Uganda: Major National Review Recommends Ways of Ending Hunger in Uganda (27.07.2017)
I write what I like.
“Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.” – Harry Truman (Special Message to the Congress on the Internal Security of the United States, August 8, 1950).
Certainly, the National Resistance Movement and their government doesn’t seem to care how they look. None of their pledges or even written letters to the Local Government matters. Not even in the midst of famine and starvation. You would think that a government and their agencies had sense of keeping their promises to the ones who needs the most basic in life – as their plates are empty after droughts and bad governance. Therefore, the NRM has no sense, when the Bukedea district are reacting that their promised food relief is less; than promised from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) Dr. Ruhakana Ruganda and his department. Certainly, this is disrespecting the people and the citizens of Bukedea. Take a look!
“Mike Okwii, the district secretary for health and social services wants the matter investigated expeditiously before they can distribute what they have received. “According to the letter signed by the commissioner of disaster and preparedness, Bukedea was supposed to get 800 bags of posho and 400 bags of beans. But the district has received only 400 bags of posho and 50 bags of beans, which is shocking. So for us at the district leadership, we have decided not to distribute this food. Not until when OPM delivers all the food items”, he said. Okwii confirmed that as of now, nobody has given them any response as to why the Office of the Prime Minister delivered consignments that have fewer supplies that what was declared. “Nobody has given us the right answer why they delivered less food compared to what is on the delivery note. The minister for Teso Affairs is going to follow the matter because you can imagine the minister came to Bukedea to allocate food to the sub-counties. Little did she know that she allocated food which is not even there”, he added (URN, 2017).
The reason for the disrespect is staggering as the reports of termites and insects to survive, proves the lacking governance and upkeep of institutions. Also, the agricultural sector has been left behind, as the irrigation and thinking of how use water in farming. Certainly, the food relief is a way of making sure the people eat while they wait for next season and possible time to start farming again. These in regions that has been hard hit and the government had been warned by FAO and FEWSNET, so these reports should have forewarned them.
“Food is required besides the medication. If someone is sick, the first treatment is food; medicine works well on a well fed body,” said Dr. Chebitai” (New Vision, 2017). Therefore, with the knowledge that the state still has the capacity to not deliver what so needed and necessary is not only a theft, but taken food of the plates of those who starve. That the NRM has the audacity to this proves how they can easily neglect their citizens. Even taking away their first treatment, that is the level of disappointment, the ruling regime can to do their own. Peace.
New Vision – ‘Parliament staff donate food items to Teso’ (07.05.2017) link:http://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1453187/parliament-staff-donate-food-items-teso
There are something deeply wrong, so sincerely wrong when the citizens doesn’t get needed food relief and have to eat termites and insects to survive. This is the state of the famine now in Teso Region, in Katakwi, Amuria, Bukedea and Kaberamaido district.
“Mr Robert Okitoi, the Amuria District council chairperson, said “The situation is bad, people are now eating termites. I think the government should just declare a state of emergency for the regions of Teso, Karamoja and Lango.” (NTV Uganda, 01.06.2017). On the 26th April 2017 the Parliament has passed a motion to declare ‘State of Emergency’ in Uganda, but the President and the State House has not done anything about it.
Still, a local farmer wrote a piece to the Chimp Reports that has some valuable assessments:
“The current hunger in Teso has largely been attributed to drought, while this assertion may hold some truths; there is increasingly evidence that the Ministry of Teso Affairs has not done its part. Hunger in Teso is as a result of both internal and external factors. For many years, the region has been experiencing declining productivity and this was recently worsened by drought. For districts like Ngora, Bukedia and Kumi, land fragmentation has heavily affected productivity” (…) “Clearly besides drought, Teso food systems are in a crisis and our expectation was that the Ministry of Teso affairs working with other stakeholders would work to address this problem. Our view is that hunger should be among the ‘affairs’ that Ministry of Teso Affairs should be engaged in.Agriculture remains a major livelihood for our people in Teso and therefore we require urgent response from Ministry of Teso Affairs on its plans to help our people get out of the current hunger crisis”(Akorikin, 2017).
