Foreign Minister Okello Oryem unexpected honesty [no middle-income country in sight]

A person can have a moment of clarity, those profound moments of a deep understanding or epiphany where the truth is played out. Not only in your own mind, but in words to the people around you. I think that Foreign Minister Henry Okello Oryem had such a divine moment yesterday. Where he spoke the truth. A truth that the regime, the government he represents and the friendly allies doesn’t want to associate with. Even if it is true, because that undermines their efforts and their message ahead of the 2021 elections.

Just read this excerpt from the Daily Monitor:

In an interview with Daily Monitor yesterday, Mr Oryem attributed the “change of mind” to the wellbeing of Ugandans living in China. The minister said no Ugandan who had travelled abroad to look for better life wishes to return to poverty [in Uganda] from which they ran away. “Even if they (Ugandans abroad) come back, they will come into poverty. And if they come back, no one will welcome them back into their homes and they will also have nothing to do,” Mr Oryem said” (Tonny Abet – ‘Ugandans in China refuse to come back home’ 25.06.2020, Daily Monitor).

The National Resistance Movement, the State House and all the arms of government cannot be happy. That the Foreign Minister says this and get this in print. No matter if this is the truth or not. This is bad image and bad storytelling. These sort of things are maybe said in the corridors of power and between friends. However, public officials wouldn’t say these words without consequence.

Especially, when this government is promising middle income country status. Growing and expanding industries, wealth creation and extensive exports of produce. These words from the minister will hurt the pride of the government. Yes this is a known fact of the poverty and lack of development. Which haven’t changed substantially since the government took power in 1986. They might want to claim that, but in the end. The same problems that was there in the 1980s are still their in 2020.

The Minister was honest about the issues. He spoke the truth. A truth the government usually don’t want to reveal. Even if the government is high as a kite on loans. They are deficit financing and recycling debts to cover old debts. The state is loaning for everything, anticipating grants, because the state doesn’t have enough revenue for its operations. That is why the poverty is true.

However, the Minister isn’t supposed to say this. Especially, when the state wants to look like a success story every day ahead of the polls in 2021. Peace.

Bad Roads: The new tourist experience!

For us, a bad road is cause for complaining. But for people in affluent societies who have never experienced getting stuck on a bad road, pushing a car from a ditch can be part of tourism experience,”Henry Okello Oryem before Foreign Affairs Committee (14.01.2020).

Who knew? Why wasn’t this thought of before?

I think Okello Oryem has found the Holy Grail of Tourism. Maybe, he needs to consult the State Minister for Tourism Godfrey Kiwanda. His Miss Curvy Uganda is clearly not cutting it. Neither, does Yeezy’s sneakers nor the trips with Zari or Fabiola. It all doesn’t cut it. Showing of the national parks and the beautiful sights. No, the Ministry should show the bad backroads of Amuriat, Kaabong or anywhere else the state has forgotten to invest in roads.

If it is the middle of Bunyoro, Busoga or Karamoja. Who cares, the cars get stuck and only military vehicles can pass. If luck a 4 wheel-drive of Land Cruiser might make you pass. If not, get a safari fixed Land Rover Defender to pass the bad roads in West Nile or even Toro might fancy someone.

Why has the President always praised his road building? Why has he always proclaimed the steady progress of good roads and better Public Private Partnership Programme of building roads in rural Uganda? Shouldn’t he disband the thing? Ensure all roads suck, so that every tourist and everyone passing Uganda would feel the badness?

Getting stuck between Mbale to Kampala, when going back to the Metropolitan area after seeing Sipi Falls. Don’t get through the Mabira Forest after visiting the Source of the Nile in Jinja. Why not getting stuck around Hoima after seeing Murchinson Falls outside Masindi. That will be such an thrill.

Wasting time as tourist, when your on limited time(!). Trying to see the best things, trying the specialities and the best things the Republic has to offer. And all the SAFARI companies has forgotten the bad rural roads. They have forgotten selling Kampala as “Kampotholo”. They have forgotten sell the driving style to avoid dipping into the potholes. “Drive like a Ugandan By Ugandans” DUBU. Kiwanda and Okello Oryem should be the faces of DUBU. Everyone will forget about BUBU by the next month.

