The Speaker of Parliament Anita Among has called for a well-coordinated approach to address the calamity that is threatening the lives of over 500,000 people who are affected by famine in Karamoja.
During Plenary on Tuesday, Speaker Among told the house that there was a need for a new approach to attacking the issue of famine. “Let us have this approach to solve the drought in the whole country. We have seen so many starving and malnourished people and I think the government needs to come out clearly on how to handle this issue,” said Among.
On 14 July 2022, Hon. Esther Anyakun, the Minister for State for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, informed the House that 517,000 people in Karamoja are at risk of food insecurity with the worst hit areas being Kotido, Napak and Kaabong districts.
However, while chairing the house on Tuesday 19 July 2022, Among tasked government to provide short, medium and long term solutions.
“I heard a statement where they were saying that food is available for three months. Which food can grow now and will be available within three months,” she said.
Among also advised that focus should be moved to mindset change of the people in Karamoja.
“The people down there think they should only live on cattle. But you cannot live on cattle only. You need to encourage them to do farming and if you do not do that, we will continue lamenting,” she said
She further reiterated a call for a Disaster Preparedness and Management Commission saying that the commission would have been able to handle such disasters.
Article 249 of the Constitution states that ‘there shall be a Disaster Preparedness and Management Commission for Uganda to deal with both natural and man-made disasters.
“I do not know why we do not have this commission up to today. We are doing everything in an Adhoc way,” she said.
The Chief Opposition Whip, Hon. John Baptist Nambeshe called for legislation to strengthen the capacity of district disaster management committees blaming such disasters on what he termed, ‘incapacitated committees’.
“We could start with these lowest units. By law, they have no powers to attend to emergencies. They ought to be allocated a budget that could quickly attend to emergencies before the Office of the Prime Minister comes in,” he said.
The Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Mathias Mpuuga tasked the government to reassure the country of its capacity to avert the famine in Karamoja and the drought in the whole country.
“Can the Prime Minister tell us how prepared the government is to feed the population given the obvious food crisis? People are reaching out for food from MPs,” said Mpuuga.
Premier, Robinah Nabbanja said that the famine situation will be addressed under the Contingency Fund.
“Government appropriated funds under the Contingency Fund and that is how the situation will be handled,” said Nabbanja.
The Minister of State for Karamoja Affairs, Hon. Agnes Nandutu called for the disarmament of the Karamojong rustlers saying that the insecurity in the region has caused a food shortage there.
“The army is doing their work. My request to the leaders is to support the security to do their work and rid Karamoja of guns such that there is security in the area and we are able to embark on food production,” she said. Nandutu added that the Ministry of Agriculture has pledged to provide 50 tractors to be used for food production.