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Opinion: OPM “Ghosting” Refugees are following a long-history of “ghosts” from the Ministry!

I wish I could make this up, but there are to coincidences that just doesn’t happen, that the Prime Minister of Uganda Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi meets on the 2nd February 2018 and just mere days after the sources are revealing to the Daily Monitor about Ghost Refugees. Because the PM went into agreement of monitoring and scaling the Refugees after UNHCR standards.

As the official note of the meeting said:

Rugunda said the Government is committed to the noble cause of supporting refugees in the country, adding that government has agreed to embrace the UNHCR registration system to enhance its work in the refugee settlement areas. “Government has accepted to use the UNHCR system of registration for refugees to enable proper identification of refugees which will enable us to serve them better. The system will also enable collection of reliable data and records of refugees,” Rugunda said.” (OPM, 2018).

It is just so fitting that it happens just day before these ghosts was revealed on the 5th February:

Our sources said a number of spot-checks were made to test the accuracy of the refugee numbers that have been reported. Daily Monitor understands that one spot-check was conducted in Kampala. When the more than 26,000 refugees, who were purportedly receiving provisions were asked to physically turn up and collect their share, only about 7,000 showed up, suggesting that about 19,000 were “ghosts” whose monies and other resources had been pocketed by some individuals in OPM. The sources also pointed to collusion between OPM officials and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) to steal the monies and other resources meant for refugees” (Serunjogi, 2018).

That means the UNHCR and OPM had no problem to fix funding for 19,000 ghosts in their systems. This meaning both the government and the UN Body in Uganda used the Refugee crisis to eat the money. They was initially eating on the people fleeing civil war in South Sudan and Internal Conflict (silent war) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. These individuals needs shelter and support until they can return home to their war-torn regions.

This means that the fleeing people are used in schemes to gain fortunes. You have merchants of death, selling weapons to warlords. Then you have boosters of the aid-industry to create crisis to get careers by the misfortune of people. This is what the latter did, made fortunes and crimes against refugees for their own benefit. It’s sick and disgusting.

The OPM and the Ugandan authorities accepted the UNHCR methods days ahead, but their where people on the inside of UNHCR who accepted ghosts. However, the OPM have had similar scandals with cars, civil servants, teachers, schools, “air supply” and students. All of the been ghosting and even phantom projects, which only exists on paper, but not in reality. This is scandals only going back to 2012, 2013 and thereabouts. It isn’t ancient or back to the stone-age. The OPM is known for this and has done it under the PM Mbabazi and now under PM Dr. Rugunda. Different childhood friend, but the same narrative.

Therefore, it’s nothing new that the OPM are ghosting in Uganda, it is just demeaning and disgraceful that they do this to refugees. And on the payment of foreign donors and after pleas of pledges during the Refugee Summit last year. Where Museveni felt they should get funds for local development too, not only benefit the refugees. When that sentiment is clear, showing that ghosts are made to benefit the locals and not only the refugees. The leaders are eating on the misfortune of the fleeing individuals.

That should be sickening. Clearly its not for the OPM and UNHCR. Peace.

Reference:

OPM – ‘UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES VISITS UGANDA’ (02.02.2018) link. http://opm.go.ug/2018/02/02/united-nations-high-commissioner-for-refugees-visits-uganda/

Sserunjogi, Eriasa Mukiibi – ‘OPM hit by refugee corruption scandal’ (05.02.2018) link: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/OPM-hit-refugee-corruption-scandal-/688334-4291600-13m30m6z/index.html

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Local EU Statement on Alleged Fraud and Corruption Cases in Refugee Settlements in Uganda (05.02.2018)

Dr. Ruhakana Ruganda (OPM) Government Statement: On Allegations of Possible Abuse of Refugee Funds (05.02.2018)

Minister Okello Oryem Meets Troika Representatives (17.11.2017)

 

The meeting addressed the current political situation in South Sudan and the resultant refugee crisis in the neighboring countries, especially in Uganda.

KAMPALA, Uganda, November 17, 2017 – On November 15, 2017 the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Henry Oryem Okello met with Representatives of the South Sudan peace-guarantor Troika member countries (Norway, United Kingdom and the United States) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kampala. The Troika Representatives were Mr. Paul Sutphin (USA), Mr. Chris Trott (UK) and Mr. Ering Skjonsberg (Norway).

The meeting addressed the current political situation in South Sudan and the resultant refugee crisis in the neighboring countries, especially in Uganda.

