Teso Affairs: In the Teso Sub-Region they are eating termites to survive the famine!

Residents of the hunger stricken areas in Teso region are now forced to eat termites due the current hunger crisis caused by last year and this year’s prolonged drought. Florence Kulume a mother of nine and a resident of Atira sub county in Serere district goes early morning to look for grass, sort it straight before washing it with roots of a certain tree locally known as “Ekoboi” in Ateso which is sour and loved by termites” (Kampala Dispatch – ‘Starving families in Teso resort to eating termites, Karimojong flee to Kenya’ 13.06.2022).

The Teso Sub-Region is hit with food insecurity yet again. It seems like the Teso Affairs and the state haven’t followed previous recommendations or any sort of thing. As the problems of past is revisiting the area. An area where the state has invested in a fruit factory, the Soroti Fruit Factory, but not secured the farmers or the agricultural sector as a whole. Since, within a few years time and a new drought settles in. The same issue of hunger and starvations sets in.

I have to use the sentiment of a farmer from the last time in 2017. Because the situation hasn’t changed but its more of the same.

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).

Minister of State for Teso Affairs, Hon. Christine Aporu Amongin has to accept her faults and lack of good governance. The state haven’t done their due diligence or tried to mitigate it. That’s why it’s happening again after 5 years. We know the state will come with excuses. Last time around another minister blamed the suffering communities for selling their crops and whatnot to get money to stay alive. Therefore, we shouldn’t expect much from the state or the ministries in question.

The Office of the Prime Minister and the Minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness should together with the Teso Affairs make some mechanisms and help people out. Not only with the direct aid and need food right now. That what they should do and in such a manner that people can eat nutritious food.

Now that it has happen for the second time in 5 years. The state needs to do more than short-term relief. There is a need for more food security mechanisms that actually can help the farmers and the hit communities in the Teso sub-region. Peace.

Reference:

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/

Teso Affairs: The failure of Soroti Fruit Factory

Soroti Fruits Limited was incorporated to add value to fruits that were abundantly underutilised; to address the high post-harvest losses, provide market for the farmers produce, and create employment opportunities along the value chain, thus increased and diversified household incomes within the greater Teso Sub-region” (February, 2022).

This is not a shocker, as the Auditor General of December 2021 already have proven that the investment under Uganda Development Corruption (UDC) proved that the Government of Uganda huge investments into these State Owned Enterprises isn’t only unsuccessful, but blatant cash-grabs and “white-elephants”.

The “Report on the Alleged Mismanagement of Soroti Fruits Limited” only furthers this, as the produced report of February 2022 is no difference from the AG Report from December 2021. Therefore, it is only showing it more direct and one case, which happens to be the Soroti Fruit Factory.

Just read here:

The Committee made the following observations,’The only mango varieties not taken by the factory are the traditional mangoes which are said to have a lot of fiber which requires several systems to clean. Mangoes are mainly sourced from outside Teso sub-region because the available mango varieties in Teso contain fiber that cannot easily be processed by the current mango line. Whereas oranges are predominantly grown fruits in Teso sub-region, the factory found it economically viable to invest in a mango line as opposed to an orange line because the mango juice is a fast moving product that can sustain the market thus this could be one of the reasons orange growing farmers are frustrated” (February 2022).

The committee was concerned that Government has so far invested in Teso Fruits Limited a total of UGX 44.1 billion, in addition to the KOICA grant of USD.8million, however, this has not yet yielded any profits and this projects towards the fact that the factory may take a longer period to sustain itself” (February 2022).

What is really striking is that a Fruit Factory for the Teso region, has to “import” or get outside sourced Mangoes, which can work for the production line. As the type, which is mainly produced in the Teso region doesn’t work there. That shouldn’t be the case and shows that the Fruit Processing Plant isn’t scaled or made for the local fruit producers. This is just infuriating and insulting. Because, that is the purpose to value-add on the cash-crops, but in this case. It is instead for outside farmers who has a longer way to the factory, which isn’t the reason for the company to begin with.

On a second note, the Teso region is also producing more oranges, which isn’t even in the works. So, you can wonder what sort of planning that went into it and what sort of analysis of the region was to begin with. This is the Teso Region’s Fruit Factory, but it doesn’t serve the majority of the mango producers or the orange producers in the region. Meaning, they are outsourcing the fruit supply, because it isn’t produced in Teso. That is really impressive and foolish too. Who is this dumb?

Not only the spending, building and wastage of funds only, as it has been a money-pit and total loss from the on-set. This report isn’t painting a perfect picture. Yes, it was a report made because of an expensive road, but uncovers another bitter truth, which I find more interesting. As it is built a fruit factory, which isn’t made for the surrounding farmers of the region. That’s it. Peace.

