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Archive for the tag “OPM”

OPM – Ministry for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees: Press Release – Clarification on the Status of Rwandan Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Uganda (22.11.2018)

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OPM Refugee Scandal: It is verified that it was 352k Ghost Refugees!

Minister Hillary Onek and Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda can make any excuses in the books of civil service. Not that they will be true for that matter, because earlier this year. It was revealed that in several of the refugee camps and settlements in the Republic of Uganda. The Government of Uganda had inflated the numbers, so they to could gain international recognition and also monetary gains for the needed people seeking refuge there.

This was ghosting refugees and the ones fleeing wars in Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Where the majority of the refugees comes from. This was a real scandal, that shown how the authorities are using the misfortune of others to eat donor pledges and multi-national organizations supply of foreign currency. To facilitate food, shelter and other needed services for the ones living in the refugee camps and settlements.

Take a look at this:

The Government of Uganda has one of the most progressive refugee policies, allowing refugees and asylum-seekers to live in gazetted refugee settlements and exercise freedom of movement and settlement within the country. As a routine practice, the government has provided a grace period of two months within which any registered refugee and asylum-seeker who missed the exercise, can approach OPM for verification. Taking this into consideration, the above verification numbers are preliminary. A more detailed analysis will be undertaken after the grace period. The difference between the initial verification target stands at 352,643 individuals. Among those, 255,490 individuals were verified as inactive and closed for the following reasons: a) 158,533 individuals whose whereabouts are unknown as reported by family members; b) 34,174 were reported by their families to have returned to their countries of origin; c) 9,481 were identified to have registered more than once; e) 3,931 were reported deceased; f) 1,489 were closed as they were Ugandan nationals; and (g) a verification exercise by OPM in April 2018 confirmed the urban refugee population to be 55,812” (UNHCR – ‘Joint statement by UNHCR and OPM on preliminary results of refugee verification exercise’ 08.11.2018).

So, the OPM and the National Resistance Movement (NRM) played this game with the lives of refugees and with the donor nations. Hoping to score more funding for non-existing refugees, getting funds and grants for people who never existed. That shows the devastation and extortion of the situation. When the ones in dire need and the ones in camp together with forged numbers are used in a scheme.

That is why the UPM and UNHCR had to do this exercise in the first place, as the lack of trust in the numbers. As they sky-rocketed and ballooned into ridiculous levels.

The OPM Refugee scandal of this years shows the value of oversight and due diligence, as the need to verify the numbers and the stats. That is why there is missing or ghosting over 352,000 people as refugees in Uganda. That shows how corrupt and how the state used the ability of refugees to take money from others.

Therefore, these sort of joint actions should happen often. To secure that the GoU and the OPM isn’t rigging the numbers in their favor. Peace.

MoFPED Matia Kasaija letter to All Development Partners: “Re: Clarification on the Decision of Cabinet of the Republic of Uganda Concerning the Reorganization of Government Institutions” (26.09.2018)

OPM-UNHCR: Verification Exercise since March 2018 proves there is 1m refugees in Uganda!

Since February 2018, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) Dr. Ruhukana Rugunda has been under fire for faking the numbers of refugees in the settlements and camps within the Republic of Uganda. Where they we’re doubling and tripling the numbers of refugees in Kampala and West Nile. These figures and set-backs have clearly sent out a memo to the United Nations Organizations. As they have been active since March 2018.

On the 20th October 2018 this has been done by United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the OPM are now verifying the amounts of refugees. This is significant, since this will establish the real numbers and how many who is really there. The individuals and their fate is more important, than their numbers, but when they have cheated on it to get more donor funding. These numbers become more vital. So, that the donations and the grants to help out these individuals come to the right ones and not being eaten by government officials.

The numbers dropped on the 20th October 2018 are after a verification exercise done in Adjumani District, this being in Bidibidi settlement on the 16th October 2018. They we’re able to target what they estimate 85% of the population there. In Bidibidi verified a total of 203,392. That is not all, but shows to what extent the refugee crisis is.

While in Kampala: “the daily turnout continues to be very low despite additional efforts on mobilization. The verification site remained open on Saturday to allow students and others to be verified over the weekend. However, over the period of six days, only 1,583 individuals were verified, majority being Congolese. In light of the low attendance, the verification team has operated at reduced capacity and the final day has been agreed by OPM-UNHCR as Wednesday 24th October” (OPM-UNHCR VERIFICATION EXERCISE: Update, 20.10.2018).

Therefore, the total estimate with all this exercises since March 2018 to 20th October 2018. Which states: “The ongoing verification of refugees in Uganda that started on 1st March 2018, verified a total of 17,428 individuals last week bringing the total as of 20th October 2018 to 1,088,415” (OPM-UNHCR VERIFICATION EXERCISE: Update, 20.10.2018).

So the are margins of error are still there. But the real crunched numbers are there. As the UNCHR wants the truth, as they are trying to collect funding for the operations of the settlements. Since the Ugandan government also wants to secure the donations too. This is all part of that and validate the need for the refugees. The scandal could block the support and trust in the agencies and the rampant forgery of numbers earlier in the year. This exercise was needed to build trust. Now the accuracy is more likely there. They might still try to find a way to inflate it, but it will be harder. Because the base-numbers through the verification makes it harder.

This was needed because of the lie, the lie of the numbers. These are now shattered. Now, the reality is there. It is still a million refugees and they need help. Both in the present, but also for building their future. That perspective is needed. This is people who fled burning villages, militias and armies fighting each other. They need space and trust to grow and rebuild. These people are trying to build a home. That is what should be focus and giving them hope in a dire situation. They are not just numbers.