The members of the Troika reiterated their strong support for the combined efforts of the African Union (AU), Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and United Nations to end the conflict in South Sudan, and joined their recent calls on all armed parties, including the Government of South Sudan, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement in Opposition, and other armed groups, to commit to a ceasefire.

They emphasized that the dire humanitarian crisis in South Sudan is the direct result of the conflict and called on all parties to cease violence against humanitarian workers and obstruction of humanitarian assistance.

The Troika endorsed the ongoing efforts by IGAD and praised Uganda’s peace initiative which aimed at bringing the warring parties to the negotiating table, positively noting that this initiative was endorsed by both parties to the conflict. The Troika expressed pleasure that Uganda is in full support of the IGAD process. In addition, they endorsed the work of the UN Mission in the Republic of South Sudan, and the deployment of its Regional Protection Force.

Hon Okello welcomed the visiting team and stressed the importance of the support being extended towards all the peace initiatives. He reassured them that Uganda will continue playing a mediatory and conciliatory role between the belligerent parties to ensure that an agreement is reached.

In attendance at the meeting were the Heads of Diplomatic Missions of the Troika resident in Kampala and senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Uganda: Letter – “Re: Heightened Index of Suspicion for Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) in Your District” (21.08.2017)

South Sudan refugees in Uganda pass 1 million mark, UNHCR renews call for help (18.08.2017)

Over the past 12 months, an average of 1,800 South Sudanese have been arriving in Uganda every day.

GENEVA, Switzerland, August 18, 2017 – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is today reiterating its call to the international community for urgent additional support for the South Sudan refugee situation and Uganda in particular, where the number of refugees from South Sudan has now reached 1 million.

Over the past 12 months, an average of 1,800 South Sudanese have been arriving in Uganda every day. In addition to the million there, a million or even more South Sudanese refugees are being hosted by Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic.

In Uganda, more than 85 per cent of the refugees who have arrived there are women and children (below 18 years in age). Recent arrivals continue to speak of barbaric violence, with armed groups reportedly burning down houses with civilians inside, people being killed in front of family members, sexual assaults of women and girls, and kidnapping of boys for forced conscription.

With refugees still arriving in their thousands, the amount of aid we are able to deliver is increasingly falling short. For Uganda, US$674 million is needed for South Sudanese refugees this year, but so far only a fifth of this amount (21 per cent) has been received. Elsewhere in the region, the picture is only marginally better – in all US$883.5 million is needed for the South Sudan situation, but only US$250 million has been received.

The funding shortfall in Uganda is now significantly impacting the abilities to deliver life-saving aid and key basic services. In June, the World Food Programme was forced to cut food rations for refugees. Across settlements in northern Uganda, health clinics are being forced to provide vital medical care with too few doctors, healthcare workers and medicines. Schooling, meanwhile is also being impacted. Class sizes often exceed 200 pupils, with some lessons held in the open air. Many refugee children are dropping out of education as the nearest schools are too far away for them to easily access.

Since December 2013, when South Sudan’s crisis erupted in Juba, more than two million South Sudanese have fled to neighbouring countries, while another two million people are estimated to be internally displaced.

Uganda: Major National Review Recommends Ways of Ending Hunger in Uganda (27.07.2017)

President Museveni’s speech showed his real sentiment at the Uganda Solidarity Summit on Refugees 2017

I don’t believe that President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni hold the Refugee Summit in Kampala this week out of solidarity. It was of an operation to secure his state the lost funds that the state has to raise through loans. So yesterday he had the massive speech for the event, which had lot of information, but for me this passage was telling why he had the summit and what value the refugees really have for him. You wouldn’t see them as bargain chips if you didn’t say it this way. Why do I say that, the districts with the refugee camps are in his mind deserving infrastructure, not supported by the state, but by the International Community. Therefore, it was held to raise sufficient funds for the refugees, but if he could, he could sponge of the funds. Not like the National Resistance Movement (NRM), though he was speaking in the beginning of this passage like it is NRM Regime who pays of all infrastructure, but the World Bank and others are giving either grants or direct loans to infrastructure projects.

That is why I’m kind of not surprised of the real solidarity would be pay the bills for the President and his own pledges, instead of really helping the refugees. They are just needed people to gain popularity abroad and solidarity for ones fleeing for refugee in Uganda. Instead of looking into the draconian laws of Uganda, the oppressive behavior of the NRM or even famine made by lacking governance in many districts in Uganda itself. That is why I particular looks into this part of his speech from the Solidarity Summit, as these words prove the value of the summit for the President himself.