This here proves that the drought is just the last piece of the straw in a bigger problem, that even the State Ministry has not been in-charge and had the oversight of the Teso Region. There are lacking the support they need. Still, the government still have done something now and then. Like this one relief to Kaberamaido district: “Kaberamaido district has finally received 12, 000 kilograms of relief food from government valued at Shillings 33 million. Kaberamaido is among the districts battling a severe food crisis resulting from crop failure due to prolonged drought. The most affected areas in the district are Ochero, Bululu, Kobulubulu, Kaberamaido, and Apapai sub counties. With over 5,000 households facing starvation representing about half of the total population in the district, the 12,000 kilograms of flour delivered is far from solving the food crisis” (Odongo, 2017). That means on the 30th April 2017, the government delivered 12.000kgs of flour that is estimated to be 231,000 citizens in the district alone. Therefore, you don’t have to be rocket scientist to know that this food relief to the one district isn’t enough…
“The minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness, Hilary Onek, has offered a bit of advice to the hunger-stricken; stop selling the little food you have left. Onek said the weather has become so unreliable for Ugandans to hold on to the little hope for better yields. “They should consider family needs first before selling all the food. Districts like Lira had a lot of food but it [food] was sold to traders from Kenya, South Sudan and even Rwanda because people want money,” he said in an interview. Asked whether government would consider banning the sale of food to outsiders, Onek said they wouldn’t, in the spirit of the East African Community. “That is not an option we will consider; we only want people to behave responsibly to take care of their family needs before they sell all the food,” he said” (UMDF, 2017).
So now the Minister Onek gives advice to the impoverished citizens, so that they are careful with their food stocks, as the relief of the districts are not up-to par. Therefore, that they didn’t stock the extra foods and now they tell the families to take of it. The government could have used their resources and built food-stocks, instead of living hand to mouth. The small-time farmers in the Teso-Region certainly, needs more than fear of selling what they don’t have, they need support and food relief.
The state also has to facilitate the farmers, not in Operation Wealth Creation or Jerry-Can irrigation, but real projects, storage of food-stocks and recreate farmers Co-Ops in the districts and sub-counties to collectively earn and work together to get better yields and also productivity in general. But that isn’t a scheme and way the National Resistance Movement can corrupt or thieve the funds from. Therefore, that will not happen and is the reason why the similar institutions are gone during the decades of President Museveni.
The Teso Region and these district needs help, the man-made famine together with the drought that has worsen it. So the Government has to charge and actually make a difference, not just thieve monies away from Kampala. Peace.
Akorikin, Francis – ‘OPINION: Government Should Review the Relevance of Ministry of Teso Affairs’ (05.05.2017) link: https://www.chimpreports.com/opinion-government-should-review-the-relevance-of-ministry-of-teso-affairs/
Odongo, Ronald – ‘Kaberamaido Receives 12,000 KGs of Food Relief’ (30.04.2017) link: https://ugandaradionetwork.com/story/govt-delivers-12000-kilograms-of-posho-worth-ugx-33m-to-famine-hit-residents
Uganda Media Development Foundation (UMDF) – ‘HILARY ONEK TO HUNGER VICTIMS: DON’T SELL FOOD’ (01.05.2017) link: https://www.umdf.or.ug/?q=content/hilary-onek-hunger-victims-don%E2%80%99t-sell-food
“A dictator who is elected 5 times. That must be a wonderful dictator. That must be a special one” – President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (Al Jazeera Interview on the Talk to Al Jazeera, 29.04.2017).
First of President Museveni isn’t in his 5th Term, rewriting the history as they have deleted the coup d’etat in 1986 as well, as the period into the first election of 1996. Therefore, he has decade most people tries to forget, where he was “unelected” and power-grabbing. If you then count on the time and such, the right amount of terms would be that he is currently in his 7th !
Well, enough of the sadness of how many terms the 31 year long ruling and wonderful dictator has, today he had to cast his spell on the Labor Day and show his fury of his lazy citizens. Not that he is that hardworking himself, as he eats of the plate himself and empty the state reserves to buy private planes. But that is another discussion!
Therefore, here is the key parts of the speech that is important for me to discuss!
“On the issue of the shortage of food in some areas that hit us last season, my advice is to use relief very carefully for two reasons. The first reason is that relief can kuremaza (disorient) our people away from production to, instead, get in the habit of waiting for relief. Secondly, Ugandans should know that when we are eating relief food, we should know that we are chewing a road, a school or a health centre. Therefore, relief should only be for the really unavoidable situations. It should not be used by politicians for cheap popularity or frivolously (let us take the government food since it is available) or even for corruption by government officials (get the food for selling claiming that it is for relief). Finally, I would like to say that work is the only way to get people out of poverty. I, therefore, urge all Ugandans to develop a positive attitude to work. The NRM government will continue to provide an enabling environment for establishing businesses and creation of employment” (Museveni, 2017).
