Karamoja Youth Agenda: On issues of Government Response and topical issues in Karamoja sub-region from January 2023 (12.05.2023)
I write what I like.
““If there was any diversion, it is not anybody’s fault, I saw iron sheets in Bukedea, I didn’t ask for them, but I ordered that they should be given to schools innocently. I didn’t open a shop to sell them, but they were given to government schools.” Among told Parliament last month. While chairing Wednesday’s plenary, Among told Parliament that she had decided to purchase 500 iron sheets and return them to the OPM to clear her name out of accusations that she had diverted the iron sheets meant for Karamoja’s vulnerable people. “l don’t want to be accused of grabbing iron sheets meant for the vulnerable people of Karamoja.” Among said” (Samuel Muhimba – ‘Among buys 500 iron sheets for OPM to save ‘innocent’ face’ 15.03.2023, Nilepost.co.ug).
The Speaker can all “innocent” she wants to try to save face. Speaker Anita Among is amongst a “den of thieves”. They did divert funds and equipment meant for the hungry, the poor and the ones in need in the Karamoja sub-region. Instead of going where it should be… it ended up elsewhere and some of that ended up in the hands of the speaker. She is just like the rest of them.
Speaker Among can act holier than thou, but she should apologize and “carry the cross”. This is her burden to bear. She accepted the iron sheets and took them when it was done in secret. However, when the reality hit public, and the scandal was official. She wanted to clean her hands of the dirt and come clean. Nevertheless, that is not how the story goes and she cannot reimburse what she has already stolen.
A chicken thief must answer for the stolen chicken. The speaker has to answer for the iron-sheets. The chicken thief will face the penalty and the punishment for taking the chicken. The same should happen to the speaker, the ministers and everyone involved in the iron sheet scandal of Karamoja. It should happen, but I wouldn’t count on it. The difference between them and the chicken thief. Is that the Chicken Thief has no suction, no power or influence, but the thieves in this saga does…
She knows she will face no consequences and what her master knows is that she’s corruptible. Meaning that her master can wave some monies or golden tickets her way. When doing so, she will do whatever he pleases and get his way in Parliament. That’s why she will face no trouble, no legal jeopardy or even taste “justice”. No, the chicken thief will linger in prison and face severe time in prison. While the Speaker can steal and take from the state with no further consequences or ramifications to her career. No, it doesn’t cost her anything…
Speaker Among can try to save face, but it’s pointless. She still stole and took unjustifiably so. The iron sheets wasn’t hers to begin with. Just like the others who took from the “aid” to Karamoja. All of them are thieves and they should accept that. Thieving is thieving no matter how you put it. It wasn’t even that sophisticated or a strategic measure to siphon funds from government accounts either. It was just blatant theft of government property to personal use. That’s it… and the Speaker cannot be run away from that now. Peace.
“However, during a recent sting operation by officers of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, the mother, brother and nephew of Karamoja Affairs minister Goretti Kitutu were allegedly found selling OPM branded iron sheets to residents of Namisindwa District. They were briefly detained and later freed” (…) “According to the notice, Dr Kituutu is accused of failing to deliver iron sheets and other supplies meant for Karamoja to support the ongoing disarmament exercise and the diversion of some items. These, the MPs say, constitute the offence of mismanagement and abuse of office or willful violation of oath of allegiance or oath of office, which are grounds provided in Article 118 of the Constitution for censure of a minister. The MPs further accuse the minister of misusing Shs25b meant for the procurement of goats to be distributed across the region, as well as picking 500 bags of maize seeds from Namalu Prison Stores, under the Feed Karamoja Project out of 200 bags were allegedly found in her house” (Emmanuel Muitaizibwa & William Kintu – ‘OPM in fresh Shs25b goat scandal’ 27.02.2023).
Hon. Mary Goretti Kitutu, the Minister for Karamoja Affairs is in huge trouble and have a vast scandal on her name. Just as the Iron Sheets are dragging out and the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) is starting a probe into that. The further revelations only show the sinister side of the cabinet and what they are willing to steal.