The hosting districts of Uganda should also be rewarded. Especially in the area of the road infrastructure, the government of Uganda is already doing most of the development required. On account of many demands, however, there are certain roads that over-night become of high demand because of the sudden big numbers in the area on account of the influx of refugees. There are, in particular, two roads that should be bituminized but the government is not yet able to take on. These are: Moyo-Yumbe-Koboko, in the neighbourhood of the famous Bidi Bidi camp in Yumbe district that is hosting 272,168 refugees today; and Kabiingo-Rugaaga-Magabi-Rakai that starts from the famous Nakivaale Refugee Settlement camp that looked after the Rwanda refugees between 1960 and 1994 and is still hosting different waves of subsequent refugees” (…) “The Uganda government will, eventually, do these roads. If, however, the International Community was to expedite that process and we informed our people in the areas, they would understand that their hospitality has not been in vain” (Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, 23.06.2017).

You can really tell that the President has significant plans for using the solidarity and raised funds for needed infrastructure. Ugandan government wants to use the refugee situation to get funds for national projects and roads. That it just happens to be between the Refugee Settlements in the Northern Uganda. Where the South Sudanese refugees are settled because of the civil war in South Sudan. Certainly, the political stalemate are the ones that even President Museveni is involved in. Therefore, him trying to use it for road development.

Clearly, his real sentiment is for road development not helping the refugees. That is why the districts should be rewarded, not by the state itself, but the international community. If you ever wonder where his heart was, you got it right there. It is not like President Museveni has the refugee settlement for charity, more for leverage and use to get solidarity since the direct donor funds to his government has dwindled over the recent decade. So he has found another trick to get raised funds for his pledges. Peace.

10th Parliament MPs is extra greedy as they are eating another Shs. 100m. each!

You know there is something special, you know there is something out of bound and something compelling, when the Members of Parliament (MPs) who has no quarrels with eating without taxation, without thinking of their salaries compered to the ones who they represent. The constituency of the MP must feel betrayed as their allowances and their benefits are enormous, to say it at least, they are gigantic! But take a look at the latest big payment for the MPs!

Parliament — MPs are smiling all the way to the bank after the government authorised the release of an extra Shs45b to Parliament, with each of the 449 lawmakers set to get an additional Shs100m, ostensibly to buy cars for constituency travels” (…) “In a June 13 letter titled: ‘Additional cash limit of Shs45.8b for the Parliamentary Commission’, Mr Keith Muhakanizi, the Secretary to the Treasury, authorised Ms Jane Kibirige, the Clerk to Parliament, to spend the cash as part of non-wage recurrent budget in the fourth quarter of the Financial Year 2016/2017. The clearance comes barely two weeks to the end of the Financial Year” (Arinaitwe & Manzil, 2017).

So the Members of Parliament are clearly getting another pay-day without passing to much legislation or any sort of consideration of the proposed budget or pledges they had for the financial year 2017/2018. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and the NRM Caucus have clearly made together with the Parliamentary Commission to make a new pay-day for the MPs, yet again!

The National Resistance Movement and their MPs clearly like to get extra brown-envelopes without any considerations of the state of the budget or the way the funds are raised. It is not shocking, it seems like an ordinary event at this point. Not like it is the first time, the MPs uses their Noble place in the august house to enrich themselves and add cost to the state. Therefore, the added debt and interest payments should be feared by the MPs. Instead, they are adding debt and creating more interest without concern of the citizens.

The citizens are going to pay extra for this, they are the ones that are ripped off at broad-daylight. They are eating directly of the state reserve and does it with impunity. Also worth noticing, President Museveni is not sanctioning against it, since he can do as pleases. Since he is eating directly and misuse s it whenever he wants. Peace.

Reference:

Arinaitwe, Solomon & Manzil, Ibrahim – ‘Uganda: MPs Get Extra Shs100 Million Each for Cars’ (17.06.2017) link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201706190735.html?utm_campaign=allafrica%3Ainternal&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_content=promote%3Aaans%3Aabafbt

MPS for Presidential Affairs FY 2017/18 proving massive spending on Mzee!

The Ministerial Policy Statement on the Presidential Affairs for the Financial Year of 2017/2018. These are clear of the priorities in the Republic. The Republic are putting as much funds into the State House, which is Ushs. 245 bn and under the Office of Prime Minister in the Development Expenditure Ushs. 245 bn. So there are certain aspects of government priority that isn’t healthy, as both the Office of the President and the State House get Ush. 300 bn in total. But take look at the beautiful priorities of the National Resistance Movement!

