on to the little hope for better yields. “They should consider family needs first before selling all the food. Districts like Lira had a lot of food but it [food] was sold to traders from Kenya, South Sudan and even Rwanda because people want money,” he said in an interview. Asked whether government would consider banning the sale of food to outsiders, Onek said they wouldn’t, in the spirit of the East African Community. “That is not an option we will consider; we only want people to behave responsibly to take care of their family needs before they sell all the food,” he said” (UMDF, 2017).
So now the Minister Onek gives advice to the impoverished citizens, so that they are careful with their food stocks, as the relief of the districts are not up-to par. Therefore, that they didn’t stock the extra foods and now they tell the families to take of it. The government could have used their resources and built food-stocks, instead of living hand to mouth. The small-time farmers in the Teso-Region certainly, needs more than fear of selling what they don’t have, they need support and food relief.
The state also has to facilitate the farmers, not in Operation Wealth Creation or Jerry-Can irrigation, but real projects, storage of food-stocks and recreate farmers Co-Ops in the districts and sub-counties to collectively earn and work together to get better yields and also productivity in general. But that isn’t a scheme and way the National Resistance Movement can corrupt or thieve the funds from. Therefore, that will not happen and is the reason why the similar institutions are gone during the decades of President Museveni.
The Teso Region and these district needs help, the man-made famine together with the drought that has worsen it. So the Government has to charge and actually make a difference, not just thieve monies away from Kampala. Peace.
Akorikin, Francis – ‘OPINION: Government Should Review the Relevance of Ministry of Teso Affairs’ (05.05.2017) link: https://www.chimpreports.com/opinion-government-should-review-the-relevance-of-ministry-of-teso-affairs/
Odongo, Ronald – ‘Kaberamaido Receives 12,000 KGs of Food Relief’ (30.04.2017) link: https://ugandaradionetwork.com/story/govt-delivers-12000-kilograms-of-posho-worth-ugx-33m-to-famine-hit-residents
Uganda Media Development Foundation (UMDF) – ‘HILARY ONEK TO HUNGER VICTIMS: DON’T SELL FOOD’ (01.05.2017) link: https://www.umdf.or.ug/?q=content/hilary-onek-hunger-victims-don%E2%80%99t-sell-food
“A dictator who is elected 5 times. That must be a wonderful dictator. That must be a special one” – President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (Al Jazeera Interview on the Talk to Al Jazeera, 29.04.2017).
First of President Museveni isn’t in his 5th Term, rewriting the history as they have deleted the coup d’etat in 1986 as well, as the period into the first election of 1996. Therefore, he has decade most people tries to forget, where he was “unelected” and power-grabbing. If you then count on the time and such, the right amount of terms would be that he is currently in his 7th !
Well, enough of the sadness of how many terms the 31 year long ruling and wonderful dictator has, today he had to cast his spell on the Labor Day and show his fury of his lazy citizens. Not that he is that hardworking himself, as he eats of the plate himself and empty the state reserves to buy private planes. But that is another discussion!
Therefore, here is the key parts of the speech that is important for me to discuss!
“On the issue of the shortage of food in some areas that hit us last season, my advice is to use relief very carefully for two reasons. The first reason is that relief can kuremaza (disorient) our people away from production to, instead, get in the habit of waiting for relief. Secondly, Ugandans should know that when we are eating relief food, we should know that we are chewing a road, a school or a health centre. Therefore, relief should only be for the really unavoidable situations. It should not be used by politicians for cheap popularity or frivolously (let us take the government food since it is available) or even for corruption by government officials (get the food for selling claiming that it is for relief). Finally, I would like to say that work is the only way to get people out of poverty. I, therefore, urge all Ugandans to develop a positive attitude to work. The NRM government will continue to provide an enabling environment for establishing businesses and creation of employment” (Museveni, 2017).
