Opinion: The IPOD is a lost cause

The Interparty Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) who has gotten major funding from Democratic Government Facility (DGF) and Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy (NIMD). DGF is bound to only last a few more months until December 2022. While NIMD has ceased funding after IPOD has failed to get all parties to sign a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The lasted MoU lasted until February 2022.

Now in September 2022 the IPOD Secretariat might feel at a loss. The ideal of IPOD might seem positive and worthwhile. Nevertheless, the results and the political forum has been more a sideshow than actually being fruitful. The majority party and ruling regime, National Resistance Movement (NRM) has used it more to poach the opposition and have publicity stunts. While the opposition like Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and National Unity Platform (NUP) haven’t seen any sort of dialogue or proper platform to make difference. That’s why they rather distance themselves from it.

The IPOD was maybe made with the best interest in 2010. NIMD and DGF funded the organization to have a place and possibility to meet. IPOD could have been a safe space for the political parties, but we all know this haven’t been in the interests of the Head of State or the NRM. The NRM wants to either intimidate, strike or corrupt their opposition. That’s why President Museveni has himself promised to destroy and get rid of all opposition.

Now in 2022 and after 12 years of IPOD. The NRM is losing one of the few places where Museveni could actually meet the real opposition. Not the “opposition” who is already leaning towards him or co-operating with him. No, the ones defying him or wanting to remove him isn’t now a part of the IPOD.

That NIMD is saying it won’t fund IPOD before NUP and FDC joins is a failure. The parties themselves has decide. They have seen the works of IPOD and what it has “achieved”. The organization don’t have that much to show for it. This is why they cannot even write an MoU, which they cannot agree upon.

The NRM might feel like this is a “victory”. They can point at NUP and FDC. However, that is a very hallow “victory”. The FDC and NUP has done this for various of reasons, but it is clear that the NRM isn’t an honest actor. That’s why activists, candidates and associates connected to the NUP or FDC are either kept incommunicado, arrested or even extra judicially killed. The authorities are monitoring the opposition more than they look into crooks. Therefore, the political prisoners and prisoners of conscience is a well-known phenomenon in the Republic. That’s all because of their affiliation and who they are associated with.

If the NRM really wanted IPOD to work. They would have properly invested in it and not only used it for photo-ops ahead of polls and elections. While also using it more directly to create positive headlines Nevertheless, NIMD and DGF maybe want more for their coins. They want them to actually have inclusive dialogue and talks in a political forum. That sort of thing seems like a thing of the past.

It is not the fault of NUP or the FDC for the end of IPOD. The killer of IPOD is Museveni. Like everyone else it goes back to him. It is his choices and orders, which are reflected here. He is getting his will and certainly not … get a free lunch. IPOD is only destroyed and losing value, as there are no real progress or talks of substance. When an organization like IPOD becomes sub-standard forum and losing all value.

President Museveni cannot be happy with this, because this just shows how flawed his multi-party democracy is. When the one forum he had where all elected parties could meet and talk is now ceasing to operate. The funding of this organization is stopped. Because, FDC and NUP isn’t accepting the conditions of the current MoU. That’s a failure and lacking the general understanding of what it should be.

If Museveni wanted this… things would have been different. Nevertheless, expect the NRM to deflect it or blame the parties for not signing on. Because, why should they sign on to something… when it gives them nothing and only legitimizing the regime. IPOD only gives political currency to the NRM without giving the other parties anything worthwhile. The others are just getting an opportunity to see Museveni close by and be there in his presence. That’s a futile enterprise and if the NIMD see that is an asset. They should just continue to pursuit it. However, it isn’t the product that its portrayed on the tin. It is something else and the ones dismissing it has all the reasons to do so. Peace.

Karamoja: Hon. Agnes Nandutu, over 2400 has died of starvation, but it doesn’t sound like it…

 

NUP taking food to Karamoja is just for cheap popularity. The government does things systematically. By the time NUP sent food, there was already food in Karamoja. NUP can’t even do 0.00% of what we did in Karamoja” (…) “There is no longer a crisis in Karamoja because we are now in charge. We have a strategic plan to ensure that there is food security in the region” – Hon. Agnes Nandutu (31.07.2022).

