Prime Minister Rukana Rugunda in Parliament as the motion went to the plenary: “There are hospitals that have no drugs” (Parliament Watch, 26.04.2017)
Today the 10th Parliament passed a motion made by Hon. Monica Amonding (Kumi District), Hon. Felix Ogong Okot (Dokolo South) and Hon. Silas Aogon (Kumi Municipality). They urged the President to declare the Republic are in a “State of Emergency”. This would be done over the famine and influx of refugees, that the Ugandan Republic would naturally both struggle with. As the Government have not functioning structures to fulfill the disasters at this rate, neither the over a 1 million of South Sudanese refugees.
The Minister can be quoted in the motion saying this:
“WHEREAS objective XXII of the National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy states that the State shall take appropriate steps to encourage people to grow and store adequate food, establish national food reserve and encourage and promote proper nutrition through mass education and other appropriate means in order to build a health state;” (…) “AND WHEREAS OBJECTIVE XIII urges the State to institute effective machinery for dealing with any hazard or disaster arising out of natural calamities or any situation resulting in displacing of the people or serious disruption of their normal life;” (…) “NOTHING THAT Article 110 (1) (b) provides that the President may in consultation with cabinet, by a proclamation, declare that a state of emergency exists in Uganda or any parts of Uganda if he satisfied that the security of economic life of the Country or a part of the Country is threatened by natural disaster” (…) “FURTHER NOTHING THAT most parts of Uganda has this year suffered prolonged drought and famine which has not allowed people to plant on time, while what has already have been planted have dried up and has not yielded any fruits;” (…) “NOTHING THAT the prolonged drought has become a big threat to the lives of both people and animals since Uganda largely depends on agriculture for both food and income;” (…) “REALIZING THAT as a result of this drought and famine, a number of people have been taken ill and others have died of starvation;” (…) “COGNISANT THAT food insecurity has escalated and it’s believed to be the major reason behind the wave of criminal activities which has swept the country and caused mayhem through the country, since people are desperate to get what to feed on;” (…) “AWARE THAT Members of Parliament have on several occasions alerted government of the looming dangers that the Country faces it stringent measures are not put in place to arrest the level of famine in the country” (…) “NOW THEREFORE this motion if moved urging – The President to declare a state of emergency in the country to address the food insecurity” (Motion for a Resolution of Parliament Urging the President to Declare A State of Emergency to address the Alarming Food Insecurity in the Country, 26.04.2017 – Uganda Parliament).
That the MP’s Amonding, Okot and Aogon are doing this in good faith, as they have fate that the President and his cronies will address the Food Insecurity and take care of the citizens. That the President who not to long ago, claimed there we’re no famine in Uganda. There are clearly lacking of food and the reports of the dire situation in many districts are clearly not encouraging. The bleak situation have not changed.
That the State and have significant works to do, not only to declare, but facilitate and make sure the famine struck areas get funding, secondly get food delivery to patch up the hurt. Than the education and useful technique’s for farmers and citizens to take of the water in the seasons, then to reuse it when the dry-seasons are coming. This is certainly something that the citizens know and the state as well. So the government, departments, agencies and the local government should have measures and plans to tackle the famine and the high levels of food insecurity. Also, look to their donors and multi-national organizations that they have gotten help from in the past to support extra in the time of need.
This can be done if the President Yoweri Museveni, actually cries out for help and that he can have the guts to say: “…I have managed the country for 3 decades, the famines was worse under Obote and Amin, but now for the first time as President, I have to say, I have not done my duty, neither has the Movement. We are living in troubling times, the government was not prepared for El Nino and neither was the peasant farmers and villagers. The NRM, I the President as the Ugandan, will now declare State of Emergency. We are not at fault, the climate change and weather is the reason for this….”. If he would have uttered words like this, because I don’t expect the old man with the hat, to ask for forgiveness or say he is at fault. Still, if he proves that the Republic are in trouble and say it to the world. It should be understood.
The FAO, FEWSNET and other has established it and warned for months, while the Republic and the State didn’t act upon it. They we’re lacking procedures and ways of allocating funds for food delivery and steady organization to give relief to the starving citizens. Therefore, the need for declaration is great way of showing to the world and get donations to direct aid on it. But to build structures and disaster relief should have been made by the Ministry for Relief and Disaster Preparedness and the State Minister Musa Francis Ecweru. That Department or Ministry should have the mandate and the needed funds to commit to help the citizens who are barley having one meal day or two, depending on which hurt district it is about right now.
