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Opinion: [Shootdown] Museveni’s new magic bullet to beat poverty!

Museveni made the remarks yesterday Sunday while delivering his speech during the 30th Heroes Day commemorations held at Kasanje War Memorial Grounds in Wakiso district. He noted that the new program is set to be unveiled during the national budget reading session on June 13. Museveni explained that although there are many several other poverty alleviation programs running across the country, the new program will finally offer the magic bullet to get out of poverty” (URN – ‘Gov’t to introduce another poverty alleviation program’ 10.06.2019).

In the Republic there been many schemes to stop the rampant poverty in Uganda. However, for some reason none of them is working. There sometimes so many going on at the same time, you could think it was a public enterprise to get foreign funding to allocate funds for the projects.

In 1995 the state Entandikwa Scheme launched it and by 2002. The state then introduced the Rural Micro Finance Project was launched instead in 2004. This was not the final one of these, even if the Micro Finances are still viable, but not the main stay.

In next step was the National Development Plan again lasted between 2010/11 – 2014/15 and the Poverty-Environment Initiative. This has been extended by the National Development Plan II (NDP II), which has a lasting period from 2015/16- 2019/2020 and still succeeding to this day.

However, as you would be thinking this is enough? Well, the same state has launched National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS) was launched as a scheme in 2002. The Youth Livelihood Programme was launched in 2013. Operation Wealth Creation was launched in 2013. All of these things was created for the same reason, to end poverty. Surely there are plenty more programmes, schemes and tricks of the trade to end poverty. Still, the government have not able to fix the issue.

The National Resistance Movement (NRM) have launched all of these and apparently the President haven’t delivered on this promise. That is why the President again launches a new trick of the trade. This here is just the new way they are trying to sell the end of poverty.

The NRM have tried this their way since the beginning of its reign. President Museveni have clearly tried and not succeeded.

This new scheme is surely just a way for his closest associates to eat. They just need to be revitalized and amended to fit the donors paradigm and the whatever they can reconfigure the budgets.

Museveni is shooting in the dark, his shooting fish in the barrel, he finally has the answer to the magic bullet that shoot JFK in Houston. Because, there is more likely finding the solution of that, than actually solving the issues around poverty. The second reason is that as long as the public and citizens stays poor. They will need aid and foreign donors. Therefore, the President will use all methods and schemes to beat it, but never get results.

That is why this newest scheme will end up like all the other ones. This President has found a new way to get funds, just another trick of his trade. That is what he does, Gen. Salim Selah will surely be involved in this one too. Just like he has done in the past. That is how this is ending. Don’t be shocked or surprised.

The President and NRM had 33 years to be able to do this. They have created all of these methods, but they are never working. That is why I don’t believe this one will do the cut either. Because there is no general will by the authorities to actually get rid of it. They want initially to keep people poor, to be able to get “free” money from the donors and not have to do their job as a government. Peace.

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Opinion: The OWC is a total failure, no regional coordinators can save it!

Well, it had to come to this, that the President Yoweri Kagtua Museveni knows that the Uganda Peoples Defence Force (UPDF) infused Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) is failing. As the previously Parliament Report has said too. That is why its ironic that the President is using more and more funds on promoting it. Because, it is clearly failing because of lack of implementation and coordination.

The OWC is run by his Gen. Salim Selah and his associates are eating of this plate. That is well-known. To say otherwise is to be blind to the fact and the usage of this is to gain more funds out the state coffers. It isn’t only to supposedly elevate the rural farmers and their cash-crops. Because, if it was so, the OWC would have worked already.

The OWC with a few coordinators will only be more patronage. As the OWC which is run by the army, should gotten help and implementation from the Residential District Commanders. As their duty is to progress the works of the government, which happens to be the OWC, National Agricultural Advisory Services (NAADS), Savings and Credit Co-Operative Society (SACCOs), Youth Livelihood Programme (YLP), Northern Uganda Resilience Initiative (NURI) and whatever else the President see fit.

We can act a fool and celebrate that a few more brothers get a job, but the reality it is a shit-show and the results are in the pudding. We can act like its a good idea, but it seems only to fix more cronies of the President, than actually make a difference. If it had, the OWC and the other funding schemes would work for the public.

We know already the OWC is not able to find the right seedlings, deliver them on time or to the proper district. Therefore, the spending on the OWC is already exaggerated and excessive. That is why the act of getting coordinators is more a front, than actually changing it. If the OWC was serious, the OWC organization would have implemented some of the advice giving in the Parliament Report of 2018. However, that never appeared, because than the President have to discredit Salim Selah and that’s not happening.