That he has problem that people are asking and needing food relief is beyond me. Secondly calling them disoriented because of the lacking yields, the burning fire of the sun and the result of the El Nino. But that is just me. That the State and Government could have made sure the rainwater was saved and have more structure so they wasn’t starving in the first place. But then again, Mr. President is never at fault, always casting blame on someone else. Therefore, the citizens is to blame for lacking rains and yields, and also lacking government policies and will to implement some sort agency that support the farmers.
The popularity he speaks of it the ones that want the President to act and declare an emergency, as the volatile and dire situation, as so many people in the hurt districts are eating less a meal a day! Still, he claims people are trading and selling the food without giving it away for relief. Like they sometimes do with clothes, the secondhand rule that some is given, but other is traded away for profits on the secondhand markets. If it was so, shouldn’t the president set his standard and authority to stop this men and woman from thieving the food from the ones in need? I guess he is lazy and disoriented, eating of the licensed roads and royalties of oil prospects instead of really feeding the ones in need.
This isn’t about poverty itself, it is the core mismanagement of his 7th term government, the lack of institution and the lack agricultural oversight, as the jerrycans into prosperity is a lie. That the starvation and famine is about attitude and not about lacking government oversight. If it was the latter and not the first, he was to blame; since he is the kingpin on the top and should have acted before the famine occur, but that had happen if he was legitimate leader. Nevertheless, he is self-made, self-righteous, individual who doesn’t care how ruthless and inconsiderate he is. This wasn’t words uttered for the betterment of the Republic of Uganda, it was to wash to hands of his sins and walk away from the problems. That because the famine and the food insecurity was made of lazy Ugandans and not because of drought…
Well, the wonderful dictator has hands in the state reserves and dislike that he cannot expand his ranch as much usual, pay of his daughters travels expenses or Lady Janet luxurious footwear. Who knows where all the confidential funds go, but certainly not drip-drop/bottle irrigation scheme. Certainly, this President isn’t worried about district roads, which is nearly impossible to travel through in Abletong on anywhere else for that matter. So when he says that the public is eating of roads and other infrastructure projects when they are starving during droughts and famines. Shows little mercy, this little despot with no empathy… it is gone with all the souls he has captured and stolen their future from by staying in power, I guess.
That President Museveni trying to put a spell on the people for trying to survive in hard-times, in times of tribulations and drought, as the state as struggling to give them a decent food relief. The man in charge is saying they are the reason for lacking roads and infrastructure projects because of that! Than, he also says the ones who stands firm in Parliament, asking for him to humble himself and stand down. To beg for mercy and help, to gain extra support and tell that he has mismanaged the Republic with a “State of Emergency” proves true leadership. They want their leader to take responsibility!
If he was truly elected 5 times, wouldn’t he offer more to the ones that he needed their support? Alas, it isn’t so, because he knows he rigs and put fear into the public… instead of having their real support and getting their votes. If he had so, he might have showed some flair and said he would help them because it was his duty. Not that the people are eating of the infrastructure budget.
Me translating so anyone really understand what he is understating in his speech today:“You lazy bastards are eating of government money because you are starving, you should be able to dig roots and eat rats, not eat of the state reserves. The sun didn’t burn that hard and you didn’t collect enough water with your bare hands. While I am driving 30 cars convoys and flying overseas to be a VIP. How dare you insult these foreign investors by eating my road money, aye?”. That is what you can take from the speech of this wonderful President and wonderful dictator Museveni! Peace.
Museveni, Yoweri Kaguta – ‘SPEECH ON THE OCCASION TO MARK INTERNATIONAL LABOUR DAY’ (01.05.2017) link: https://www.yowerikmuseveni.com/speech-occasion-mark-international-labour-day
I don’t know about you but this story should horrify you, as the concern of the citizens is clearly lacking, as their food insecurity is not well taken care off. The Ugandan Government clearly has maladministration or lacking resources, or only funds to Presidential Handshakes and the Presidential Jet. Because the districts of Lira, Dokolo and Alebtong isn’t getting their needs fulfilled. Just take a look!
“Government has delivered 5,400kgs of rice as relief for vulnerable communities faced with food shortage in Lango sub region” (…) “The relief supplies were delivered to Lira, Dokolo and Alebtong districts on Thursday evening. Each district will receive 1,800 kilograms of rice in the distribution. Lira district secretary for production Anthony Ojuka says the supplies will be distributed to extremely vulnerable families comprising of widows, persons living with HIV/Aids and the elderly, among others” (URN, 2017).
To put the whole food delivery and relief supplies into context!