Even if this story has been about the baseline numbers of refugees in the republic. That is because of the OPM inflated numbers to cheat donors funds. To earn money on their tragedy. That shall not be forgotten. But in the same manner. We need to discuss, how we can give this people hope for a better tomorrow. Peace.

Bududa Landslide: Bosco’s Empty Promises to help the district since 2010!

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).

Today:

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.

Bududa Landslides: Who is really responsible for securing the land?

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.

To All Stakeholders: UNRA remains committed to its mandate (15.09.2018)

Solicitor General letter to UNRA: Sector Support Project v RSSVP Lot 1 – Civil Works for Upgrading of Rukungiri Kihihi-Ishasha / Kanungu Road (78,5km) to Bituminous Standard (14.09.2018)

Opinion: If the Cabinet scraps NMS and UNRA, what about the weird expenditures at the Presidential Affairs?

As the giant Cabinet of the Republic are planning to scrap Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) and National Medical Stores (NMS), that these are going back into their ministries. Because of how these two organizations has supposed wasted government funds and spending. The National Resistance Movement (NRM) knows the ordeal and the reasons for that, but they are instead scrapping the organizations, to keep the deals in-house and not as sole organization doing the operations as expert organizations for the government. That is why this will go back to Ministry of Works and Transport for UNRA and Ministry of Health for NMS. I have one more vital idea for the Cabinet members, but don’t expect them to so.

Today’s news:

The Cabinet has taken a decision to scrap Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) and National Medical Stores and transfer their mandate to the mother ministries to reduce wastage of resources. According to a source, the decision was taken in two meetings with the first held on August 20 and the last one on Monday last week. The source said President Museveni was unhappy with the UNRA performance, especially in the rural areas where roads are impassable yet it is where majority of votes for his NRM party are” (Andrew Bagala – ‘UNRA to be scrapped in merger of government agencies’ 03.09.2018 link: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/UNRA-to-be-scrapped-merger-government-agencies/688334-4740804-qvrsbnz/index.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter_DailyMonitor).

As these ideas are noble, but we know the reasons in itself. More direct control and cannot use the organizations as faults for the corrupt, graft and embezzlement anymore. The Cabinet are thinking this will stop this, but they are just making sure the deals and agreements made with tenders and buying, will be happening in-house and not by experts in the same regard as today. That is the real reaction to what is happening with this.

My advise would be find ways to merger and move responsibility from the Office of the President, State House and Office of the Prime Minister. As these could be moved to their representative ministries, as the Youth Livelihood Programme should end elsewhere. The budgets for the Residential District Commissioners are put under the President, this should be put Minister of Local Government and not under the President.

Like what does the budget of Internal Security Organization and External Security Organization lay under neath Office of the President, as this should be under the Ministry of Internal Affairs or Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

As well as all the development expenditure that is parts of the Office of the President and Office of the Prime Minister. Both of these should have been put under fitting expertise of certain ministries, as the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Education and Sports, Ministry of Works and Transport and so on. As well, as the ones fitting Ministry of Internal Affairs and Ministry of Internal Affairs. All these ministries could have connected these projects under the State House, Office of the President and Office of the Prime Minister.

Like what does the Uganda AIDS Commission does under the Office of the President, shouldn’t this be under the Ministry of Health? Why does the Office of the Prime Minister have the Disaster Preparedness and not the Ministry of Internal Affairs or the Ministry of Local Government?

This is just what I wonder about, because, if the Cabinet is serious about scrapping UNRA and NMS, why are not the government looking into the weird expenditures at the Office of the Prime Minister, State House or even the Office of the President?

They should really ask and wonder. If they are not doing this as a political stunt, as we know how corrupt these enterprises are, but will it make a difference to cut out the middle-man? Peace.

Byandala aquitted for the Project 1034 Mukono-Katosi Scandal: Thieving is apparently legal!

The Project 1034 Mukono-Katosi Scandal that is going as far back as 2009-2010, but the official starting point of the project was in 2014, as the scheduled end of the project was in 2017. This was the works of the Ministry of Works Abraham Byandala. He got siphoned money to a non-existent company, which didn’t work on others than imaginary stuff for years. The bills that the state totally paid was up to 24 billion Ugandan Shillings. That this man was in-charge of and took over the years.

This scandal isn’t new, the documentation between Byandala, the companies and Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) is all there, but that wasn’t good enough for him to suffer. That is because of his connection and that he is married to the upper-echelon of society. If he was an ordinary con-man he would linger in jail, but since he wears a suit and is connected. He could walk like nothing after a prolonged case and now they are clearing him of the charges. That happens as it has gone years since he ate this money and the state is ready to move on.

That the National Resistance Movement (NRM) are above the laws is proven with judgment like these. As the former Minister made up a company, siphoned money into the accounts of the make belief and made paperwork for possible road-works, without anything being delivered. The state paid for nothing and was still billed. They paid for ghosts and an a mirage made by the Minister.

This is like a really bad scam of the people and whoever carried the footed bills for company, which was non-existent. That shows the nerve of the NRM, as they are charging whoever oppose them, but their own thieves they are allowing freedom.

That Byandala has stolen billions of shillings is known. This was done while he was in power and he did it with others. As they tried all tricks to hide it, but it leaked and hit the public. As the prices of the road between Mukono-Katosi becoming to huge. The state was continuing to paying for a projects that lasted forever. That is why this is are real injustice. The people didn’t get the roads and their funds was taken by a Minister appointed by the President.

That is why this is insulting. As Byandala is walking away without a scratch, without an inch of pain and could take the billions like nothing. Peace.

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