The reality is that the OWC cannot be fixed, not because its impossible. But as long as these power structures are there, it will most likely amount to nothing. Since that is how it is. President Museveni knows this and is the aide in charge for keeping it. He knows that these coordinators will not amount to much. Just like the RDCs are not acting up as per request of the President, if they have even gotten the memo from him. They will be blasted in a campaign rally and used as pawns in need.

It is weird that the OWC are in thes issues, that funds getting missed, lack of coordination and logistics, that such a vital part of National Resistance Movement (NRM) Government Programme. This programme is the promoted and favourable theme for the campaigns done in all of May 2019. That is why the programme should be the perfect window of what the NRM has done in power. Instead, the programme shows the lack of governance and the misuse of state funds. The NRM should focus on something they have actually achieved and made changes with. As they are amending and twisting the OWC to make it seem successful, even when it isn’t.

The President should look to other ways if his serious about reforms, about progress or wanting to make a difference. But this scheme isn’t for that, it is to enriching his cronies and ensuring that the patronage has an avenue for wealth. If it was differently, than the state would have made sufficient changes to actually get the farmers to yield more out of their investments. Alas, that is not happening.

No coordinators will make the needed push for the OWC. The OWC will be messed up as long as the patronage gets to control it, the coordinators is just an extended hand to be fed by it. Not make work. Peace.

Update on Food Poisoning Investigations in Karamoja Region (27.05.2019)

World Food Programme (WFP) halts distribution of super cereal while tests continue (03.05.2019)

As suspicion fell on Super Cereal as a possible cause or carrier of contamination, WFP acted swiftly, halting all distributions of the food first in Karamoja and then across Uganda.

ROME, Italy, May 3, 2019 – As a precautionary measure, the World Food Programme (WFP) has temporarily halted distribution worldwide of a fortified blended food from one of its suppliers as tests continue to establish whether it is linked to outbreaks of illness in East Africa.

According to medical centres and hospital records, three people died and 293 were admitted to health centres in the Karamoja region of Northeast Uganda in March and April after eating Super Cereal, distributed by WFP. The product is used by WFP and partners to prevent malnutrition, especially among women and children.

Preliminary investigations have failed to conclusively find what caused the illness. To date, more than 2,400 food-related laboratory tests were conducted – including for mycotoxins, heavy metals, pesticides and microbial contaminants – but the root cause of the problem has not yet been established.

As suspicion fell on Super Cereal as a possible cause or carrier of contamination, WFP acted swiftly, halting all distributions of the food first in Karamoja and then across Uganda. Communications campaigns were launched to urge any people in Karamoja with remaining stocks to return them. These campaigns included using radio messages, focus group discussions, community dialogues and public discussions with elders and community leaders.

On 9 April, WFP halted the distribution globally of all products from the supplier in question. This involved putting on hold Super Cereal stocks in WFP operations in 25 countries.

In a further precautionary move, on 30 April, WFP ordered all stocks of Super Cereal from the same supplier should be secured in WFP warehouses and storage areas belonging to partners. Samples from the stock will continue to be tested to confirm or rule out any of the preliminary conclusions.

This issue is unprecedented in its implications for WFP’s global supply chain as the food supplies on hold around the world amount to over 21,000 metric tons, with an estimated replacement value of US$22 million. WFP has taken extensive preventative action as the health and safety of the people we serve is our foremost concern.

Super Cereal is maize or wheat blended with soya beans, fortified with vitamins and minerals, processed into a flour and supplied in 25-kg bags and is a critical part of WFP’s efforts to prevent malnutrition and save lives.

Operation Wealth Creation Handles No Procurement, No Money (26.03.2019)

Government of Uganda (GoU), World Food Programme (WFP) investigate Super Cereal issue in Karamoja (19.03.2019)

The Ministry of Health received an alert through its surveillance teams on the ground in Karamoja about suspected food poisoning and began investigations.

KAMPALA, Uganda, March 19, 2019 – The Government of Uganda and United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) are investigating whether there is a connection between recent illnesses reported in two districts in Karamoja and Super Cereal, a fortified blended food distributed by WFP for prevention of malnutrition.

On Tuesday, 12th, 2019, the Ministry of Health received an alert through its surveillance teams on the ground in Karamoja about suspected food poisoning and began investigations.

Some 262 people have been affected since 12 March with symptoms of mental confusion, vomiting, headache, high fever and abdominal pain. A total of 252 of those were discharged following successful treatment at health facilities in Amudat and Napak. No new admissions have been reported since Monday 18 March.