The Minister of Karamoja Affairs didn’t do it alone. We have seen the massive reports and the number of high-ranking officials involved in the robbing the state of iron sheets. Nevertheless, in this recent case… the Minister has involved her family in the scheme. Which are taking funds, tenders, and whatnot from the state. This is funds and procured items, which was destined for the ones in need in Karamoja.
They took money that was intended to go to buy goats and in addition they took seeds of maize. Meaning in a place of utter poverty and famine, the Minister took vital life-saving seeds and kept it in her home or relatives’ home. That is evil and not only theft, but possibly lethal to the ones who needs it the most. The ones that are in danger of starvation and the person who is supposed to ensure and implement government projects in the region is stealing directly from it. Instead of helping the ones in need, she was helping herself and her family.
This here is sinister, disgraceful and should be a sackable offense. Secondly, she should answer to the courts and be held liable together with her family. To do this and with such arrogance because she wasn’t afraid of doing it either. It is just modus operandi, and the state usually doesn’t care. That’s why it is so blatant and with no disregard for who this was intended too.
Karamoja is starving and hurting, but others are profiting of their misery. That is clear and the high-ranking officials has found a way of adding additional income to their names. It shouldn’t be this way, but that’s how they choose to represent and be leaders in the Republic. Instead of serving, they are stealing. That’s a vast difference… Peace.Mary
“IGG Beti Kamya says she will go after the cartel of government officials who have been incriminated in the OPM Karamoja iron sheets scandal. According to Kamya, any govt official who absconds her summons will be prosecuted” (The Kampala Journal, 21.02.2023).
The plights of the people of the Karamoja sub-region are just the beginning. Just like the never-ending story of fighting corruption. There is plenty of government agencies and organizations, which are based around the idea of fighting it. However, they never cease to stop it or have the mandate to do anything about it. That’s because the high-ranking officials, ministers and close associates of the President is profiting of the mischief and the corrupt behaviour in general.
You know these things are out of order and part of a bigger problem. When several ministers and high-ranking officials can eat of the plate of the needy ones in Karamoja. These are:
“1. Moriku Kaducu
This is not some random names, but people with interests and high offices. These people are connected and part of Government. They are not just random thieves in a den picking out their next victim. No, they are the ones in-charge and appointed to serve the state. However, they are instead self-serving and thieving from the ones in need.
It isn’t shocking, but apparent problem, which has been created over years. The illicit trades, tenders and usage of government funds are haunting it. The ghosts, the misappropriated and missing funds are now coming back to roost. The loss of domestic revenue, donor funds and ability to loan to cover the deficits are creating a sustainable environment either.
No one can be shocked those ministers and high-ranking officials in the National Resistance Movement is robbing, thieving and siphoning funds away from government entities, neither that they are absorbing or “losing” important money for others in need. That has been done for ages and is part of the imprint of this government. In some regards, you could say it is the blueprint created by the predecessors of this government. This being the Sam Kuteesa’s or Gilbert Bukenya’s of this world. The ones who used to be in-charge and stole vast funds in their hey-day. Now the newest leaders are doing the same…
This is the NRM-Way, the NRA-Way and whatever you call it. That’s why money are lost, projects are stalled and prices are through the roof for government development projects. The costs and the burden to make it happen is astronomical… and you need a spaceship to get from Gulu to Kampala. There is no boda-boda or special who will suffice. Especially, in concern to the ones in dire need or in distress. They are the ones that you can take from. These are the people that isn’t able to be vocal or speak out. The same people have enough issues just to survive. In the meanwhile, they are not only victims of circumstances, but also of the greed of the ones in power. Peace.
“NUP taking food to Karamoja is just for cheap popularity. The government does things systematically. By the time NUP sent food, there was already food in Karamoja. NUP can’t even do 0.00% of what we did in Karamoja” (…) “There is no longer a crisis in Karamoja because we are now in charge. We have a strategic plan to ensure that there is food security in the region” – Hon. Agnes Nandutu (31.07.2022).
