The National Resistance Movement (NRM) is very forgiving to their own crooks. The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda office was in-charge of the procurement for relief food during the first lockdown in 2020 for the urban areas.
What is striking is that the officials secured deals, which ended in a loss of USD $528,000 in inflated in the prices of food. The ones implicated and arrested for these schemes was the Permanent Secretary Christine Guwatudde Kintu, accounting officer Joel Wanjala, assistant procurement commissioner Fred Lutimba and Martin Owor, the head of COVID-19 relief management.
Today, the Director of Public Prosecution has discontinued the case against them. Even when it is evident they acted fraudulent and massively public wastage of funds. The OPM Food Relief last year was a giant scheme of embezzlement and misuse of office. That’s why there was no tenders and no procurement protocol for in the food relief. It was all brotherly conduct and already using connects. That was the initial drive and this is why they inflated the prices on it.
This is why we know the state isn’t interested in fighting corruption or graft, when people like these are off the hook. The state is not going against the OPM and the ones involved. In the end… and they are able to walk.
That is the story here… and that should what the world needs to know. This isn’t the first or the last time people who is connected gets away from scandals. There been several who been in office and high ranking officials who can steal, embezzle and grand corruption. Still, they can walk to the Parliament, State House and now in the OPM without any consequences. The ones charged and detained on corruption is small-fishes. That’s why the ones sentenced in the Courts is teachers and headmasters eating of funds for ghost-workers and students.
The DPP is now giving way and letting them off the hook. The NRM has done this to others and this is Modus Operandi (M.O) by now. The President and the ones who is in the inner-circle can get away with murder and we know this. It just happened to be with COVID-19 Funds and Relief Food. The OPM wasn’t long time ago inflate refugee numbers to get more donor funds. Therefore, this is what they do to eat and does it deliberately. Therefore, the OPM needs to scheme to run it’s operation.
This isn’t shocking, but it’s a part of a pattern. Peace.
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network published their March Update on Uganda on the 29th March 2019. What is says is very troublesome. Especially the main message. They not yet declaring famine in the region of Karamoja, but however, they are stating the warning signs as the lean season is hitting the region. Especially two districts are in troubling times.
This I will show with the statement from FEWS NET themselves and their classification. Even if it is only on level IPC 3, the famine is IPC 5 and IPC 4 is a Crisis. So, the region is close to danger and should get quick attention. To ensure, that the districts in question have the needs. The Ministry for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Refugees, should together with other agencies ensure the needs are met for the rising food prices. The FEWS NET is worried about the March to May, as they are thinking it could terrible levels. Even if forecast seems better between June to September 2019.
Here is the warning from FEWS NET. Take a look.
– Have food consumption gaps which are reflected by high or above-usual acute malnutrition;
– Are marginally able to meet minimum food needs but only by depleting essential livelihood assets or through crisis-coping strategies” (FEWSNET – ‘ Integrated Phase Classification’).
“In Karamoja, household food gaps continue to widen as the lean season progresses, driven by limited income earning opportunities and rising food prices. Sorghum retail prices in Karamoja reference markets remained above the 2018 average in February, but below the five-year average. Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes prevail, mostly in Kotido and Kaabong. In bimodal areas, favorable staple food prices continue to sustain household food access despite below-average income from agricultural labor and seasonal declines in household food stocks, maintaining Minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes. Although prices are seasonally increasing, they remain below the 2018 average and near to below the five-year average” (FEWSNET – ‘Uganda Key Message Update, March 2019’ 29.03.2019).
This here should a warning, because the FEWS Net are usually right on the money. They have been in other instances elsewhere. Where their projections and their forecast has hit right on the money. The State House, the Ministry as mentioned and other agencies should start working in the region. Especially in Kotido and Kaabong district. As there it will be the most dire. That is if they even care about the possible heartache and lack of resources that is there. They need to shelter and supply with needed goods to secure the food security.
Surely, they will await it to come to levels of IPC 4 or IPC 5, when the districts are already in a crisis or in a famine. Because, acting before the first warning sign is to much to ask. To patch the hurt early, should be a main focus. But don’t count on it. Especially with the handlers and the politicians eagerly eating in Kampala, but forgetting the life up-country. Peace.