Lira district: The Water Supply Atlas claims in Lira District that it lives about 442,128 people there (Water Uganda, 2017). The Water Supply Atlas claims in Dokolo District it lives about 196,591 people in the district (Water Uganda, 2017). The same Water Supply Atlas claims in Abletong District to be living there about 241,596 people (Water Uganda, 2017). A rough estimate would say that in these three district there are living about 879,000 people!!!
Out of the rice donated, let’s do some math:
Out of the 5,400kgs supposed to be divided on 879,000 people is equal to 0,00614kg per person. So it means measly 0,006kg rice each. That is not even a handful a piece. People are already struggling to eat and the sum of food is insane. If they would deliver anything serious, it should be tons upon tons.
Each district we’re getting 1,800kgs rice is really depressing, especially thinking of the amount of people living there. Just think about it 1,800kgs rice to be shared in Lira district on 442 thousand people, 1800kgs to the amound of 196 thousand people in Dokolo district, 1800kgs shared on 241 thousand people in Abletong district!
There is something seriously wrong with the math-squad of the NRM and their willing people to deliver this sort of relief. Therefore, the first relief to Lira district we’re more sincere: “On March 31, Lira received 25 tonnes of food supplies which was distributed to those in dire need of food” (URN, 2017). That is something fruitful and profound from the government. Still, a month ago, but proves some willingness to make the people survive. Since in Lira District there are 442,128 people and seriously 1,800kgs rice cannot be sustainable, that is measly meals for kingpins of the NRM leadership in Lira town, but not for the whole district even. The same can be said abot the Dokolo District and the Abletong distict!
This is a meager attempt of food relief, if they want to serious with the 879,000 living in this area, they better come with tons of rice and food supplies, that would last and would give more than a handful to chosen few. The NRM cannot be proud of this attempt of needed relief here. Better man-up and ask for State of Emergency, as the NRM cannot have enough funds or manpower to relieve the district in dire need food. Peace.
URN – ‘Govt delivers 5400 Kgs of relief food to Lango sub-region’ (29.04.2017) link:http://observer.ug/news/headlines/52605-govt-delivers-5400-kgs-of-relief-food-to-lango-sub-region.html
Uganda Travel Guide – ‘ Lira District’ link: http://www.ugandatravelguide.com/lira-district.html
Water Uganda – ‘Dokolo District’ (28.04.2017) link: http://www.wateruganda.com/index.php/reports/district/31
Water Uganda – ‘Abletong District’ (28.04.2017) link: http://www.wateruganda.com/index.php/reports/district/108
Water Uganda – ‘Lira District’ (28.04.2017) link: http://www.wateruganda.com/index.php/reports/district/45
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.
Well, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is apparently controlling the weather and steering the sun. However, the President doesn’t have those powers; he could have already built in systems that took care of water in the raining seasons and other irrigation schemes. This is special to hear, since he has been running the Republic for thirty years. That should be well known in the humid climate of Uganda. Well, here are parts of his speech in Dokolo on the International Woman’s Day!
“We cannot have famine in Uganda; that will not happen, even if it means diverting resources from other departments. We will do so although this will stop progress of key projects.” (…) “This little scare is good because it has waked us up to look at irrigation” (…) “As of now I have directed government departments to start working on solar powered pumps for irrigation and we have already experimented in some areas” (AYFAP, 2017).
Because the President Museveni cannot have listen well to Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS Net) who in their February 2017 edition wrote this about Uganda:
“During the February to June lean season, very poor households in Moroto and Napak are expected to face food consumption gaps and be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). In these areas, poorly distributed rainfall led to below-average production and very poor households depleted food stocks three months earlier than normal. Many are facing increasing difficulty purchasing sufficient food to meet their basic needs, as food prices are 30-40 percent above average. Food security is expected to improve to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in July with the green harvest” (…) “Pasture conditions and water resources in the cattle corridor are expected to remain below average through March due to above-average land surface temperatures. Conditions are likely to improve to near normal levels in April, alongside average seasonal rainfall. Conditions will then seasonally decline from June through September. Livestock body conditions and milk productivity are expected to follow the same trend” (FEWS Net, February 2017).
So the international body that follows the possible outbreaks of famine and early warnings is saying continued struggles in Karamoja and the cattle corridor of Isingiro. Even if the President is claiming there shouldn’t be trouble or a crisis. Because Museveni himself saying there cannot be famine in Uganda, still, it is not much his government of three decades has done to curb the problem. His government has not thought of technics of keeping water and irrigate the soil. Not too long ago he spent time and used jerry-cans and bicycle to irrigate the soil, which cannot be the solution for the lack of water in Karamoja or in Isingiro.