That he has problem that people are asking and needing food relief is beyond me. Secondly calling them disoriented because of the lacking yields, the burning fire of the sun and the result of the El Nino. But that is just me. That the State and Government could have made sure the rainwater was saved and have more structure so they wasn’t starving in the first place. But then again, Mr. President is never at fault, always casting blame on someone else. Therefore, the citizens is to blame for lacking rains and yields, and also lacking government policies and will to implement some sort agency that support the farmers.
The popularity he speaks of it the ones that want the President to act and declare an emergency, as the volatile and dire situation, as so many people in the hurt districts are eating less a meal a day! Still, he claims people are trading and selling the food without giving it away for relief. Like they sometimes do with clothes, the secondhand rule that some is given, but other is traded away for profits on the secondhand markets. If it was so, shouldn’t the president set his standard and authority to stop this men and woman from thieving the food from the ones in need? I guess he is lazy and disoriented, eating of the licensed roads and royalties of oil prospects instead of really feeding the ones in need.
This isn’t about poverty itself, it is the core mismanagement of his 7th term government, the lack of institution and the lack agricultural oversight, as the jerrycans into prosperity is a lie. That the starvation and famine is about attitude and not about lacking government oversight. If it was the latter and not the first, he was to blame; since he is the kingpin on the top and should have acted before the famine occur, but that had happen if he was legitimate leader. Nevertheless, he is self-made, self-righteous, individual who doesn’t care how ruthless and inconsiderate he is. This wasn’t words uttered for the betterment of the Republic of Uganda, it was to wash to hands of his sins and walk away from the problems. That because the famine and the food insecurity was made of lazy Ugandans and not because of drought…
Well, the wonderful dictator has hands in the state reserves and dislike that he cannot expand his ranch as much usual, pay of his daughters travels expenses or Lady Janet luxurious footwear. Who knows where all the confidential funds go, but certainly not drip-drop/bottle irrigation scheme. Certainly, this President isn’t worried about district roads, which is nearly impossible to travel through in Abletong on anywhere else for that matter. So when he says that the public is eating of roads and other infrastructure projects when they are starving during droughts and famines. Shows little mercy, this little despot with no empathy… it is gone with all the souls he has captured and stolen their future from by staying in power, I guess.
That President Museveni trying to put a spell on the people for trying to survive in hard-times, in times of tribulations and drought, as the state as struggling to give them a decent food relief. The man in charge is saying they are the reason for lacking roads and infrastructure projects because of that! Than, he also says the ones who stands firm in Parliament, asking for him to humble himself and stand down. To beg for mercy and help, to gain extra support and tell that he has mismanaged the Republic with a “State of Emergency” proves true leadership. They want their leader to take responsibility!
If he was truly elected 5 times, wouldn’t he offer more to the ones that he needed their support? Alas, it isn’t so, because he knows he rigs and put fear into the public… instead of having their real support and getting their votes. If he had so, he might have showed some flair and said he would help them because it was his duty. Not that the people are eating of the infrastructure budget.
Me translating so anyone really understand what he is understating in his speech today:“You lazy bastards are eating of government money because you are starving, you should be able to dig roots and eat rats, not eat of the state reserves. The sun didn’t burn that hard and you didn’t collect enough water with your bare hands. While I am driving 30 cars convoys and flying overseas to be a VIP. How dare you insult these foreign investors by eating my road money, aye?”. That is what you can take from the speech of this wonderful President and wonderful dictator Museveni! Peace.
Museveni, Yoweri Kaguta – ‘SPEECH ON THE OCCASION TO MARK INTERNATIONAL LABOUR DAY’ (01.05.2017) link: https://www.yowerikmuseveni.com/speech-occasion-mark-international-labour-day
I don’t know about you but this story should horrify you, as the concern of the citizens is clearly lacking, as their food insecurity is not well taken care off. The Ugandan Government clearly has maladministration or lacking resources, or only funds to Presidential Handshakes and the Presidential Jet. Because the districts of Lira, Dokolo and Alebtong isn’t getting their needs fulfilled. Just take a look!
