Igg Should Get To The Bottom Of Karamoja Relief

Igg should get to the bottom of karamoja relief
Appeared in Daily Monitoron 18 Feb 2023

This week, Members of Parliament (MPs) from Karamoja Sub-region, under their umbrella body the Karamoja Parliamentary Group (KPG), asked senior officials in the Karamoja Affairs ministry to step aside and pave the way for inquiries into alleged diversion of relief items meant for vulnerable Karimojong.

In a statement, the MPs accused the senior officials of distributing among themselves more than 12,000 iron sheets, goats and foodstuff that were meant to benefit vulnerable communities that have in the recent past been affected by starvation and spates of insecurity.

The KPG members also called for a forensic audit on both the procurement and distribution of the items, and for a select committee of Parliament to look into the matter.

Sadly, the allegations by Karamoja MPs is just the latest in a series of corruption scandals that have rocked Uganda over the years. According to the Inspectorate of Government (IGG), Uganda loses at least Shs9.144 trillion to corruption conduits present in both the private and public institutions annually.

In an empirical study by the IGG last year, it was discovered that 23 percent of the annual government budget is lost to the vice.

And it angered many Ugandans even more that some corrupt government officials could have diverted funds meant for the most vulnerable in Karamoja.

Just last year, Napak Woman MP Faith Nakut told lawmakers that more than 600 starvation-related deaths were recorded in Kotido, Napak, Moroto, and Kaabong. This was blamed on low crop yields, compounded with locust invasion followed by prolonged drought and floods, Covid-19 disruptions and an explosion of insecurity reportedly fanned by cattle rustlers.

As a response to the famine, government released Shs135 billion, but it is sad to learn that food under the Feed Karamoja Project could have been misappropriated.

The mineral rich sub-region has always grappled with many problems, including insecurity, which has many times been linked to food insecurity. That some government officials could have misappropriated relief items meant for a region whose instability has impacted the north and eastern parts of the country should be investigated and culprits prosecuted.

Speaking at the commemoration of the International Anti-Corruption Day last year, Ombudsman Beti Kamya said fighting corruption requires the participation of all citizens. Her strategy has so far led to the recovery of more than Shs30b from corrupt government officials last year alone.

With this glimmer of hope in the fight against the corruption cancer that has eaten the Ugandan fabric, we appeal to the IGG, Parliament and all relevant authorities to save the people of Karamoja.