Auditor General Report says that the government wasted over 200 billion shillings towards investment projects under the UDC

The Government of Uganda has committed over UGX.223.9Bn in various investment projects under Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) over the years 2016/17 to 2019/20. These investments which are highlighted as government priorities from National Development Plan (NDP I), through to NDP III, are meant to promote social and economic development and contribute to poverty eradication by increasing national and regional economic growth and development” (Auditor General, December 2021).

We know over the years that the National Resistance Movement and the Government of Uganda (GoU) knows all about writing fancy plans, but have no idea about to implement them. In this regard, the GoU have not failed us either. The same government have failed to use the investments and the spending Uganda Development Corporation (UDC) over the years. That is very obvious.

These investments has been questioned before and the lack of results from them has been in the public too. As the factories and companies haven’t delivered as promised. The companies in question is Soroti Fruit Factory, Kigezi Highlands, Mbale Tea Factor, Kayonza tea factory and Atiak Sugar factory. Especially, the Soroti and Atiak factories have caused a stir and headlines in the past. So, the Auditor General is validating what the public already knows, but it is friendly to see the state looking at their lack of results.

Just read this conclusion, it says a lot about the lack of good governance by the NRM:
“Government has invested over UGX.200Bn in various sectors of the economy with the objective of boosting value addition mainly in the agricultural sector. There has been a noted increase in both tea and sugar production. It should however be noted that the levels of outputs and other expected benefits are not commensurate with the investments due to challenges of budgeting and planning, lack of feasibility studies and criteria for allocation of funding, inadequate contractual arrangements to clarify roles and targets and limited oversight and monitoring of investments. There is a risk of failure to achieve the intended objectives. There is still potential for improvement by ensuring UDC staffing levels are increased to undertake the above-mentioned tasks. It is also necessary to enhance autonomy for UDC by providing capitalisation instead of project related financing, so that management is flexible in allocation and re-allocate resources where they are urgently required at the time” (Auditor General, December 2021).

When reading this… you can state this is “white elephants” and could have been produced by any sort of foreign development agency to sell good stories to their donors and well-wishers. The GoU is initially dropping money like a drunk sailor without plans or sufficiently study the needs for it. Secondly, they don’t have secured or checked the plans to ensure the value for money. Alas, they are just printing money and throwing it on strippers. Hoping the stripper will come with the man who is making it rain. It is possibly that the stripper will be picked up by someone else or has a man already. So, why should the enterprise succeed when it’s just mere luck, if you actually get a shot to kiss or spend time with the girl.

In the same fashion the GoU has invested in the UDC. They have thrown money at the wall and hoping that something will stick. This is just running wild… and not putting any real efforts in. As they are just spending money and investing them without any precautions. That should be a worry anyone and the AG couldn’t be any clearer in this instance. Peace.

Teso Sub-Region Famers continues to be forgotten by the Regime!

The seeds of the past bear fruit in the present.”Patrick Rothfuss

You know there is plenty of issues, when the Member of Parliament David Abala from Ngora County are together with 51 farmers written a petition concerning the Fruit Industry in the Teso Sub-Region. This being a petition from the orange and citrus fruit farmers of Kobwin, Ngora, Kapir, Mukura and Ngora Town Council ClO Ngora District.

What is special is that I have covered this before. As the National Resistance Movement (NRM) have promised for over a decade to build the Soroti Fruit Factory, however, that hasn’t been materialized. This being President Museveni having rallies in the districts or nearby areas. Alas, the public has waited and started to produce this cash-crops as the factory was supposed to come. But with time they have seen it has appeared. This hurting the profitability of the produce and also the lack of progress for the farmers themselves.

We know the state sucks, when the petitioners are writing this:

This particularly arises from current government policy to encourage farmers in the Teso sub-region to take to Citrus fruit farming on the basis that a fruit processing factory will be built in the sub-region for value addition on their fruits as a means for poverty alleviation and invariably wealth creation”.

Therefore, they have to even petition for it, this after they even demonstrated earlier in the year. When the Teso farmers in the Katakwi District put their produce on the streets paving ways of mangoes, instead of selling it. That happen this May 2018.

Now months after, the Ngora District are reacting to, as they are losing money and being tricked by middle men. As they are asking the Parliament for compensation, streamline the value chain for the farmers and the challenges they are having.

The NRM have now proven twice within a year, that they are not meeting the needs of the Teso Farmers, as the Ngora District are following the Katakwi District, which are both addressing the lack of following up pledges and promises of the past. It is all directed to the pledge of the Fruit Factory in Soroti. Seemingly never happen, except on paper and within the policy documents, but doesn’t get funding from the regime.

The saga continues and it will be fruity ride. Peace.

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

10th Parliament MPs is extra greedy as they are eating another Shs. 100m. each!

You know there is something special, you know there is something out of bound and something compelling, when the Members of Parliament (MPs) who has no quarrels with eating without taxation, without thinking of their salaries compered to the ones who they represent. The constituency of the MP must feel betrayed as their allowances and their benefits are enormous, to say it at least, they are gigantic! But take a look at the latest big payment for the MPs!