“Government has delivered 5,400kgs of rice as relief for vulnerable communities faced with food shortage in Lango sub region” (…) “The relief supplies were delivered to Lira, Dokolo and Alebtong districts on Thursday evening. Each district will receive 1,800 kilograms of rice in the distribution. Lira district secretary for production Anthony Ojuka says the supplies will be distributed to extremely vulnerable families comprising of widows, persons living with HIV/Aids and the elderly, among others” (URN, 2017).
To put the whole food delivery and relief supplies into context!
Lira district: The Water Supply Atlas claims in Lira District that it lives about 442,128 people there (Water Uganda, 2017). The Water Supply Atlas claims in Dokolo District it lives about 196,591 people in the district (Water Uganda, 2017). The same Water Supply Atlas claims in Abletong District to be living there about 241,596 people (Water Uganda, 2017). A rough estimate would say that in these three district there are living about 879,000 people!!!
Out of the rice donated, let’s do some math:
Out of the 5,400kgs supposed to be divided on 879,000 people is equal to 0,00614kg per person. So it means measly 0,006kg rice each. That is not even a handful a piece. People are already struggling to eat and the sum of food is insane. If they would deliver anything serious, it should be tons upon tons.
Each district we’re getting 1,800kgs rice is really depressing, especially thinking of the amount of people living there. Just think about it 1,800kgs rice to be shared in Lira district on 442 thousand people, 1800kgs to the amound of 196 thousand people in Dokolo district, 1800kgs shared on 241 thousand people in Abletong district!
There is something seriously wrong with the math-squad of the NRM and their willing people to deliver this sort of relief. Therefore, the first relief to Lira district we’re more sincere: “On March 31, Lira received 25 tonnes of food supplies which was distributed to those in dire need of food” (URN, 2017). That is something fruitful and profound from the government. Still, a month ago, but proves some willingness to make the people survive. Since in Lira District there are 442,128 people and seriously 1,800kgs rice cannot be sustainable, that is measly meals for kingpins of the NRM leadership in Lira town, but not for the whole district even. The same can be said abot the Dokolo District and the Abletong distict!
This is a meager attempt of food relief, if they want to serious with the 879,000 living in this area, they better come with tons of rice and food supplies, that would last and would give more than a handful to chosen few. The NRM cannot be proud of this attempt of needed relief here. Better man-up and ask for State of Emergency, as the NRM cannot have enough funds or manpower to relieve the district in dire need food. Peace.
URN – ‘Govt delivers 5400 Kgs of relief food to Lango sub-region’ (29.04.2017) link:http://observer.ug/news/headlines/52605-govt-delivers-5400-kgs-of-relief-food-to-lango-sub-region.html
Uganda Travel Guide – ‘ Lira District’ link: http://www.ugandatravelguide.com/lira-district.html
Water Uganda – ‘Dokolo District’ (28.04.2017) link: http://www.wateruganda.com/index.php/reports/district/31
Water Uganda – ‘Abletong District’ (28.04.2017) link: http://www.wateruganda.com/index.php/reports/district/108
Water Uganda – ‘Lira District’ (28.04.2017) link: http://www.wateruganda.com/index.php/reports/district/45
Prime Minister Rukana Rugunda in Parliament as the motion went to the plenary: “There are hospitals that have no drugs” (Parliament Watch, 26.04.2017)
Today the 10th Parliament passed a motion made by Hon. Monica Amonding (Kumi District), Hon. Felix Ogong Okot (Dokolo South) and Hon. Silas Aogon (Kumi Municipality). They urged the President to declare the Republic are in a “State of Emergency”. This would be done over the famine and influx of refugees, that the Ugandan Republic would naturally both struggle with. As the Government have not functioning structures to fulfill the disasters at this rate, neither the over a 1 million of South Sudanese refugees.