That the MP’s are now tabling and urging the President to act upon it and to declare a Stat of Emergency because of the concern of the agricultural output and the food insecurity. The State could have acted earlier, they could have pledged to this and been upfront, as they have added their own tally with massive flood of refugees combined with drought. The world would have reacted or we could have hoped they had reacted to it, that the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and others could have made efforts to salvage the dire situation. The food insecurity is high and the state has to act. Peace.
The Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiques came to sort of revelation in Parliament, that shows the lack of governance and institutionalism that is too common in the Republic of Uganda. That the National Resistance Movement has established agencies under the ministry, but have no-one running them. They have not even appointed boards or even have procedures to select the appointments to them. What a special event. Just take a brief look at the assessment that the Parliament Watch describes from the session today!
“The Committee on tourism trade and Industry has learnt that the different agencies under the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities have no Boards. For example, Uganda Tourism Board, Wildlife Education Centre, Uganda Hotel, Tourism and Training Institute. Members have urged the Minister to inform the Prime Minister and the President in the next Cabinet meeting that the Committee will not consider the budget unless the Boards are instituted by the Ministry. Committee observed that it is a deliberate move to control agencies through the line ministry” (Parliament Watch, 25.04.2017).
A definition of a board from Meriam Webster says this: “a group of persons having managerial, supervisory, investigatory, or advisory powers” (Meriam Webster – Definition of board). So the ministry do not at the current state have the capacity to involve people to have a managerial or a supervisory role over agencies beneath themselves. That must be the true definition of steady progress, as state affairs goes, aye?
Like Uganda Tourism Board was already established by 1994. So the NRM has had the time to handpick the men and woman fit for the works and roles, still they have none. So the one agency involved in marketing and promoting the republic as a travelling destination does not have a board. Even the web-page of UTB says this: “The Minister of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities, appoints the Board of Directors for Uganda Tourism Board on a 3 year term. The Board has an oversight and advisory role over the work and plans of UTB. The Board of Directors is headed by a Chairperson supported by members representing public and private sector tourism stakeholders” (UTB – Board of Directors link: http://www.corporate.visituganda.com/about-us/board-of-directors/ ).
So the Ministry themselves should have the ability to make decisions fitted for appointing the needed personnel, without having the blessing of the President nor the Prime Minister. This is just one of the agencies and it didn’t take long time to look into it, the funny thing was, when you tried to go to the “Management Team” link on page, the only thing coming up on the page was “Bad”. So the knowledge of missing links and personnel is even visible to the tourism flagship page.
That the Minister Ephraim Kamuntu has work to do and people to employ certainly, also to get budget to keep their salaries in balance, as the agencies does need funds. Certainly, he has a State Minster Godfrey Kiwanda Suubi, who must have some insights and knowledge of some heads to collect. In addition, the Permanent Secretary Doreen Katusiime got know somebody fitting the program and vision of the agencies. If none of these three smart and bright, fellow appointees of the President can pick someone to the boards. Than the Director James Lutalo, should be able to find someone, educated and experienced in the field to envision the progression of the tourism industry and the wildlife experience in Uganda.
With the abundance of Presidential appointments to the Ministry, they should have the capacity and the ability to get the boards up and running, as well as a check-and-balancing act, to see that they do what the Ministry are supposed to do. So that the destination Uganda, can be a splendid travel for tourists. To make sure that they can have the best time while being there. Peace.
Why do they deserve food relief with bags of rice in Mbarara? I wonder why, because there are enough places in Uganda where the reported about food insecurity and that was not in the Ankoli sub-counties. In the government own food insecurity report dated to 9th January 2017, the districts of Teso, Isingiro, Karamoja, Lango, Acholi, West Nile and Parts of Busoga.
So for me it is insulting that the Urban poor of Mbarara we’re even mentioned in the government report from January, where the closest area with stressed and half a meals a day in Tororo, still the Tooro kingdom isn’t Mbarara, Ankole sub-region is further and closer to the central region. Also closer to the Rwakitura ranch and Rukungiri of the Movement closest family.
I am sure there are needy people and who would need relief in Mbarara, as the unemployment in 2009 was about 61.2 %. So there are people of dire need and who needs jobs, who also lives on scraps. That was the stats from 2009 in Mbarara, so there are not that I want to be harsh.
But something doesn’t seem reasonable when the January report of 2017, doesn’t state Mbarara or the Ankoli sub-regions. Therefore the food relief being delivered here seems a bit strange. It would been better in Bidibidi refugee settlement, where 270,000 refugees are settled, surely some of the United Nations Organizations are serving them meals of millet and posho. While the rice of Ugandan government are delivered to locals close to the heart of the President.