The Minister of Karamoja Affairs Hon. Agnes Nandutu is finally speaking out on NBS FaceOff on the food insecurity and army operation in the sub-region. However, she isn’t saying anything substantial and only comes of as arrogant. Certainly the little time she has had as an MP and Minister has changed her. The Independent NRM leaning MP is showing her true character now.

The state has ensured that over 2400 people has died of starvation. A crisis that was forewarned for months and while the UPDF had army operations there. The state had the ability and the time to help the people of Karamoja. Instead it chose to bring violence and possibly make it more insufferable. The Minister is taking anything to account here.

The National Unity Platform (NUP) is doing what they can and within their means. They are not a government and neither does they have the opportunity to seize or seek funds as such. The NRM and the government should do more. Agnes Nandutu her government is responsible for the deaths of civilians not only in the miliary operation, but of over 2400 civilians who died of starvation. This is showing how the state lacked the vision and the ability to organize help in time. That’s why people is dying and needlessly so. They are not a priority. If they had been, the monies had been scheduled in a supplementary budget like the funds for the UPDF operation in Karamoja. So, everyone knows what is important in the Republic.

Just as the Minister said that on TV today.

Just a few days ago… this was reported about the situation:

– According to latest updates reported by district officials to the World Food Programme, the total number of fatalities in 2022 caused by the current food insecurity crisis in Karamoja is 2,465.

– Most of the fatalities were children and elderly.

– The last Acute Food Insecurity IPC revealed that approximately 518,000 people are in urgent need of food assistance in Karamoja, with almost 428,000 individuals facing crisis levels of food insecurity (IPC3) and almost 90,000 in emergency levels (IPC4) in the period between March and July 2022. Also, 91,600 children and 9,500 pregnant women are projected to be acutely malnourished for the period February 2022-January 2023” (ECHO – Uganda (Karamoja subregion) – Acute food insecurity and malnutrition (DG ECHO, IPC, WFP, UNICEF, FEWSNET, local media) (ECHO Daily Flash of 26 July 2022).

It doesn’t sound like the crisis is over. The food insecurity is still at massive levels and the amounts of deaths only signals that. Each individual should be counted for and be addressed. This are the short-coming of the state. Who is more eager to usher in violence and come with big-guns. Than to actually come to people with aide or help. That is the gist here…

The Minister blames outside parties for help, which never can be able to sufficiently support or help the needy. However, they are at least giving and without hesitation. The state had the funds and the machinery to do so. The over 2400 people wouldn’t have died. However, these are now dead and it happened on your watch. That shows how the Ministry of Karamoja Affairs failed and also how the Office of the Prime Minister has failed as well. Since they are both implicated in this and has disaster preparedness as portfolio.

Agnes Nandutu, you belong back on TV, because your certainly not fit to be a minister. You cannot even muster the courage or care for the ones in dire need. Karamoja has been burning and starving. While you have remained silent and inactive. That has cost lives and your politicking over beans and posho given to the starving. Your a massive disappointment and would have been a feature on ‘Point Blank’ if your were still running it. Peace.

Karamoja: Nakut Faith, Woman MP Napak – Food Crisis in Karamoja: A Focus on What Needs to be Done (10.07.2022)

Karamoja: The sub-region is starving on empty promises…

Museveni promised that food insecurity in Karamoja would be dealt with by increasing fast maturing seedlings and an increase in relief by the Office of the Prime Minister. In a bid to build a self-sustaining household plan, the MPs proposed that the government avails agricultural inputs such as two tractors per constituency to facilitate agriculture on a large scale. The President however, disagreed with them saying that two tractors per constituency cannot support commercial agriculture. Museveni proposed that 5 tractors per constituency would be more plausible. He further challenged MPs to engage in large scale farming if they are to empower their communities and drive the country into middle income status. He promised to bring in experts to share in their best practices so that the members would get first hand information from them” (President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday evening held a special meeting with MPs-elect from Northern and Karamoja region to discuss pertinent issues affecting social and economic transformation, 20.04.2021).

The Government has a Minister designated for Karamoja affairs and has around 17 MPs from the Karamoja Sub-Region. However, all of these representatives and people being in high office isn’t delivering anything.

The news of starvation and famine shouldn’t shock anyone. The warnings from FEWSNET and other monitoring bodies like FAO has stated this too. The President has called the Karamoja green and pleasant. Nevertheless, that is far from the truth.