If you seriously think tourists wants to be stuck in traffic jam in Kampala. Be lost in Taxi Park not finding the right taxi or spending fortunes on specials. Your wrong. They neither want to drive on the side-walk, frighten that the boda-boda driver will get their head served as a token of his reckless driving. But, with the minds of Okello Oryem, he might think that is a selling point too.

When, you want to sell things. You want to sell experiences. Not sell your mediocre performance, your lack of good governance and lack of pride in your own government. Because, this government has ruled for over 34 years and still haven’t fixed core issues.

So, now the Minister is praising potholes. Maybe, his mind has a pothole too. It is not cemented and mended correctly. As he wants people to not enjoy the sights of the Republic, but endure the bad state of the roads. Being stuck, getting into jams and struggling from A to B. When your in Rome, you want to see the Vatican. When your in Kampala, you want to see Mengo and the Kasubi Tombs. If that was too hard. People wouldn’t try to go there, but they do, because the roads are good enough.

If the roads to Masindi and Paraa sucked like hell. People would still go to Murchinson Falls. Still, it would make it more hectic and stressful. Because, people want to experience the beauty and greatness of the Republic. Not dilute their time on the road and break their backs. Neither should the locals, the residents, who suffers there every day. Those are the ones whose paying for the lack of care from the government. They are suffering this madness 24/7. The tourist only taste it for a minute and goes. It is not a fairytale nor exiting thing. Instead, its heartbreaking. Because, the public deserve better.

I Pity The Fool” said Mt T. and I pity Henry for this proposal. His constituents deserve, every single citizen deserves better. He now wants the state to promote their lack work and diligence as an experience. Get out of here with that Bullshit. Peace.

Opinion: Oryem should look into how the state coffers is spent…

Recently government introduced a small amount of money as OTT but everybody went in arms about a small penny. Everybody is complaining and the moment you introduce a small tax, the entire country is in arms and runs to demonstrate. Where do you want government to get money from, Ugandans should get away from the culture of blaming everything on government. If you want better services, someone has to pay for them through taxes. The better schools, hospitals and roads all come because of the taxes you pay” – State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Henry Okello Oryem

Hon. Oryem, the State Minister have defended the government for issuing new taxes and expenses on its citizens. As this is happening, all bigger infrastructure projects are taken with foreign donations or loans. The state is loaning more and more funds, the devolution and the expensive growth of Local Government combined with ever growing State Security or Defence Operations makes the state bloated. Plus you have the open bazaar, grand corruption and lack of service delivery. Therefore, the Minister should be a bit more careful to defend the actions of the state.

Oryem, the National Resistance Movement are more careful to pay off needed people for their loyalty, than actually deliver state functions. That is why the Parliament are steadily occupied with getting new loans for infrastructure or even basic services. There Health Care is depleted and that is why the MPs and VIPs cannot get treatment in the Republic, but have to transfer to India, Kenya or South Africa. That is what the big-men does, because know the Hospitals aren’t all good.

That is why Oryem should be a bit more silent and not expect people to be happy for paying taxes. As the people have to cover, to fix and pay school-fees, pay higher for Mobile Money and spend more on basic commodities. Not like they are getting better services, just more expensive. The state is already mismanaging such vast amounts of money and paying ghosts too. There are teachers who hasn’t been paid for months and using energy on side-projects to make a living. Therefore, the State Minister should look into that. As the budgets are as big as light-bulbs for schools, which was built during the time of Idi Amin. Not like the NRM have used fortunes on keeping the Universal Primary Education a float.

Oryem should look into this and maybe even check more closely how the little taxes is spent in the Republic. Because, the misuse, the corruption and the growing debt is a signal of mismanagement, which again is a reason why people don’t like pay taxes. That is all within reason. The only thing that really working is the monitoring and the facilitation of tear-gas, live-bullets and arresting of opposition politicians. Peace.

DRC: Ndolo Military Prison – Political Prisoners write to Minister of Justice of DRC: “Re: Detention Without Trial” (21.08.2017)

South Sudan: Entebbe Declaration on the Operationalization of the Arusha Agreement on the Reunification of the SPLM (27.07.2017)

South Sudan: SPLM/A-IO claims the TGoNU are “Forum Shopping” the Peace Process (27.07.2017)

UN in South Sudan concerned about civilians fleeing clashes in Upper Nile (13.07.2017)

Reports from the UN International Organization on Migration (IOM) “suggest that Government forces are now approaching the town of Maiwut, 25 kilometres north-west of Pagak”.