Seventy-seven of the 262 people were admitted in Alakas, Lokales and Karita health centres in Amudat district while 185 were admitted in Lotome, Lorengechora, Kangole and Apeitolim health centres and Matany Hospital in Napak district. The admissions took place between 12th and 16th of March.

There are unverified reports of three deaths, one of them at Matany Hospital, Napak District and other two in the communities. One male passed away in Lorengechora,Lookit village, Napak district and another female in Amuna village in Karita Sub County, Amudat district. All the deaths took place on 16th of March, 2019. The Government’s investigative team are in the communities to verify the two none facility deaths.

Samples of Super Cereal stocks and water were taken from the affected areas including blood, vomitus and urine from patients and are currently being analyzed at the Directorate of Government Analytical Laboratory and the Central Public Health Laboratory. Food samples have been sent to a laboratory in Mombasa, Intertek Kenya LTD and another in Johannesburg Intertek Testing Services, S.A. LTD, for further analysis. Preliminary results of the Government investigation are expected in the next 24 hours. While results from abroad are expected within the next 5 to 7 days.

The Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Mr. John Byabagambi, the Director General of Health Services, Dr. Henry Mwebesa, the Country Director of WFP, Mr. El Khidir Daloum, and officials of the Uganda National Bureau of Standards visited the affected villages, in Amudat and Napak district on Monday 18 March, and spoke to the affected people and health workers. The team found that the problem remains localized in only two of the eight districts of Karamoja.

Investigating teams from the Ministry of Health and WFP food technologists remain on the ground carrying out surveillance and epidemiological mapping to establish the associated factors and possible causes of this recent illness.

On Friday 15 March, WFP, working with the Government, ordered the immediate suspension of Super Cereal distributions in Karamoja and the refugee hosting districts where it’s distributed. This is as a precautionary measure until investigations are concluded. WFP is working with district authorities to retrieve all Super Cereal stocks from health centres and communities.

An intensive communications campaign is ongoing, advising people not to consume SuperCereal until further notice. Communities have been advised to observe proper hygiene and sanitation, for example through handwashing with soap and drinking boiled water.

Working through Government health systems, WFP has provided Super Cereal in Uganda for more than 10 years. The current coverage of Super Cereal is at 252 locations in Karamoja in addition to many sites across the 13 refugee hosting districts. Refugees receive Super Cereal in the general food basket.

Super Cereal is also distributed in many countries and has a robust record of fighting malnutrition and protecting pregnant or nursing women against malnutrition during the first 1,000 days of their child’s life. Super Cereal undergoes all the verifications of quality control before being distributed. No previous complaints have been reported about the product in Uganda.

Super Cereal is a key component in WFP’s support to the Government’s nutrition programmes that aim to prevent stunting or life-threatening malnutrition.

The goal of The United Nations World Food Programme is saving lives in emergencies and changing lives for millions through sustainable development. WFP supports governments and works in more than 80 countries around the world, feeding people caught in conflict and disasters, and laying the foundations for a better future.

The Ministry of Health, Ministry of Karamoja affairs and WFP commit to conclude all investigations and share results with the public.

We appeal for calmness as investigations are going on and request the communities to report any suspected illness to the nearest health facility or call our toll free line 080010006.

WFP stops distributing blended food in Uganda as people fall sick in Karamoja (16.03.2019)

Museveni’s Mixed Messages in Mityana district!

People should not claim they are waiting for government programmes in order to develop themselves. A pig will not resist to be taken to the market for sale or slaughter just because the road is not tarmacked” Yoweri Kaguta Museveni on the 22nd July 2018.

There are some ironies with today, especially the mixed messages from President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. As he was saying that the public should not expect the government to deliver programs for their development, while he is supporting and his government through the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) and the State Minister for Tourism Godfrey Kiwanda who was starting Kisboka SACCO in Mityana District. So, it is weird that he is donating money to a project for development, while saying people shouldn’t expect the state to contribute funds. Is he dumb? Just take a look!

Our Commander in Chief H.E President Museveni officially launched and accepted to be the Patron of the poverty eradication drive called Kisoboka (It is possible) in Mityana North. The drive, that was initiated by State Minister for Tourism Hon. Godfrey Kiwanda aims to bring about positive mindset change towards poverty eradication, job creation and wealth creation mainly though agriculture; It is already very popular in North Mityana Constituency with over 250 households joining the bid to earn at least 21.5 million shillings per annum” (Operation Wealth Creation, 22.08.2018).

I gladly accept the request that I be the patron of Kisoboka SACCO and I will make a Shs50 million contribution towards its activities” (Museveni, 22.08.2018).