We know that the army, the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) have been operating and causing friction. As it is extra judicial killing and kicking people out of their homes. They are deliberately evicting and making people into internally displaced people. So, that the places of which they are burning villages and killing civilians. Is scaring the farmers and the people tending the land from cultivating food. This is done under the banner of “Usalalama Kwa Wote” to stop cattle-rustlers but also ensure the territories of mineral riches gets to the right “investor”. Therefore, this insecurity with the forewarned lack of food security was doomed to cause havoc on the sub-region.

Karamoja has been bleeding and suffering as a consequence of the military actions. The Sub-Region hasn’t been invested in. There has been creations of districts and electoral gerrymandering. However, there is only one referral hospital in Moroto. There is no real changes and the UN organizations comes in with aide and salvation every time things are dire. The President and his government isn’t clearly invested or concerned about the starvation or hunger in Karamoja. If the state did… they have seen this issue returning again and again. People are dying and the local government bodies should do better. The Office of the Prime Minister and the State Minister for Karamoja Affairs lack funds or mental minds to put programs that can save lives. Since this is a reoccurring event. That’s what is tragic here…

What is tragic is that the hunger and starvation was warned by FEWSNET in April this year. Which stated this: “For many poor Karamoja households, below-average purchasing power will continue constraining access to food from market purchases. Around August/September, the start of harvesting in Karamoja is expected to support improved access to food from own consumption and income from crop sales and reduce the number of households facing consumption gaps, though Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are expected to persist at the area level even during the post-harvest period. Overall, widespread Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are now expected to persist through at least September, with worst-affected households facing Emergency (IPC Phase 4) outcomes” (FEWS NET, 06.04.2022).

We can sadly assess that the warnings of a IPC Phase 4 is now happening. The President promised already last year to secure food security for Karamoja sub-region. However, we easily that never happened. Now the World Food Programme and others has to cover the basics. They have to come with the food and the aide, because the state is a shortfall. Neither does it have the organization or institutions in order to help. The state has the army and the ability to kill civilians. However, it doesn’t have the ability to save lives or ensure food security. That is clear for anyone and is a sign of what is a priority in Kampala. As the Karamjoa sub-region isn’t only bleeding now, but starving as well. Peace.

The Dead Silence: The two MPs – Sseginya and Ssewanyana – Bail dismissed after nearly 300 days in prison

UPDATE: The Court of Appeal has dismissed the bail appeal of Kawempe North MP Muhammad Ssegirinya and Makindye West MP Allan Sewanyana. Instead, the court has directed that the state expeditiously fixes their capital offences for trial” (NTV Uganda, 29.06.2022)

UPDATE: Court of Appeal has dismissed the bail application of Kawempe North MP Muhammad Ssegirinya and Makindye West MP Allan Sewanyana. The Court has instead directed the State to expeditiously fix their capital offences for trial” (Daily Monitor, 29.06.2022).

The Two MPs has been in the spotlight and behind bars for close to 300 (296 days since the summons of the DCI) days now. As the DCI summoned them in September 2021. Now in end of June 2022 the MPs are far from freed and the case is still pending. This shows how it is botched case and a political one, which nobody wants to touch.

The National Unity Platform (NUP) MPs are targeted and charged for involvement in the Masaka murders last year. The panga or machete murders, which went on for a month and killed 18 people. The killers and the ones who was behind it was never taken in. However, the NUP MPs has become the scapegoats, because there is no proof or evidence of involvement. If the state or the prosecution had proof of the allegations and the charges. The state would have produced witnesses, affidavits and shown the conspiracy to a court. However, no one is doing anything about it.

This is just a travesty and injustice. The victims and their families isn’t getting justice served either. The ones that was murdered are used as a shield to keep these MPs behind bars. They are detained and charged for something I doubt that can ever prove, because I have a hard time believing these men would ever conspire to do such a thing.

Heck, Mr. Update was busy finding donors and help in the Netherlands to upgrade the hospital and medical equipment in his district. At the time of the murders. He tweeted about that and his dreams for the hospital. So, if you have forgotten about that. It is time to revisit the timelines and the stories around the time.

That’s why I know this case, which has soon been pending since September 2021 and is still ongoing. Seemingly there is no way out. It just shows how the state is going after its dissidents and pinning crimes on them, which they didn’t do. Peace.