The Minister can be quoted in the motion saying this:
“WHEREAS objective XXII of the National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy states that the State shall take appropriate steps to encourage people to grow and store adequate food, establish national food reserve and encourage and promote proper nutrition through mass education and other appropriate means in order to build a health state;” (…) “AND WHEREAS OBJECTIVE XIII urges the State to institute effective machinery for dealing with any hazard or disaster arising out of natural calamities or any situation resulting in displacing of the people or serious disruption of their normal life;” (…) “NOTHING THAT Article 110 (1) (b) provides that the President may in consultation with cabinet, by a proclamation, declare that a state of emergency exists in Uganda or any parts of Uganda if he satisfied that the security of economic life of the Country or a part of the Country is threatened by natural disaster” (…) “FURTHER NOTHING THAT most parts of Uganda has this year suffered prolonged drought and famine which has not allowed people to plant on time, while what has already have been planted have dried up and has not yielded any fruits;” (…) “NOTHING THAT the prolonged drought has become a big threat to the lives of both people and animals since Uganda largely depends on agriculture for both food and income;” (…) “REALIZING THAT as a result of this drought and famine, a number of people have been taken ill and others have died of starvation;” (…) “COGNISANT THAT food insecurity has escalated and it’s believed to be the major reason behind the wave of criminal activities which has swept the country and caused mayhem through the country, since people are desperate to get what to feed on;” (…) “AWARE THAT Members of Parliament have on several occasions alerted government of the looming dangers that the Country faces it stringent measures are not put in place to arrest the level of famine in the country” (…) “NOW THEREFORE this motion if moved urging – The President to declare a state of emergency in the country to address the food insecurity” (Motion for a Resolution of Parliament Urging the President to Declare A State of Emergency to address the Alarming Food Insecurity in the Country, 26.04.2017 – Uganda Parliament).
That the MP’s Amonding, Okot and Aogon are doing this in good faith, as they have fate that the President and his cronies will address the Food Insecurity and take care of the citizens. That the President who not to long ago, claimed there we’re no famine in Uganda. There are clearly lacking of food and the reports of the dire situation in many districts are clearly not encouraging. The bleak situation have not changed.
That the State and have significant works to do, not only to declare, but facilitate and make sure the famine struck areas get funding, secondly get food delivery to patch up the hurt. Than the education and useful technique’s for farmers and citizens to take of the water in the seasons, then to reuse it when the dry-seasons are coming. This is certainly something that the citizens know and the state as well. So the government, departments, agencies and the local government should have measures and plans to tackle the famine and the high levels of food insecurity. Also, look to their donors and multi-national organizations that they have gotten help from in the past to support extra in the time of need.
This can be done if the President Yoweri Museveni, actually cries out for help and that he can have the guts to say: “…I have managed the country for 3 decades, the famines was worse under Obote and Amin, but now for the first time as President, I have to say, I have not done my duty, neither has the Movement. We are living in troubling times, the government was not prepared for El Nino and neither was the peasant farmers and villagers. The NRM, I the President as the Ugandan, will now declare State of Emergency. We are not at fault, the climate change and weather is the reason for this….”. If he would have uttered words like this, because I don’t expect the old man with the hat, to ask for forgiveness or say he is at fault. Still, if he proves that the Republic are in trouble and say it to the world. It should be understood.
The FAO, FEWSNET and other has established it and warned for months, while the Republic and the State didn’t act upon it. They we’re lacking procedures and ways of allocating funds for food delivery and steady organization to give relief to the starving citizens. Therefore, the need for declaration is great way of showing to the world and get donations to direct aid on it. But to build structures and disaster relief should have been made by the Ministry for Relief and Disaster Preparedness and the State Minister Musa Francis Ecweru. That Department or Ministry should have the mandate and the needed funds to commit to help the citizens who are barley having one meal day or two, depending on which hurt district it is about right now.
That the MP’s are now tabling and urging the President to act upon it and to declare a Stat of Emergency because of the concern of the agricultural output and the food insecurity. The State could have acted earlier, they could have pledged to this and been upfront, as they have added their own tally with massive flood of refugees combined with drought. The world would have reacted or we could have hoped they had reacted to it, that the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and others could have made efforts to salvage the dire situation. The food insecurity is high and the state has to act. Peace.