It is really not much to say, but if this works, the SACCO might do something positive to the public and citizens of North Mityana Constituency, however the OWC is not known for good seedlings and neither well-organized model of development. Therefore, this might fall flat and be empty promises to the district and constituency. We can hope for something else, but it might change for a very selective few.

This might just be another PR Stunt and a way for Kiwanda just to pocket money from the taxpayers or even shield his funds he is earning as a State Minister and MP. What is more ironic, is that the President talks of not waiting for the state to deliver development, while his state is launching possible development projects through the OWC. It is should be obvious. If he was a sincere man, he would see that.

He talks of not getting promises of development, while delivering a development projects… It doesn’t make sense.

That is just me though… I cannot be alone, but when you just have empty suits and yes men around you. You turn into this creature, this bloated arrogant prick who doesn’t see poverty; while living in lavish luxury on the state. Peace.

Uganda: Major National Review Recommends Ways of Ending Hunger in Uganda (27.07.2017)

Parliamentary Report spells out that the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) is a totally flawed initiative!

As the 10th Parliament and one of their committee has written a report on the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), this one lead by the man who is named General Salim Selah. There has been seen to see fruitful results to the government sponsored projects, that is for the cash-crops and other agricultural outputs. But the report that is made today in Parliament isn’t really saying much positive about the initiatives. As this OWC that are part of the Office of Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, he surely will looked failed together with Gen. Selah.

It is clearly stating the OWC as failed initiative, as the delivery is flawed, it is done without information sharing, without local knowledge or input into how they want it. The leadership from the top has decided and gives the seeds and seedlings when they feel like it. Without any concern of the districts and their OWC administration, as they do not have facilities for the deliveries done by the OWC. Certainly, there are decisions made by OPM and the General without clear leadership, neither listening to the farmers they are supposed to help to enrich. Instead, they are more delivering sub-standard services and not working for others than the ones on the top. Just take a look!

OWC is coordinated by the Senior Presidential Advisor on Defense and Security. He heads the team of directors at the headquarters in charge of inputs, low cost housing, value addition, pensions among others, They coordinate all activities of the operation such as planning, evaluation, supervision, monitoring and evaluation” (Republic of Uganda, P: 2, 2017).

Operation Wealth Creation distributes inputs late. Because of this, people do not pick them especially seedlings and they go to waste. For example when the Committee undertook the field visit to Agago, Oyam and Nebbi, it was informed that the inputs had been delivered late in September/October and were also planted late. The crops planted could not withstand the long dry spell that run from late November till late March and ended up dying” (Republic of Uganda, P: 3, 2017).

Most of the suppliers of seeds and seedlings do not own nurseries. They buy from uncertified nursery operators and end up compromising the quality to meet demand” (Republic of Ugandan, P: 6, 2017).

Some people complained that OWC “dumps” agricultural inputs that are not required by the beneficiaries for example the people of Nakaseke complained that they are given too many mangoes and oranges yet they would prefer food crops like maize and beans instead” (Republic of Uganda, P: 7, 2017). “OWC uses the top bottom approach. People are not consulted before supplying therefore people are sometimes given what they do need for example people in Kubuku district complained that they were given the variety of mangoes that they not need” (Republic of Uganda, P: 7, 2017).

OWC supplies inputs without informing the district leadership making it difficult for them to plan how to store and distribute the inputs” (Republic of Uganda, P: 7, 2017). OWC does not monitor the performance of the inputs distributed. This leaves the programme without data on which it can base the supply of inputs in the future” (Republic of Uganda, P: 8, 2017).

If these quotes are not proving that the OWC is totally flawed, it is heavily run by the General Salim Selah and under the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, who are in-direct charge of the OWC. The OWC seems more like a fine slogan and signs, but the secretariat are not controlling or informing as it should. Neither is it listening to the ones that are supposed to benefit from it. Secondly, the programme doesn’t even monitor the results. Therefore, the results and the evidence of the having it is more on the feelings of Gen. Selah and the President Museveni. Not on the farmers who could instead have district boards on Co-Ops on Inputs. Instead of a centralized Museveni family controlled organization, that is clearly not doing what is supposed to do. It seems futile and not to be there for anyone else, then the ones appointed by the President and the companies they buy the seeds and seedlings from!

OWC isn’t for the farmers and for growing better yields, right now it is a non-transparent, top bottom leadership without any care for the districts who needs help and need government subsidized seeds and seedlings. If it doesn’t change… than the government can just pocket the monies, instead of just spending monies at the wrong time, for the wrong farmers and for the late season for growing the seeds. Peace.

Reference:

Republic of Uganda – ‘Report on the Sectoral Commission on Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries of the Implementation of the Operation Wealth Creation Programme in Uganda’ (May 2017)

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