Back in 2011 to international media the President seemed to have a plan:
“The Ugandan government, according to Museveni, now plans to “exploit the potential of Karamoja”, a move which is expected to involve offering large tracts of Karamoja land to foreign corporations to grow biofuels, as well as designating more “conservation” and mining areas. This, say critics, will only increase conflict and hunger, force more young people to move into cities, and will destroy a rich way of life that has proved resilient and economically viable” (Vidal, 2011).
So 6 years later and new famine in the Karamoja, the plans of 2011 seems like they are hurting like the critics did say. So, the new plans might cause more havoc on the embattled people of Northern Uganda.
Therefore in his own making he has destroyed the livelihood and other issues in these volatile areas. The ones in Isingiro is different, as the pastoral and the cattle corridor, Seemingly, the Ugandan Republican can have famine, it is just President Museveni and his regime who cannot control or having the mechanism to contain it. They do not have the means or efforts to help the ones in need more than a few PR scoops of trucks and meals.
So President Museveni needs guidance and needs an incentive to earn on it. If so than this problems would be fixed, if there we’re some sort of scam or program that could be used so the people could get something and he could eat of their plate. If so, the irrigation scheme would be in place and the people wouldn’t starve. So please, conning people who cares about the famine in Uganda give a way for the petty thief to steal little some and people can get some. Peace.
African Youth Forum against Poverty (AYFAP) – ‘Famine Scare is Good, Says Museveni’ (08.03.2017) link: http://www.ayfapuc.org/index.php/2017/03/08/famine-scare-is-good-says-museveni/
FEWS NET – ‘Stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes likely to persist in bimodal areas until June harvest’ (February 2017) link: http://www.fews.net/east-africa/uganda/food-security-outlook/february-2017
Vidal, John – ‘Uganda: nomads face an attack on their way of life’ (27.11.2011) link: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/nov/27/uganda-nomad-farmers-climate-change
The Republic of Uganda has certain areas that have been affected with the drought and the lacking rain, which has affected the yields and output of food. The areas that has been in dire straits since El-Nino is in Teso, Karamoja and West Nile; these areas are in different stages, but all as worrying as the 1.6 million people are in a crisis situation, while 26% of all population or 9.3 million people are in a stressed situation. Let’s take a deep breath and look at the numbers coming from the offices of Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda. That has delivered this numbers and they are worrying.
“An estimated 1.6 million people (5% of the total population) are in Crisis situation. Those populations are found in Central 1 (0.58 million); Karamoja (0.12 million), Teso (0.2 million), East Central (0.38 million) and South Western (0.31 million) regions. This population has widening food consumption gaps with deteriorating dietary diversity and high malnutrition rates. They are found in Central 1 (0.58 million), Karamoja (0.12 million), Teso (0.2 million), East Central (0.38 million) and South Western (0.31 million) regions. The affected population includes the poorest households with poor food consumption score, low meal frequencies of up to 1 meal a day and low dietary diversity of less than 3 food groups. They have poor purchasing power as their incomes are low and no food stocks at household level. They are mainly coping through food assistance, remittances from relatives, begging, stealing food, wild food gathering and irreversible sale of productive assets to buy food. This population currently needs assistance to bridge the widening food consumption gaps and avert worsening malnutrition” (Office of the Prime Minister, 2017).
You can wonder what is the plan of the Republic when they know that the people have poor purchasing power, while the dwindling yields of the small-farming in these regions, doesn’t have the purchasing power of central regions. The trades and lacking production has equally hurt these citizens in Teso and Karamoja. Therefore the drought and lacking rain-fall has made the situation worse, as much as the rising refugee camps also getting aid and support from United Nation organization. While the republic have not galvanized agricultural structures and supported the citizens in dire need. This shows that the state has forgotten the reason for its existence. But there are more!
“An estimated 9.3 million people (26% of the total population) are experiencing Stressed situation. Those populations are in East Central (1.88 million); South Western (1.24 million), Teso (1.1 million) and West Nile (1.04 million) regions. This population has minimum adequate food consumption, employing insurance strategies and are unable to afford some essential non-food expenditures. The prolonged dry spell due to La Nina phenomenon coupled with increasing incidences of crop and livestock pests and diseases such as Cassava Brown Streak, Cassava Mosaic, maize stalk borer, striga and Banana Bacterial Wilt grossly affected production reducing the availability and accessibility of food for this population. The low crop and livestock production negatively impacted household food stocks leading to increased reliance on markets for food. Increasing demand from external markets has induced food price increases, making it difficult for poor households to access food from the market. Deteriorating water and pasture conditions mainly in the cattle corridor have resulted in migrations of livestock keepers, reduction in livestock production and increased spread of livestock diseases. The over whelming influx of refugees from South Sudan has increased demand for food and services in West Nile region” (Office of the Prime Minister, 2017).