There are something weird, days after the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) gave away rice in Toroma sub-county, as the Police Force and regional leadership stopped the needed relief in the area. Therefore, the opposition party had to do it in silence. While the NRM and the Central Government, with the pomp and bravado are establishing food for Mbarara. Seems like more help to their own, than he ones who needs it more.
It is hard to say it, but where the people are eating ants and whatever else left behind that is edible by the drought and lacking rains. The infrastructure and institutions are not there to support all of the ones lacking the food and relief, the safety net in the hard times, as the Ministry for Relief and Disaster Preparedness Musa Francis Ecweru hasn’t considered the ramification of the food insecurity, neither has the central government themselves.
That out of the Office of Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda is certainly showing loyalty to his President and his NRM, when he offers a token of help to Mbarara. There are certainly with the level of unemployment, there are people needing help there, but why not doing it the district in the own state report?
Why? Do the state not care about the people eating insects instead of food? Is the NRM forgetting the people and the ones they are supposed to represent, or do they only want to feeds the ones who can work on the ranch of the President at the Rwakitura ranch. That is how it seems to be, that the closer you are to the home of the President, the more you can possibly get from the State House. It isn’t rumor, but a mere fact at this point. Peace.
During the weekend the Forum for Democratic Change wanted to continue with their food relief program in Katakwi, the region that has been hit by famine and by drought. Therefore earlier in April the FDC sent a team and maize flour, that was on the 5th April of 2017. This was blocked by the Uganda Police Force and the Regional Police Commander Francis Tumwesigye. Take a look!
So on the 22nd April 2017 the FDC went through with it:
“FDC officials secretly distribute food relief in Toroma County, Katakwi, after earlier being barred by police Earlier this month, the FDC team, led by Dr. Kizza Besigye were blocked from giving out the food to vulnerable persons who include child headed families, the elderly and persons with disabilities who are hard-hit by the famine that has ravaged the sub-counties of Toroma, Magoro ,Omodoi and Kapujan. However, yesterday the FDC officials resorted to giving out the food secretly with each parish receiving bags of maize flour and beans for the households in the county. This time, Katakwi’s Resident District Commissioner Ambrose Tumwesigye said FDC should have first sought permission from his office to distribute the food” (NTV Uganda, 22.04.2017).
Minister of Disaster Preparedness Musa Ecweru have had the whole month to deliver the State organized food relief to their own citizens, earlier him together with the Police shut-down the food relief. The FDC tried to the citizens something good. While the loyalty of the Police, RPC Tumwesigye and RDC Tumwesigye, are both prepared to stop the opposition.
That the FDC had to decide to do it secretly says more about the state of affairs, than of the will of going against the state. That the National Resistance Movement and the local state officials haven’t been positive before.
So even the State Minister Musa Ecweru had to apologize to the residents of Katakwi:
“All willing humanitarian agencies or parties have the right to distribute food, if they consult with the line ministry, the Ministry for Relief and Disaster Preparedness,” Mr Ecweru explained. He added that FDC will be allowed to distribute food if they make arrangements with the Ministry for Relief and Disaster Preparedness in order to avoid duplication” (…) “The chairperson Teso Parliamentary Group, Mr Patrick Okabe, also at the weekend, condemned the actions of police to deny the people of Toroma County food, saying: “Teso Parliamentary Group stands firm with the people of Teso in this trying moment.” (NTV Newsnight, 11.04.2017).
So if the FDC had consulted directly with the minster and the regional leadership. Still, I doubt they would allow it, as the NRM hasn’t really been positive to anything involving the opposition parties, unless they are the “Good DP”. So the FDC would no matter what they do, get blocked and stopped, with tear-gas and get people into hospital treatment. Even if the RDC Tumwesigye had been informed or RPC Tumwesigye had been told, I doubt they would have said: “Yes be kind, just do it”.
Since the NRM and their government forces haven’t really showed any finesse in those matters. So that the FDC had to yesterday and this weekend do it in silence, because of their lacking faith in the government entities. That the RDC and RPC would stifle the efforts of the FDC. We can know how the oppressive behavior of the security forces towards the FDC, when they are doing food relief in silence and in the dark in Katakwi. As the last time the violence and disruption of it, destroyed the willing to help the drought hit region.
That the government doesn’t themselves show that they are grateful and the considerate effort of the FDC. Therefore, the reality that the Government says: “please just tell and we will allow” isn’t truthful or sincere. If it was so, then the FDC would have done it and pleased the government. Still, the reality of it is, that the NRM tries what it can to silence the FDC and their leadership. By any means possible, even when citizens who starve are blocked because of the giver. Shows the ice-cold hearts and the oppressive acts of the ruling regime. Peace.