WASHINGTON D.C., United States of America, July 13, 2017 – Thousands of South Sudanese civilians are fleeing to neighbouring Ethiopia as Government troops advance on a rebel stronghold in the Upper Nile region, a senior United Nations official today said, expressing grave concern about what is already the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis.

Reports from the UN International Organization on Migration (IOM) “suggest that Government forces are now approaching the town of Maiwut, 25 kilometres north-west of Pagak. I’m gravely concerned by this ongoing situation,” the Special Representative of the Secretary-General in South Sudan, David Shearer, told reporters from Juba, the capital.

He added that while it is unclear which side began the fighting, the military advance by the South Sudan forces “is not in the spirit of the unilateral ceasefire” declared by the Government in May.

Mr. Shearer said there has been “active military engagement” over the past week north of Pagak, and at least 25 aid workers have relocated in the area as a result of the insecurity.

The senior UN official, who is also the head of the UN Mission in the country, or UNMISS, also voiced great concern about an orphanage near Torit, south of Juba, surrounded by Government and rebel fighters who are preparing to fight.

“It’s unacceptable that 250 innocent children, and the people who care for them, find themselves in no-man’s land between the warring parties,” Mr. Shearer stressed.

Requests by UNMISS to access the Hope for South Sudan Orphanage have been denied “locally, on the ground.”

The Government forces central command in Juba yesterday gave UNMISS “the go-ahead to send peacekeepers to the orphanage. I’m hopeful that will happen today,” he added.

Mr. Shearer urged both sides to reflect on President Salva Kiir’s Independence Day message of peace and withdraw from the facility.

In addition to accessing the orphanage, a group of Nepalese peacekeepers have been sent to protect civilians and the UN base in Torit.

“The number of patrols we can undertake in the town will increase with the additional peacekeepers. In turn, that should provide more security and boost confidence,” said Mr. Shearer.

He noted that his deputy, Moustapha Soumaré, is travelling to Torit tomorrow and will report back.

South Sudan: Maj. Gen. Saki James Palaoko resignation from SPLM-IO to join National Salvation Front (NAS) – (12.07.2017)

The Political Opposition Forces – “All-inclusive negotiations toward a new agreement are essential to sustainable peace in South Sudan” (11.07.2017)

 

 

UNISFA condemns recent attacks in Abyei (12.07.2017)

To date, Abyei has no police service system in place and there is no functioning joint local administrative structure.

ABYEI, South Sudan, July 12, 2017 – The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) condemns all attacks perpetrated by unknown armed groups in Abyei Area which resulted in deaths and injuries of civilians.

UNISFA expresses its deepest condolences and sympathy to the family of the victims and vows to investigate swiftly the attacks with the Joint Peace Committee, the traditional leaders, as well as Sudan and South Sudan governments, and bring the perpetrators to justice.

UNISFA emphasizes its commitment to implement its mandate to secure Abyei Area and to protect civilians under imminent threat of physical violence, without prejudice to the responsibilities of the relevant authorities.

To date, Abyei has no police service system in place and there is no functioning joint local administrative structure. The absence of these systems has resulted in the increase of criminal cases.

The current influx of population in Abyei has contributed towards increased economic and social activities in the area. The unemployment among the youth is a cause of concern which also leads to manifestation of crime in various forms.

In light of the recent incidents, UNISFA has stepped up its security measures particularly in and around Amiet common market which is a vital economic hub for different tribal groups including Ngok Dinka and Misseriya. Most of the criminal incidents in recent months have taken place in the vicinity of the common market.

The last two months have seen an upsurge in cases of cattle-rustling, carjacking attempts and robbery/shooting incidents. In May, a grenade exploded in Amiet market resulting in injuries to some civilians.

UNISFA reaffirms that criminality in all its forms is a serious threat to the security situation in Abyei Area.

UNISFA urges all communities and groups to support the Mission in its efforts to maintain the degree of peace and stability that Abyei has been experiencing over the last two years. The criminal activities should not deter the significant progress made towards improving relations between the Messiriya and the Ngok Dinka communities.