“Until you put these things to right, you’re not entitled to boast of the justice meted out to thieves, for it’s a justice more specious than real or social desirable. You allow these people to be brought up in the worst possible way, and systematically corrupted from their earliest years. Finally, when they grow up and commit the crimes that they were obviously destined to commit, ever since they were children, you start punishing them. In other words, you create thieves, and then punish them for stealing.” – Thomas More
We have this week been really introduced to the State Minister for Teso, Honourable Agnes Akiror Egunyu, who has made headlines for not having patience to wait in a queue inside a bank in Soroti. She is supposed to be busy help the Internally displaced in Teso, following up Presidential Pledges in the Region and other matters. However, for her it was more important to get people detained for making her stand in a tiny queue.
I will, first show the six key activities, that the State Minister is supposed to focus on, but she has apparently other motives in her work. As the quote of the Daily Monitor first and than New Vision follow-up. Seriously, it is a real mess, because the Teso Affairs isn’t that important to her.
Minister of Teso Affairs is supposed to do this: “1, Monitoring and coordinating the implementation of PRDP and other Government Programmes. 2, Coordinating/liaising and collaborating with other Government MDAs delivery of services. 3, Following up on the fulfilment of Presidential pledges. 4, Resettling former IDPs. 5, Promoting peace building and resolving conflicts. 6. Implementing special and specific affirmative interventions” (OPM – ‘Teso Affairs’).
“A bank teller, who spoke to Daily Monitor on condition of anonymity, said Ms Akiror entered the bank and wanted to go past other clients straight to the teller. When the queueing clients complained, she got angry and called Mr Ogwal. Mr Ogwal told Daily Monitor that he was contacted by the minister for help on allegations that she had been attacked at the branch by two men as she made her transactions. “She called me like any other person for help. It is the reason I ordered the district police commander to rush to the bank where the arrests were made,” he said” (Muron & Emwamu, 2019).
“Two customers of dfcu Bank’s Soroti branch who were arrested for allegedly disturbing the peace of the state minister for Teso affairs, Agnes Akiror Egunyu, in the bank hall have been charged and released on Police bond” (…) “In an interview with the New Vision, Akiror accused the duo for abusing her while she was making a transaction. “I found clients queuing in the bank without a teller in the counter to serve them. One teller accepted to help me after I pleaded for help, but those men started abusing me seriously,” Akiror said” (Opio, 2019).
She is really acting entitled with this action this week. Seemingly, the State Minister has forgotten her work, he play in society and that she is not above the ordinary people. The State Minister should have no issues waiting in a queue. That she got the two people arrested inside the Bank. Really shows her ways and how she has gotten corrupted by the Public Office she has. Instead of working for any of the key activities, because that is not to get people arrested for being customers inside a bank. Because that is what she did.
If she had been serious as a State Minister, we would have read reports where she took charge in the plenty of Presidential Pledges made in the Teso Regions. State Minister Akiror Egunyu did this to the citizens, which happened to be in the bank at the same time. Just so utter disgrace for her role in society and her natural entitlement.
She thinks she is that special now, that she can force herself first, as she is a Minister. That shows what is wrong in society, when the Police is called upon for this and detains them. Just because, they didn’t let her first in the queue. Peace.
Emmanuel Opio – ‘Two arrested over insulting minister in bank hall’ 17.01.2019, link: https://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1492780/arrested-insulting-minister-bank-hall
George Muron & Simon Peter Emwamu – ‘Bank clients arrested for ‘disturbing’ Teso minister’ 16.01.2019, link: https://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Bank-clients-arrested-for–disturbing–Teso-minister/688334-4936798-mklyiiz/index.html
With age and time, you can see how a government returns with same empty promises and pledges. It is like President Yoweri Kaguta Musveni and his allies comes every time after a disaster. However, they are not planning to do anything. They are talking of making differences, that is why they had made a District Development Plan in April 2011. Where the district planned both tree-planting and building the road, which was promised the year before. Also, in National Policy for Disaster Preparedness and Management in 2010, which stated who had responsibilities concerning landslide. Therefore, the state has worked on plans and securing the area, but they have not acted upon it.
Today, I am just compiling a few promises over the years to the district, to prove the lack of act and lack of following up on promises. If this was a district the government cared about, they would have acknowledge the dangers and the landslides. As the death-toll is happening nearly yearly after the rainfall and the knowledge of this common. It is not like this is new problem. The state could have built the roads and could have ensured the earth erosion wouldn’t worsen, but never cared for doing so. Therefore, I have listed the promises since 2010 until today.