So it is bad that 1.6 million people are lacking resource, possibility to produce food, but also that the state doesn’t deliver help or aid to the people. The other numbers of affected people, shows even more the systematic defaults of the state to achieve good production of agricultural output, as the problems with crops, livestock and diseases that shown with Cassava Brown Strak, Cassava Mosaic, Maize Stalk Borer, Sriga and Banana Bacterial Wilt. All of these should be worked on and nourished by the state, through agricultural programs that stops the spread of diseases. This should be important at this stage by not only the Office of the Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda. Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries Hon. Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja should have used the institutions to find solutions to the added strains in the agricultural industries, together with one of his State Ministers.
That the Ministry of Agriculture and Hon. Ssempijja has been lacking guidance as well as funding, most been shown when the millions of affected citizens are the result of little or no plan on important industry as it is. Where so many work and could need state structures to help and guide. There are lacking instruments and use of government institutions to help out in the dire need. Even find out ways to stop the growing problems that makes such a big part of population affected. When a state has 26% of it affected by various issues and the State can find ways to sort it out, than that should be priority, not to buy airplanes and cut taxes for the MPs, but to fix the agricultural yields and water-irrigation that needs. Peace.
A Publication of the Office of the Prime Minister – Department of Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Management – “The Official Government of Uganda Inter- Ministerial/Agencies Monthly National Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning Bulletin
15th FEBRUARY to 15th MARCH 2017” Volume 01. Series No. 01. Issues No. 04.
Something is just wrong, something is seriously wrong, as the misappropriated funds and public coffers in Uganda; there is something sinister going on. It is okay that a government and administration cannot make it rain or make sun shine, but they can make sure the people together with public gathering technics make sure when there is plenty of water. It’s in tanks and other barrels until needed for the crops and enough for drinking. This is practices mankind has done since the Roman Empire. It’s not spectacular, but convenient.
On the other hand, since Roman Time, there has always been corruption, and men has always been corrupted by gold, silver and sparkly things. So as the citizens are hungry, the starvation isn’t only in Isingiro, where the starvation is dangerously high, there are other districts severely hit by the draught and the lack of rain.
Hunger in the districts:
“Already, 1.3 million Ugandans, the minister said, need urgent food aid and so far, 600kgs of maize flour and 300 kilogrames of beans have been sent to Isingiro Districts where some people have starved to death” (…) “According to Mr Kibazanga, 65 per cent of people in Karamoja sub region have one meal or half a meal in a day as opposed to three meals while 35 per cent of the population in the districts of Katakwi, Amuria, Kumi, Bukedea, parts of Serere and Kaberamaido are in the same phase with Karamoja sub-region” (…) “Mr Kibazanga also revealed that 50 per cent of the people of Koboko, Yumbe, Moyo, Maracha, Arua, Zombo, Nebbi, Adjumani, Amuru, Nyoya, Gulu, Pader, Lamwo, Kitgum, Agago, Soroti, Ngora, Amolatar, Pallisa, Butaleja, Rakai, Isingiro and Tororo have access to a meal a day. The districts of Oyam, Apac, Kiryandongo, Masindi, Bulisa, Kyankwanzi, Nakaseke, Kiboga, Mubende, Luwero, Kyegegwa, Sembabule, Kiruhura, Lwengo, Ntugamo, Kamuli and Kibuuku are in a minimal phase of food insecurity, meaning the people can still afford all meals though stocks are running low” (Tajuba, 2016).
So when the Government knows about that and they continue with their inappropriate idea of giving new cars for the Members of Parliament, something that the 10th Parliament MPs have been waiting for. It is in their duty and now getting a free-ride for their services; this they do while districts upon districts lack food and water, while they are starving… the reckless thieving of state coffers instead of supplying needed food from the budgets !
New Cars for the MPs:
“Parliament has received a release of Shs25 billion for payment of vehicle grant to members of parliament. The money will cater for at least 250 MPs out of 431. According to parliament’s director of communcations Chris Obore, the Parliamentary Commission will first pay new MPs. The new MPs to get first are those without election petitions in court. The old MPs will be paid when the Commission gets a new release. It emerged recently that each Member of Parliament will bag Shs200m instead of Shs150m as had earlier been budgeted by the Parliamentary Commission. This means Parliament will spend more than Shs85 billion on all the legislators” (the Insider, 2016).