Opinion: Acheng should explain the allegations against NUP SG Rubongoya…

Police in Kampala have today arrested Mr. David L. Rubongoya, General Secretary of NUP

and his Driver Agaba Godwin Joseph on allegations of threatening violence. It’s alleged that on 26/05/2022 at about 1200 hrs while in Omoro County Mr Rubongoya using Motor vehicle reg. no.UAS 490Z Toyota land cruiser white in colour threatened Hon. Acheng Ruth vide Omoro SD reference 19/26/5/2022. They are pending transfer to Omoro” (100.2 Galaxy FM Zzina!, 22.06.2022).

Today there was news that National Unity Platform (NUP) Secretary General David Lewis Rubongoya was first arrested around Wandegeya and later re-arrested on new charges, which is alleging him to threaten Minister of Health, Ruth Acheng. Therefore, after being released on bonds or bail this evening.

The Minister of Health should explain herself. Even release an affidavit. Since, this seems like a political charge and nor a sincere. The Minister has a heavy security detail around her. She is never travelling alone. While the NUP SG doesn’t have it similar. That’s why his easily to arrest across the city. Which is why the authorities could arrest him and keep him detained so easy.

This just shows what the state is capable of doing. They can easily arrest high ranking officials in the opposition and they don’t even need proof of the allegations. Not that this is anything new. That’s why people are lingering behind bars for “inciting violence” and such. This is what the authorities does and it clear. It is open intimidation and crack-down on the opposition.

What we should need to know is what the Minister has done and why the charges is suddenly pinned on the NUP SG. That is needed now and she should address the allegations to the public. Because, the opposition leader shouldn’t be charged willy-nilly. Neither should anyone else be apprehended or charged without proof. This is why the Minister needs to explain it to the public. I have feeling she feels above that or any critique.

However, that he was taken into custody and so suddenly. Make you wonder what’s the reason and why the state did it today. Certainly, this tale is far from over. As the NUP SG was released hours later, but the case will now be pending. However, we should never expect anything to be address or any substantial trial. Since, it is all a mockery and an attempt to silence an opposition leader. Peace.

Karamoja: The NRM got money for the army, but not for the starving…

The recent surge in cattle theft and cross-border conflicts in Minister Kasiaja: Karamoja sub-region issues will continue to be addressed. In a recent supplementary budget, Government provided Shs.112.5 Billions to facilitate the UPDF to carry out operations” (91.2 Crooze FM, 14.06.2022).

More than half a million people are going hungry in Karamoja – Report” (…) “A new report indicates that the Karamoja region is undergoing a crisis of food insecurity and may slump into famine if there are no measures to reverse the situation immediately. The report on integrated food security phase classification also shows that Moroto and Kaabong districts are in a critical phase of acute malnutrition. While receiving the report, the government committed to implementing some of the short-term recommendations” (NTV Uganda, 14.06.2022).

We know that the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) launched Operation Usalama Kwa Wote in July 2021 and they have continued ever since. The UPDF and the authorities have burned villages and killed civilians in their manhunt for cattle-rustlers. However, there been no oversight or proof of their operation really stopping violence or the murders for cattle in the region.

The only thing that has been shown is that the government has killed around 700 civilians and there is no direct justification or proof of the need to do so. There is no direct proof of the use of firearm or report on the use of the weapon. People are just killed and dying because the UPDF said so.

In this regard… the budget priorities are very clear. As the Karamoja is getting funds for the operations of the UPDF in the region. However, there is nothing scheduled or funds to cover or help the people in need. Karamoja is possibly getting into famine and people are now going hungry. That is a sign that the government has failed this people. They are now in the hands of the government.

The UPDF seems to be more important than the civilians it is defending. Since, it has funds and operational means, but the public don’t have what they need. Neither does the state has the mechanisms or the institutions to help them. That’s why they are starving and not getting help. This shortfall has to be covered by either a UN Organizations, CSOs or NGOs. Because, they have ability and funds to come to their aide. Since, the state don’t pay it no mind and would only care if it was profitable.

Karamoja have been targeted and the army has intervened as it has… because the minerals and mining operations needs land. The villages and the people have to flee lands and the use of former methods is to shield their operation. Now it is even more evident as Karamoja is getting money for the army, but not the people in need. This has been forecasted by FEWSNET and others. It isn’t like it happened without any forewarning.