Promised a road in 2010:
“President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has directed for the immediate construction of a road leading up to Nametsi village in Bududa, the scene of the landslide disaster which claimed more than 300 people last week. The Lack of access roads to Nametsi village has severely affected the rescue efforts as earth moving equipments can not be transported to the disaster scene. The village which is located on Mt. Elgon can only be reached on foot as vehicles stop more than ten kilometers away” (Joseph Elunya – ‘President Museveni Orders for Construction of Road to Landslide Scene in Bududa’ 08.03.2010, link: https://ugandaradionetwork.com/story/president-museveni-orders-for-construction-of-road-to-landslide-scene-in-bududa).
Presidential Directive in 2012:
“The directive by President Yoweri Museveni to have survivors of Monday’s landslides in Bududa district relocated to other places within the country has drawn mixed reactions among the locals in the area. President Museveni through a message by Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, on Wednesday directed that all those living in high risk slopes of Mount Elgon should be unconditionally relocated. The President suggested that the government could also construct urban settlements within the district to have them settled there. The directive followed the June 25 landslides that buried at least two villages in Bulucheke Sub County, Bududa district. It is still not clear how many people have died, with government putting the figure at about 18 while local leaders saying the dead could be over 100. Some of the survivors welcome the idea of having urban centers constructed within the district, but many equally say they would not move to any place outside Bududa” (Michael Wambi – ‘Mixed Reactions to Museveni’s Bududa Directive’ 29.07.2012, link: https://ugandaradionetwork.com/a/story.php?s=43316).
Promise of a road in 2015:
“The President announced that the road from Magodesi to Lwakhakha will be tarmac and adding that the work is slated to begin in February 2016. He also said that Manafwa road will be extended to Bududa but called for patience as the government implements these projects in phases according to the availability of financial resources. “Money is not like the sun. We do government work step by step because not all programmes can be undertaken at the same time,” he explained” (Uganda Media Centre – ‘“Mass Industrialization to Solve Youth Unemployment”- President Museveni’ 27.08.2015, link: http://www.mediacentre.go.ug/press-release/%E2%80%9Cmass-industrialization-solve-youth-unemployment%E2%80%9D-president-museveni).
Promise of a road in 2017:
““There are very many stones on this mountain waiting to kill you people, but instead of these stones being a problem, we are going to blast them to make good tarmac roads,” he said, adding that government has also for funds to tarmac the Mbale-Sironko road” (…) “In September, this year, at least 10 people were reportedly buried alive after the mudslide occurred in Sironko and several houses were also left buried in Bududa district” (Max Patrick Ocaido – ‘President Museveni Visits Landslide Victims’ 22.11.2017, link: https://kampalapost.com/content/news/president-museveni-visits-landslide-victims).
“On government’s behalf I apologize for the delayed resettlement of those living in landslide-prone areas to safer places, and commit that this process will be fast-tracked to avoid any further casualities. I was let down by my people. I apologize on their behalf. A plan was made and the people had agreed to move but it seems there was lack of coordination in government. I apologise for this, we are now going to move very fast” (Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, 14.10.2018).
We can really see how the President promises and doesn’t keep them. That is why the Bududa District Plan of 2010 wasn’t even followed, neither the National Policy for Disaster Preparedness and Management of 2011, both wasn’t followed. That shows the contempt of the district and their needs.
That is why it is special that the President comes with the same promise after a landslide in 2018, as he did in 2012 and until last year he promised a road to help out the area. Clearly, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) are not prioritizing the needs or the costs of lives that is happening here. As it is happening yearly and still the state doesn’t act upon it.
That is time to stop and actually follow up on the pledges, the promises and the needs of the District. That he also have visited several times of AK 47 and military fatigue, shows how he acts concerning the pains of the citizens. He didn’t do that today, but has done that in the past.
When, he promise quick progress and apologize for lateness, that is at least 6 years ago since he written a directive on relocation that the state haven’t been able to follow upon or allocate the funds. Peace.
There has been a real tragedy again befallen on the Mount Elgon Region, as the Budabuda District was hit with another landslide. This is a district that is known for this and has had fatal landslides in the past, as the rain of October and November can create landslide in the eroded land and in the slopes of the hills, where people reside and have their small farms. Therefore, this isn’t a new problem. There are reports on the matter, but still this week was hit with it again and new losses of lives. Which is such a tragedy. In 2010, there was estimated 100 dead in Namesti Village in the district. By today, in the district the Red Cross says the number of dead is up to 42. All of which is a lot, as there are supposed to be safeguards and warning systems, also funds to secure help as the disaster happens.