As much as there are money in the system for unnecessary expenditure from the 10th Parliament, that with no thought or consideration thinks about the consequences for the once they are supposed to represent. They apparently wish to become greedy like the former EX-MPs who we’re taken to court and charged with massive thieving, though where the money really went nobody knows. They surely pocketed some of it, but the where it we’re supposed to go, is not hard to know. Because the pay-outs we’re to ghosts, ghosts are invisible creatures not of the living.
“Anti Corruption Court in Kampala has found three former top employees of ministry of public service including Jimmy Lwamafa, the ex-permanent secretary guilty of all the ten charges slapped against them by the state. Presiding judge, Lawrence Gidudu summarised in his ruling that the fraud to steal the Shs88.2 billion was hatched in the public service, smoothened in finance ministry and executed in Cairo bank where the money was finally paid out to ghost pensioners” (Ndagire & Wesaka, 2016).
So the living in the districts are either this days getting screwed by their own representatives of the 10th Parliament, as they are more keen on perks and riches than helping the citizens they represent, that is what their President Museveni has been teaching for three decades now. So the people are starving and not getting valuable food or needed water for their daily life, while the MPs are riding in flash, posh cars in Kampala. That is happening while their predecessors are being detained for thieving from coffers to bail-out ghost pensioners, while the results of the matter are not told where the money went.
We can wonder since it is not told, that somebody did their bidding and stole the monies for the bigger plan of their President, and when they we’re not needed to do their service they gotten taken to court. That wouldn’t be surprising as that has happen before in the times udner the Executive Museveni. It’s just new names who done similar things in the past. The billions of shillings are levels of stealing while the hunger is running rapid is worrying; together with the wishes of lavish lifestyle by the men who supposed to represent them. Instead they represent themselves and not using their powers and reach to service the famine ridden districts, because they only see their own tummy. Peace.
Ndagire, Betty & Wesaka, Anthony – ‘Court finds Lwamafa, Obey, Kunsa guilty of fraud’ (11.09.2016) link: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Court-Lwamafa-Obey-pension-scam-Kunsa-guilty-fraud/688334-3448762-n2qb3oz/index.html
The Insider – ‘NEWS MPs receive Shs25 billion for cars’ (08.11.2016) link: http://www.theinsider.ug/mps-receive-shs25-billion-for-cars/#.WCindPnhDIU
Tajuba, Paul – ‘Millions of Ugandans in 45 districts starving, says govt’ (04.11.2016) link: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Millions-of-Ugandans-in-45-districts-starving–says-govt/688334-3440478-8uj0buz/index.html
“I am buying a second belt for my stomach in addition to the one for my trousers” says a man in Isingiro, in the district that is hunger stricken, famine and drought.
Isingiro District Veterinary Officer Dr Bruhan Kasozi told a radio that the district is currently experiencing what could be its worst dry spell in a decade.
The continued reports of famine and draught in Isingiro District happens and the Government tries to react, but with very little effect. The relief is mediocre at best, not even well-prepared even as the draught has been steady since mid-year in 2015. The Livestock and water issue is rising, there been reported that 8 kids has lost their life during the recent week because of the starvation. This is the people of district that is in the hands of government doesn’t have effort, will or care to really change the pattern of the famine in Isingiro District. Here is what I collected of the continued situation. Something that is not what it’s supposed to be, the Police still over-react in the nation as even Local Councillors are detained for opening a Livestock market in the needs in the district.
This is happening as the State Minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness Hon. Musa Ecweru said: “The hunger situation in the country is serious especially in the cattle corridor. We are starting the relief program from Isingiro district because of the magnitude of the problem” (NBS TV Uganda, 01.11.2016).
“The State minister for relief and disaster preparedness, Musa Ecweru, is calling for serious interventions to tame adverse weather conditions causing calamities in the country. The minster said this Yesterday while in Isingiro district where he was distributing food relief items to residents hit by famine due to the long drought” (91.2 Crooze FM, 05.11.2016).
As the reported deliver on the 4th November after months of draught and famine, was this:
“In Isingiro District where famine rages on, government has delivered food aid, each recipient got at least one cupful of flour and beans. There are reports that a number of people and animals have died of starvation” (NBS TV Uganda, 04.11.2016).
Like again on the 5th November the LC2 Chairperson of Kayonza Parish in Isingiro District. Here the locals lined up for more posho and beans… to fill their cups of starving tummies in the parish.