Office of the President:

In the FY 2017/18, the total proposed allocation to Office of the President is Ushs 54.268 bn, reflecting a 2.8% increment against the FY 2016/17 approved budget” (GoU, P: 3,2017).

The Committee noted that four (4) districts of Kagadi, Kakumiro, Omoro and Rubanda came in place in FY 2016/2017. In the FY 2017/2018, Namisindwa, Pakwach, Butebo, Rukiga, Kyotera and Bunyangabo will come into operation. The Committee however noted that additional cost implication of Ushs. 2.63 bn to facilitate 10 RDCs is not within the MTEF ceiling of Office of the President in FY 2017/18. The Committee further observed that facilitation for RDCs to conduct effective monitoring of Government programs is underfunded to the tune of Ushs. 3.0 bn” (GoU, P: 4, 2017)

Internal Security Organization:

The Committee expressed concern without substantial facilitation to Internal Security Organisation, terrorists can successfully accomplish their interests of terrorism and insurgency activities and other forms of organized crimes including politically motivated ones without detection. This has in most cases resulted substantial spending in managing such acts” (GoU, P: 9, 2017).

State House:

In the FY 2017/18, the total proposed allocation to Vote 002 is Ushs 245.567 bn, reflecting a 4.6% reduction against the FY 2016/17 approved budget” (GoU, P: 12, 2017).

External Security Organization:

In the FY 2017/18, the total proposed allocation to Vote 159 is Ushs 31.343 bn, reflecting an increment of 16.4°10 against the FY 2016/17 approved budget largely on account of a 10 % budget cut on consumptive items” (GoU, P: 18, 2017).

Office of the Prime Minister:

The Committee noted that the policy on refugees in Uganda is lacking. The Committee was informed that Office of the Prime Minister is in the process of conducting consultations with stakeholders to validate the Draft Refugee Policy. The Committee observes that in absence of the refugee policy, citizens are not aware of the right places and right engagement for refuges. The Committee undertook on-spot assessment of communities hosting refugees in Adjumani, Yumbe and Kiryandongo Districts and noted that in some instances, refugees have too much freedom and are more privileged at the expense of nationals” (GoU, P: 29, 2017).

10.3.5 Lack of sustainable interventions for Disaster Preparedness

The Committee notes that Office of the Prime Minister has not made any efforts in putting in place sustainable interventions for Disaster Preparedness. In its oversight role, the Committee undertook a field visit to Nakasongola District, which is among the drought prone areas in the Country. The Committee was informed that during peak drought season, about 30 heads of cattle died per day and that the drought season occurs year in year out. The most painful thing to note is that Nakasongola District is surrounded by Lake Kyoga” (GoU, P: 29, 2017).

11.1 VOTE 001 – OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT

Budget Item UShs. (Bn)

(i) Recurrent Expenditure 118,929,091,000

(ii) Development Expenditure 5,216,904,000” (GoU, P: 32, 2017).

11.3 VOTE 003 – OFFICE OF THE PRIME MINISTER

Budget Item (i) Recurrent Expenditure Ushs. 64,786,412,000 bn.

(ii) Development Expenditure Ushs. 245,404,928,000 bn” (GoU, P: 32, 2017)

There are proof of enough lacking resources, lacking policies, even coming from the Office of the Prime Minister, that is the Ministry under Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, the trusted appointee that was sought to fill the shoes of Amama Mbabazi. Therefore, the government are clearly not planning or having funds to keep the refugees in Uganda. There assistance is coming from donors, the Multi-National Organization and Non-Governmental Organization who apply needed help to the fleeing refugees in Northern Uganda.

We can also see the similar use of Development expenditure under the Office of the Prime Minister and the State House, which is Ushs. 245 bn. This is proving the misuse of funds on the State House, as the development expenditure should be more important than expensive water and all other projects under the State House. As well, as keeping the upkeep of the President. Even as under the Office of the President are alone getting Ushs. 118 bn. Therefore, the whole Presidential Affairs are really not a cheap ride for the Financial Year of 2017/2018.

The are really lot of spending on the President and Prime Minister’s portfolios, but still missing key policies to implement the spending. That is maybe why the State House needed supplementary budget before even getting the vote of the Ministerial Statement. If that isn’t bad planning or even misuse of State Reserves, than who knows! Peace.

Reference:

Government of Uganda (GoU)- ‘SUMMARY REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON PRESIDENTIAL AFFAIRS ON THE MINISTERIAL POLICY STATEMENTS FOR FY 2017/18’ (May 2017)

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