The Minister of Karamoja Affairs Hon. Agnes Nandutu is finally speaking out on NBS FaceOff on the food insecurity and army operation in the sub-region. However, she isn’t saying anything substantial and only comes of as arrogant. Certainly the little time she has had as an MP and Minister has changed her. The Independent NRM leaning MP is showing her true character now.
The state has ensured that over 2400 people has died of starvation. A crisis that was forewarned for months and while the UPDF had army operations there. The state had the ability and the time to help the people of Karamoja. Instead it chose to bring violence and possibly make it more insufferable. The Minister is taking anything to account here.
The National Unity Platform (NUP) is doing what they can and within their means. They are not a government and neither does they have the opportunity to seize or seek funds as such. The NRM and the government should do more. Agnes Nandutu her government is responsible for the deaths of civilians not only in the miliary operation, but of over 2400 civilians who died of starvation. This is showing how the state lacked the vision and the ability to organize help in time. That’s why people is dying and needlessly so. They are not a priority. If they had been, the monies had been scheduled in a supplementary budget like the funds for the UPDF operation in Karamoja. So, everyone knows what is important in the Republic.
Just as the Minister said that on TV today.
Just a few days ago… this was reported about the situation:
“– According to latest updates reported by district officials to the World Food Programme, the total number of fatalities in 2022 caused by the current food insecurity crisis in Karamoja is 2,465.
– Most of the fatalities were children and elderly.
– The last Acute Food Insecurity IPC revealed that approximately 518,000 people are in urgent need of food assistance in Karamoja, with almost 428,000 individuals facing crisis levels of food insecurity (IPC3) and almost 90,000 in emergency levels (IPC4) in the period between March and July 2022. Also, 91,600 children and 9,500 pregnant women are projected to be acutely malnourished for the period February 2022-January 2023” (ECHO – Uganda (Karamoja subregion) – Acute food insecurity and malnutrition (DG ECHO, IPC, WFP, UNICEF, FEWSNET, local media) (ECHO Daily Flash of 26 July 2022).
It doesn’t sound like the crisis is over. The food insecurity is still at massive levels and the amounts of deaths only signals that. Each individual should be counted for and be addressed. This are the short-coming of the state. Who is more eager to usher in violence and come with big-guns. Than to actually come to people with aide or help. That is the gist here…
The Minister blames outside parties for help, which never can be able to sufficiently support or help the needy. However, they are at least giving and without hesitation. The state had the funds and the machinery to do so. The over 2400 people wouldn’t have died. However, these are now dead and it happened on your watch. That shows how the Ministry of Karamoja Affairs failed and also how the Office of the Prime Minister has failed as well. Since they are both implicated in this and has disaster preparedness as portfolio.
Agnes Nandutu, you belong back on TV, because your certainly not fit to be a minister. You cannot even muster the courage or care for the ones in dire need. Karamoja has been burning and starving. While you have remained silent and inactive. That has cost lives and your politicking over beans and posho given to the starving. Your a massive disappointment and would have been a feature on ‘Point Blank’ if your were still running it. Peace.
“Museveni promised that food insecurity in Karamoja would be dealt with by increasing fast maturing seedlings and an increase in relief by the Office of the Prime Minister. In a bid to build a self-sustaining household plan, the MPs proposed that the government avails agricultural inputs such as two tractors per constituency to facilitate agriculture on a large scale. The President however, disagreed with them saying that two tractors per constituency cannot support commercial agriculture. Museveni proposed that 5 tractors per constituency would be more plausible. He further challenged MPs to engage in large scale farming if they are to empower their communities and drive the country into middle income status. He promised to bring in experts to share in their best practices so that the members would get first hand information from them” (President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday evening held a special meeting with MPs-elect from Northern and Karamoja region to discuss pertinent issues affecting social and economic transformation, 20.04.2021).
The Government has a Minister designated for Karamoja affairs and has around 17 MPs from the Karamoja Sub-Region. However, all of these representatives and people being in high office isn’t delivering anything.