Detained for opening the Livestock market:
“The chairman LC 5 for Isingiro district has been arrested and put to prison after attempting to reopen the animal markets that were closed down by the government following the outbreak of foot and mouth disease. He’s been arrested under the orders of the area RDC Mr Herbert Muhangi citing defiance of the district leader. The chairman Kamurari Jeremiah Birungi has been planning to reopen the markets and has been informing the public that today Thursday is the day to operationlise the markets regardless of the central government’s directive and the quarantine. He was found in Endiinzi sub county where he had gone to open the market” (OMO Blaze Media House, 03.11.2016).
Preparation from the Iqra Foundation:
“Asalam alaykum brothers and sisters preparations for for Isingiro district relief in progress areas to be visted are saa no 260, Rukungiri 278, Mbale 334, Kashariira 270, Mule mâ 480 ….families thanks to Mr Amin from Kotecha family Eng Fahir , Beejay,Fred Kafooko etc now at Iqra foundation mbarara mosque with 20 tones maize flower and 3.5 sugar please send more we are leaving tomorrow at 7 am may Allah the Almighty bless you all”.
“Muslims in Western Uganda have extended relief to several families in Bukanga County – one of the most drought-hit areas. It`s addition to donations coming from various humanitarian organizations. Among the food items, were posho flour, rice and sugar, handed to some 1,700 households” (Urban Television, 07.11.2016).
And you know the draught is serious when the prices of Jerry-cans of water cost up to 1, 500 shillings. Before the draught the price of water in Jerry-cans cost about 200 or 300 shillings. So this proves that the starving and lack of water is striking the prices of the necessary. The biggest delivery are from a NGO and not the Government. So the Iqra Foundation is doing much more than the State, which is really the epitome of this Administration under President Museveni who is reckless policy on his own behalf. This is as the Second Minister Kibazanga
“The nation’s northeastern Karamoja region is the worst hit with two in three people having access to only half a meal or less per day, Christopher Kibazanga, minister of state for agriculture, said in an e-mailed statement from the capital, Kampala. Teso sub-region and the western district of Isingiro are also badly affected” (…) “There is fear if individuals and families do not manage the available food stocks at household levels well, the situation can quickly deteriorate to the emergency and famine stages of food insecurity within the next two months,” Kibazanga said” (Ojambo, 2016).
So the Ministers Kibanzanga and Ecweru are saying that this is serious business and how hard the area is hit. Still, the deliverance of emergency relief has been meagre from the government as even Local Councillor has complained at the rate; still the good news is that the Muslim relief has come. This is coming as the lack of rain and continues draught at the area. Prices of livestock have fallen and the price of water from the Jerry-Cans has gone up 5 times recently.
More on the Livestock market:
“According to Kangwagye, once the livestock markets are reopened people would easily sell of their animals and get money to meet their other needs. Kangwagye told URN that he intends to join other leaders to ensure the livestock markets are reopened. Kangwagye’s statements come a day after Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries Minister; Vincent Bamulangaki Sempijja accused Isingiro leaders of undermining the livestock quarantine. On Saturday, Sempijja accused the local authorities for politicizing the livestock quarantine, which compromises efforts by Ministry to eliminate the foot and mouth disease from Isingiro district. According to Sempijja, instead of backing the quarantine, politicians in Isingiro district are mobilizing livestock farmers to reopen the closed livestock markets. The Animal Diseases Act only mandates the Commissioner in Charge of Animal Health to lift quarantine. Any person who defies the quarantine faces a fine of Shillings 2 million or 2 years in prison or both” (100.4 Hills FM Kabale, 07.11.2016).
So the continues hunger and issues are coming to the surface as the Livestock issue is not stopping, the management and administration from the government is really weak. Therefore the Ministers are even criticising their government response to draught and deaths in the districts.
What is striking is how the Ugandan People through help is now starting to donate money to get food for the Isingiro, both Muslims and Christian NGOs are doing and planning to deliver food to the needy. The interesting is that the NGOs are giving more than the Government. The report of one cup of Beans and Posho is really not a real relief in the midst of a famine and draught that lasts months on end.
The ends have to come and the state has to deliver, also show plans of progression, if not to talk about new plans of collecting water and serving these communities; which should be priority, this problem where even there when the President and his team went on campaigns in the district.
So the reality is bleak and what is worse is all the men and woman, even kids are starving because of the continued draught. The Famine has to be sorted and the Government actually act responsible to the citizens of the district.
Ojambo, Fred – ‘Uganda Says 1.3 Million People Are Facing Hunger Due to Drought’ (04.11.2016) link: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-11-04/uganda-says-1-3-million-people-are-facing-hunger-due-to-drought