Well, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is apparently controlling the weather and steering the sun. However, the President doesn’t have those powers; he could have already built in systems that took care of water in the raining seasons and other irrigation schemes. This is special to hear, since he has been running the Republic for thirty years. That should be well known in the humid climate of Uganda. Well, here are parts of his speech in Dokolo on the International Woman’s Day!
“We cannot have famine in Uganda; that will not happen, even if it means diverting resources from other departments. We will do so although this will stop progress of key projects.” (…) “This little scare is good because it has waked us up to look at irrigation” (…) “As of now I have directed government departments to start working on solar powered pumps for irrigation and we have already experimented in some areas” (AYFAP, 2017).
Because the President Museveni cannot have listen well to Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS Net) who in their February 2017 edition wrote this about Uganda:
“During the February to June lean season, very poor households in Moroto and Napak are expected to face food consumption gaps and be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). In these areas, poorly distributed rainfall led to below-average production and very poor households depleted food stocks three months earlier than normal. Many are facing increasing difficulty purchasing sufficient food to meet their basic needs, as food prices are 30-40 percent above average. Food security is expected to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in July with the green harvest” (…) “Pasture conditions and water resources in the cattle corridor are expected to remain below average through March due to above-average land surface temperatures. Conditions are likely to improve to near normal levels in April, alongside average seasonal rainfall. Conditions will then seasonally decline from June through September. Livestock body conditions and milk productivity are expected to follow the same trend” (FEWS Net, February 2017).
So the international body that follows the possible outbreaks of famine and early warnings is saying continued struggles in Karamoja and the cattle corridor of Isingiro. Even if the President is claiming there shouldn’t be trouble or a crisis. Because Museveni himself saying there cannot be famine in Uganda, still, it is not much his government of three decades has done to curb the problem. His government has not thought of technics of keeping water and irrigate the soil. Not too long ago he spent time and used jerry-cans and bicycle to irrigate the soil, which cannot be the solution for the lack of water in Karamoja or in Isingiro.
Back in 2011 to international media the President seemed to have a plan:
“The Ugandan government, according to Museveni, now plans to “exploit the potential of Karamoja”, a move which is expected to involve offering large tracts of Karamoja land to foreign corporations to grow biofuels, as well as designating more “conservation” and mining areas. This, say critics, will only increase conflict and hunger, force more young people to move into cities, and will destroy a rich way of life that has proved resilient and economically viable” (Vidal, 2011).
So 6 years later and new famine in the Karamoja, the plans of 2011 seems like they are hurting like the critics did say. So, the new plans might cause more havoc on the embattled people of Northern Uganda.
Therefore in his own making he has destroyed the livelihood and other issues in these volatile areas. The ones in Isingiro is different, as the pastoral and the cattle corridor, Seemingly, the Ugandan Republican can have famine, it is just President Museveni and his regime who cannot control or having the mechanism to contain it. They do not have the means or efforts to help the ones in need more than a few PR scoops of trucks and meals.
So President Museveni needs guidance and needs an incentive to earn on it. If so than this problems would be fixed, if there we’re some sort of scam or program that could be used so the people could get something and he could eat of their plate. If so, the irrigation scheme would be in place and the people wouldn’t starve. So please, conning people who cares about the famine in Uganda give a way for the petty thief to steal little some and people can get some. Peace.
African Youth Forum against Poverty (AYFAP) – ‘Famine Scare is Good, Says Museveni’ (08.03.2017) link: http://www.ayfapuc.org/index.php/2017/03/08/famine-scare-is-good-says-museveni/
FEWS NET – ‘Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes likely to persist in bimodal areas until June harvest’ (February 2017) link: http://www.fews.net/east-africa/uganda/food-security-outlook/february-2017
Vidal, John – ‘Uganda: nomads face an attack on their way of life’ (27.11.2011) link: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/nov/27/uganda-nomad-farmers-climate-change