By Steven Ariong
District chairpersons of Karamoja region in the north eastern Uganda have requested for an independent audit for the shs 135billion which parliament approved and released to the office of the prime minister for feeding the hungry Karimojong families.
In July this year at the sitting of Parliament chaired by Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, the Prime Minister Ms Robinah Nabanja explained to the house that government had released Shs135bn to help cater for food in Karamoja for three months. This, she said, will include seedlings for planting.
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“I want to assure you colleagues that over 200 metric tons of food has gone to Karamoja and we want to see how to secure Karamoja because as it stands now, Karamoja is still insecure,” she said then.
However, the district chairpersons in the famine stricken region said what the government has so far delivered doesn’t represent Shs135billion released.
Paul Lokol the district chairperson Nabilatuk says an audit should be constituted adding that the money seems to have been misappropriated.
“That money is enough to buy everyone in Karamoja 25kilograms of posho, 25kilograms of beans and 5 litters of cooking oil but where is it, we are still counting people dying of hunger every day, what has been delivered by the office of the prime minister is not worth shs135billion because many families are still starving waiting for the food in government,” Lokol said
Lokol further says they have even tried to ask members of parliament who approved supplementary budget of shs135billion whether they know where the money is but he said they are also green about it.
According Ismail Mohmed the mayor of Moroto Municipality said hunger is killing people everyday and when any other person talks about the region, some ministers think they are looking cheap popularity.
“We are surprised that shs135bn has failed to save the lives of the Karimojong who are dying every day, this calls for an audit because we have smelt a rat some where,” said Ismail Mohmed.
Faith Nakut the women member of parliament for Napak district said all the mps in Karamoja are asking for that money.
“We approved the money but we don’t know where is the money, people are dying everyday yet shs 135billion was approved,” She said.
While Remigio Achia the member of parliament for Pian county in Nabilatuk district who also doubles as chairman of Karamoja parliamentary group, said they will task the prime minister to explain where the money has gone.
“This the money for emergency not for building bridges but it’s to save the lives of hungry people in Karamoja but we don’t see the money we are also wandering and Mps on what’s going on,” he said.
But Tonney Ameny the assistant commissioner in the office of the prime minister in charge of Karamoja development appealed the leaders to be patient saying the money was approved but not yet released
“Yes its true the president directed for the release of the money but the money has not yet been released, it has its process and even though its released it will be channeled to the ministry of disaster and preparedness to distribute food for three months beginning from August to October this year,” he said.
He further added that the food that office of the prime minister distributed in Karamoja was the food which was in the OPM stores but not part of shs135bn.
Karamoja region is currently facing serious hunger that has claimed more than 1,000 people in the nine districts of Karamoja.
URN has learnt that many people would have died if it was not support from various development partners such as Karamoja integrated development program KIDEP, National Unity platform which distributed food to some of the most vulnerable families in the region.
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