The news of starvation and famine shouldn’t shock anyone. The warnings from FEWSNET and other monitoring bodies like FAO has stated this too. The President has called the Karamoja green and pleasant. Nevertheless, that is far from the truth.
We know that the army, the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) have been operating and causing friction. As it is extra judicial killing and kicking people out of their homes. They are deliberately evicting and making people into internally displaced people. So, that the places of which they are burning villages and killing civilians. Is scaring the farmers and the people tending the land from cultivating food. This is done under the banner of “Usalalama Kwa Wote” to stop cattle-rustlers but also ensure the territories of mineral riches gets to the right “investor”. Therefore, this insecurity with the forewarned lack of food security was doomed to cause havoc on the sub-region.
Karamoja has been bleeding and suffering as a consequence of the military actions. The Sub-Region hasn’t been invested in. There has been creations of districts and electoral gerrymandering. However, there is only one referral hospital in Moroto. There is no real changes and the UN organizations comes in with aide and salvation every time things are dire. The President and his government isn’t clearly invested or concerned about the starvation or hunger in Karamoja. If the state did… they have seen this issue returning again and again. People are dying and the local government bodies should do better. The Office of the Prime Minister and the State Minister for Karamoja Affairs lack funds or mental minds to put programs that can save lives. Since this is a reoccurring event. That’s what is tragic here…
What is tragic is that the hunger and starvation was warned by FEWSNET in April this year. Which stated this: “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 can sadly assess that the warnings of a IPC Phase 4 is now happening. The President promised already last year to secure food security for Karamoja sub-region. However, we easily that never happened. Now the World Food Programme and others has to cover the basics. They have to come with the food and the aide, because the state is a shortfall. Neither does it have the organization or institutions in order to help. The state has the army and the ability to kill civilians. However, it doesn’t have the ability to save lives or ensure food security. That is clear for anyone and is a sign of what is a priority in Kampala. As the Karamjoa sub-region isn’t only bleeding now, but starving as well. Peace.
“The recent surge in cattle theft and cross-border conflicts in Minister Kasiaja: Karamoja sub-region issues will continue to be addressed. In a recent supplementary budget, Government provided Shs.112.5 Billions to facilitate the UPDF to carry out operations” (91.2 Crooze FM, 14.06.2022).
“More than half a million people are going hungry in Karamoja – Report” (…) “A new report indicates that the Karamoja region is undergoing a crisis of food insecurity and may slump into famine if there are no measures to reverse the situation immediately. The report on integrated food security phase classification also shows that Moroto and Kaabong districts are in a critical phase of acute malnutrition. While receiving the report, the government committed to implementing some of the short-term recommendations” (NTV Uganda, 14.06.2022).
We know that the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) launched Operation Usalama Kwa Wote in July 2021 and they have continued ever since. The UPDF and the authorities have burned villages and killed civilians in their manhunt for cattle-rustlers. However, there been no oversight or proof of their operation really stopping violence or the murders for cattle in the region.
The only thing that has been shown is that the government has killed around 700 civilians and there is no direct justification or proof of the need to do so. There is no direct proof of the use of firearm or report on the use of the weapon. People are just killed and dying because the UPDF said so.
In this regard… the budget priorities are very clear. As the Karamoja is getting funds for the operations of the UPDF in the region. However, there is nothing scheduled or funds to cover or help the people in need. Karamoja is possibly getting into famine and people are now going hungry. That is a sign that the government has failed this people. They are now in the hands of the government.
The UPDF seems to be more important than the civilians it is defending. Since, it has funds and operational means, but the public don’t have what they need. Neither does the state has the mechanisms or the institutions to help them. That’s why they are starving and not getting help. This shortfall has to be covered by either a UN Organizations, CSOs or NGOs. Because, they have ability and funds to come to their aide. Since, the state don’t pay it no mind and would only care if it was profitable.
Karamoja have been targeted and the army has intervened as it has… because the minerals and mining operations needs land. The villages and the people have to flee lands and the use of former methods is to shield their operation. Now it is even more evident as Karamoja is getting money for the army, but not the people in need. This has been forecasted by FEWSNET and others. It isn’t like it happened without any forewarning.