Karamoja was in a danger-zone and the army operations there wouldn’t make it any better. No, the state has addressed its own needs, but the needs of the population. The region has burned because of the army and the soldiers haven’t helped the farmers or the cattle-keepers. Instead it has possibly worsened it and created more internally displaced people. Therefore, it is striking that the UPDF gets funds, as a reported half a million will live in food insecurity and live in hunger.

I don’t see the state doing much or taking action about it. This will most likely spiral into a famine. Because, the state doesn’t have mechanisms or the willpower to do what is necessary now. That’s because the ministries and the institutions haven’t been invested into and neither is there a working protocol for cases like these. That’s for the simple reason: The International Community and their aid organizations are the shortfall for the inept and corrupt elites of Kampala.

That’s why the Minister of Karamoja will do nothing and neither will anyone associated with it. They are awaiting orders from the Office of the Prime Minister and the State House. Which will wait and we shouldn’t expect any miracles. The army is stationed here and they will not bring hope to a troubled region. A region that has burned and now it’s soon starving too. It doesn’t get a minute of peace or hope. Peace.

Amuru Land Grab: The Apaa Village evictions is never ending story…

Legislators from the Acholi sub-region were blocked from accessing the Apaa township, bordering Adjumani and Amuru districts. The eight MPs from the region were in Apaa on a fact-finding mission following an arson attack, displacement, and reports of gross abuse of human rights over persistent land wrangles. These were instead met by police officers and army men heavily armed with teargas and guns who blocked their access” (NBS Television, 10.06.2022).

This here story goes back in time. So far back that we are now soon two decades since the state gave the land to the investor. Since then the Apaa village has seen the forceful state, evictions and other sorts of tactics of the state to takeover the land. In the Northern Uganda land has been taken and given to “industrial” purposes like the plantations for the Kakira Factory for instance. Therefore, the ideas of taking land for “development” isn’t new. However, the state doesn’t give anything in return to the evicted and only creates more internally displaced persons. Which is another crisis in the making.

The Apaa village and Apaa community deserves better. They have been victims, which shown by this quotation from a report in 2014.

The case of land in Apaa Village (Amuru District) illustrates the suspicions of local people concerning the acquisition of large tracts of land. In 2005, when people were still living in the camps, land was given to Bruce Martin from South Africa who was investing in game reserves for sports hunting. When resistance from the community intensified, it is claimed that the government changed tactics and asked the neighbouring district of Adjumani to contest ownership and claim that this land actually lies within Adjumani District. The Adjumani District authorities then passed a council resolution giving the land away to the ‘investor’. Some participants in this research argued that the boundaries between the two districts of Adjumani and Acholi are clear, and that some district politicians are manufacturing the boundary conflict. During an interview with the District Chairperson of Adjumani, he showed a map of the area in dispute claiming the area belongs to Adjumani District” (Otim & Mugisha, P: 8, 2014).

What is striking is that this case has been a running case in the 9th and 10th Parliament. Now, it returns to prominence in the 11th Parliament too. That means the Apaa village never been resolved, neither has the rights of the Apaa community really been heard. Secondly, the former MPs and Local Councillors haven’t been able to voice it up. This because it is a stalemate and the land is still up for grabs.

We know in 2018 that Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) did some evictions of people in the area. This was done with the support of the army or the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF). That just shows that the District Land Board and Area Land Board wasn’t able to petition or have a say. Therefore, the directives and the promise of land was already settled without considering the implications locally.

That’s maybe why the MPs are trying to investigate it. They are MPs representing the Acholi sub-region, but still not allowed to access the area. That says something about the what is going on and possibly could be furthering escalations. We can be rest assured that the State House has directed it and is silently behind it all. As they have promised the land for the investor.

It is tragic that this is happing to Apaa village. Wonder, if the President would have been so kind to an “investor” if it happened to his farm in Rwaiktura farm in Kiruhura district. As a Namibian “investor” was given land and for “development” purposes in the greater Mbarara area. Because, that would be the same and he would have to idly move without any compensation. That would have been a similar act of land grab, which is what’s happening here in Apaa village in the Acholi sub-region. Peace.

Reference:

Otim, David & Mugisha, Police Charles – Saferworld: ‘Beyond the reach of the hoe: The struggle for land and minerals in Northern Uganda’ (April 2014)

Justice Forum (JEEMA): Legal Statement on the Continous Beleagurment of the JEEMA HQTRS by the Uganda Police Force and its Sister Security Agencies (09.06.2022)

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