After the last big landslide, the district MP Olive Wonekha wrote this: “Putting a system in place to cater for all the emergencies has not been easy. The Government of Uganda together with many well-wishers including the Red Cross Society which is at the forefront of the humanitarian aid, Development Partners are grappling with the medium and long-term solution to the issue” (AAH Uganda, 02.04.2010).
As we have sadly seen from this week, that haven’t really been put in place and in order. As the government nor the stakeholders has taken charge, as they all know this. What is special is that the Bududa District even made a Development Plan in April 2011, which stated this:
“Factors responsible for this phenomenon include; Human activities (steep slope cultivation, cultivation on river banks, deforestation) and excessive rains” (Bududa District – ‘Five-Year District Development Plan’ 27.04.2011). In the same plan, they have a plan for adding more forest and trees in slopes to stop erosion in the soil, we can wonder if they ever got the one road they needed and the seedlings to do so. That they could do one thing to secure the slopes and hills. As the rain pour is steady and known about in the region.
We understand why the Local Government and District has little say in the matter of disaster, as the Office of Prime Minister says they are number 12 on the list of responsible in 2010, but a technical note from 2015, says it is local government who is legal obligation. Its not strange, that their will confusion and uncertainty who has the final say and who should step into action.
OPM report on ‘THE NATIONAL POLICY FOR DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND MANAGEMENT’ from 2010 states: “Community settlement on steep slopes and other uncontrolled land use practices increase the likelihood of landslides and mudslides prevalence. The areas mostly affected by Landslides are Mt. Elgon region, Ruwenzori region and Kigezi”. Than later it says who is the responsible institutions: “i. National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) (lead Institution)
ii. Ministry of Water and Environment
iii. Department of Geological and Mine Survey
iv. National Forest Authority (NFA)
v. Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA)
vi. Makerere University, Geography Dept.
vii. Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries
viii. Ministry of Lands and Housing and Urban Development
ix. Ministry of Local Government
x. Ministry of Works and Transport
xi. Office of the Prime Minister – Department of Disaster Preparedness and Management
xii. District Local Governments
xiii. NARO and other Research Institutions
xiv. Community and Private Sector
xv. Ministry of Defence and other Rescue Agencies
xvi. UN Agencies and NGOs
xvii. Ministry of Health” (OPM – ‘THE NATIONAL POLICY FOR DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND MANAGEMENT’ 2010).
A technical report commissioned by the UNDP on behalf of the Office of the Prime Minister in August 2015 states this about landslides: “Herewith each district environment committee is responsible to take necessary measures to minimise the risk of environmental degradation of riverbanks and shores. Similarly section 38 highlights the identification of hilly and mountainous areas and also places a legal obligation on local government for the assessment of such areas in terms of environmental degradation. In light of the significant landslide risk within Uganda, this element should go along way in addressing landslide risk” (OPM – ‘Governance of disaster risk reduction and management in Uganda: A literature review’ 2015).
What I have been looking into is what the reports of old is saying. Not looking into the issue of Contingency Fund, but showing a final Press Statement from CSBAG to show the lack of care from the government concerning this:
“We want to applaud government’s proposal of allocating UGX 77bn to the contingency fund; this being the first time the provision of the PFMA of constituting a contingency fund is being implemented. However, the proposed allocation is below the 0.5% of the previous financial year’s budget as provided by Section 26 of the PMFA 2015 as amended, we pray that an additional UGX 66 bn be provided to fully implement the provision of the PFMA. We demand that Government respects the percentage towards Disaster response and management as required by the law under the Contingency Fund” (CSBAG – ‘UGANDA IS NOT FLOOD RESISTANT… IT’S TIME TO ACT’ 26.03.2018).
When we see it like this, the state is clearly not managing the disaster response or the funds for possibly coping with it. As the landslide this week is showing, is that the government of Uganda isn’t prepared and their citizens are paying. As well, as the local government doesn’t have the funds or ability to ensure their own 5 year development plan. Which was made a year after the biggest landslide in the recent decade. Therefore, the state knows about this, but still doesn’t act upon it.
We have to question the OPM and the other government institutions, not only the Local Government who hasn’t acted, but they might lack the budget and the expertise, that all the other responsible institutions in this manner.
What is sad is the loss of lives and the knowledge of plans and lack of inadequate funds… which could have saved lives and ensured a better disaster response. Something everyone deserves, as the government knows this region is hit with this, as the rains of September and October can make the land erosion. Therefore, time to push for the government to really act, so next time there be less loss of life and more action to ones in need when it do happen. Peace.