Karamoja was in a danger-zone and the army operations there wouldn’t make it any better. No, the state has addressed its own needs, but the needs of the population. The region has burned because of the army and the soldiers haven’t helped the farmers or the cattle-keepers. Instead it has possibly worsened it and created more internally displaced people. Therefore, it is striking that the UPDF gets funds, as a reported half a million will live in food insecurity and live in hunger.
I don’t see the state doing much or taking action about it. This will most likely spiral into a famine. Because, the state doesn’t have mechanisms or the willpower to do what is necessary now. That’s because the ministries and the institutions haven’t been invested into and neither is there a working protocol for cases like these. That’s for the simple reason: The International Community and their aid organizations are the shortfall for the inept and corrupt elites of Kampala.
That’s why the Minister of Karamoja will do nothing and neither will anyone associated with it. They are awaiting orders from the Office of the Prime Minister and the State House. Which will wait and we shouldn’t expect any miracles. The army is stationed here and they will not bring hope to a troubled region. A region that has burned and now it’s soon starving too. It doesn’t get a minute of peace or hope. Peace.
“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.
“A total of 17,083 square kilometers of land in Karamoja is licensed for mineral exploration and extraction activities, according to official data. Twenty-six companies currently have exploratory or mining rights in the region. In 2018, Chinese mining company Sunbelt was given 3.3 square kilometers of land to set up a $13 million dollar marble mining factory in Rupa sub-county. A year later, the company expanded its operations to cover an additional 4.1 square kilometers, ostensibly after a deal with local leaders. Hundreds of families have since been pushed out of their ancestral homes, local officials say. Locals accuse Rupa Community development trust, a community trustee group created three years ago, of conniving with investors to steal their land” (Diana Taremwa Karakire – ‘Mining Rush Threatens Indigenous Peoples in Karamoja, Uganda’ 01.09.2021).
What I feared the most seems to be reason for the joint operation of the Uganda Police Force (UPF) and Uganda People’s Defence Force (UDPF) in the Karamoja sub-region. Which is an continues operation and it is persisting. The state is even furthering it’s investments into it by deploying 6,000 Local Defence Units or LDUs in Karamjoa. Therefore, the burning and bleeding will persist for a long time.
The lack of accountability and transparency is very clear. The obvious reasons for that is the licensed land and territories given to mineral extraction corporation over the indigenous people. The people and the citizens are neglected. They are perpetrators and the unlawful one in the mind of the state, but not by their rights as people.
The Government and the Authorities are coming in as a colonial government. They are occupying and violently removing people. The state is blaming the cattle rustling, but it is obviously more too it. Because, it is not like the government would create so much and damage over some livestock. However, it would do so over the mineral extraction and possible gold-rush in Karamoja.
We know they have given this state operation the name of “Usalama Kwa Wote” to disarm and take away illegal guns, but I wouldn’t be shocked if it was an alternate motive. A cash enterprise and a possible profit objective of the state. As they know the values of the land and what it possesses. When knowing that… they might find it easier to scare people away and not take ownership of land. Make them displaced and ensure their fear to return. As the mineral exploration and exploitation can start. In such a manner, that the government and the companies can start their trading.
The unfortunate families, villages and the Karimojong is just dying. While they are defending their land and we don’t have any idea about the amount of fatalities. As the GoU, the State House and UPDF doesn’t release any sort of update on their Joint Operation there. Only in the beginning and stopped when the public outcry ceased to exist.
The Karamoja sub-region continues to burn, be looted and is destroyed by government entities. While they are blaming old cultural factors and blaming the herders. That just shows their sinister motives. Because, we are not supposed to know about the vast licensing agreements and the planned mineral exploitation, which has been sanctioned without the concern of the locals or the Karimojong in general. They just have to accept the loss of land, livelihood and where they have lived for generations.
Because, that is the “steady progress” and “securing your future” means for Karamoja these days. The state don’t mind violating or destroying, as long as it has a prosperous future ahead of it. Peace.