Parliament — MPs are smiling all the way to the bank after the government authorised the release of an extra Shs45b to Parliament, with each of the 449 lawmakers set to get an additional Shs100m, ostensibly to buy cars for constituency travels” (…) “In a June 13 letter titled: ‘Additional cash limit of Shs45.8b for the Parliamentary Commission’, Mr Keith Muhakanizi, the Secretary to the Treasury, authorised Ms Jane Kibirige, the Clerk to Parliament, to spend the cash as part of non-wage recurrent budget in the fourth quarter of the Financial Year 2016/2017. The clearance comes barely two weeks to the end of the Financial Year” (Arinaitwe & Manzil, 2017).

So the Members of Parliament are clearly getting another pay-day without passing to much legislation or any sort of consideration of the proposed budget or pledges they had for the financial year 2017/2018. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and the NRM Caucus have clearly made together with the Parliamentary Commission to make a new pay-day for the MPs, yet again!

The National Resistance Movement and their MPs clearly like to get extra brown-envelopes without any considerations of the state of the budget or the way the funds are raised. It is not shocking, it seems like an ordinary event at this point. Not like it is the first time, the MPs uses their Noble place in the august house to enrich themselves and add cost to the state. Therefore, the added debt and interest payments should be feared by the MPs. Instead, they are adding debt and creating more interest without concern of the citizens.

The citizens are going to pay extra for this, they are the ones that are ripped off at broad-daylight. They are eating directly of the state reserve and does it with impunity. Also worth noticing, President Museveni is not sanctioning against it, since he can do as pleases. Since he is eating directly and misuse s it whenever he wants. Peace.

Reference:

Arinaitwe, Solomon & Manzil, Ibrahim – ‘Uganda: MPs Get Extra Shs100 Million Each for Cars’ (17.06.2017) link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201706190735.html?utm_campaign=allafrica%3Ainternal&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_content=promote%3Aaans%3Aabafbt

Bukedea district: NRM Government neglect to another level, they are stealing from their starving citizens!

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.

Reference:

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

In the Teso Region they are eating termites to survive the famine!

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.

Reference:

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

The Calvary tried to block “My Life, My Land” Campaign rally in Semuto Town in Nakaseke District!

In Nakaseke District. The Uganda Police Force have been preoccupied with blocking meetings with Dr. Kizza Besigye and the Forum for Democratic Change, as their national campaigns continues. As this was happening when they we’re traveling to Semuto, where the Party and FDC leadership held rallies. While the Police Force and District Police Commander Justus Asiimwe were prepared with roadblocks around the town and also police officers in the town center. There we’re also Armored Personnel Carriers (APC). The Police did what they could do to block. But when he did enter the town and held the rally for “My land, My life campaign.

Certainly, the FDC have been holding campaigns in Mubende and Luweero where they have recently met the same hostile Police Force, as they are all trying to silence and stop the gatherings. As the people shows up when the People’s President and his FDC comes to town.

Yesterday the AIGP Asan Kasingye issued this statement relating to the public meetings of the FDC: “We wish to appeal to the members of the public to desist from attending their unlawful assemblies and to ignore the messages of incitement and disobedience from the above members of the party” (Uganda Police Force, 05.05.2017).

So the Police Force are calling it an unlawful assembly in Nakaseke District, this will not be last place that the FDC and their campaign team will meet hostile security forces. This is because the Police Force has decided to silence and stop the opposition party from campaigning for their cause. This was written by Erias Lukwago: “I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the people of Nakaseke District for their firm stance and resilience in the face of brutality and mayhem unleashed by the Police in Ssemuto town this afternoon” (Erias Lukwago, 06.05.2017).

So the intimidation and harassment continues and the FDC are under-fire where they go, where the police are following, monitoring and blocking where Besigye goes. Instead of stopping violent crime and the insecurity that appears on this sort of activity.

While the Red Repper reported this:

Police unleash all the might on Besigye in Luweero Triangle as criminals ravage the city and entire country. Three businessmen were murdered last week in Masaka. Hardware tycoon kidnapped and murdered in Bushenyi this week. Two more kidnappings were reported yesterday in Mbarara and Bushenyi districts. Two businessmen were in past three weeks shot dead in Makindye, a Kampala suburb” (Red Pepper Uganda, 06.05.2017).

So there are certainly mismanagement in the Police Force, they are more keen on being involved in politics, than actually fighting crime and solving them. Since there seem to be problems that the Police has to solve, but isn’t fit to carry out. The reports from Red Pepper is really worrying. Doesn’t seem like the Police are occupied with that, more with if the FDC are campaigning or having public meetings, which should be seen as misuse of the public resources. Peace.

The UPF Statement on unlawful assembly of the FDC in Kyankwanzi (05.05.2017)

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