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Dr Kizza Besigye, a former presidential candidate has combed Kyadondo East constituency to mobilise support for Mr Apollo Kantinti.
Mr Kantinti is the Forum for Democratic Change candidate in the constituency parliamentary by-election scheduled for Thursday.

Dr Besigye asked voters in the area not to “make a mistake” of voting the National Resistance Movement candidate, Mr Sitenda Sebalu because he’s representing a party that is “not fit to lead the country.”
Addressing a rally at Wampewo Grounds in Wakiso District on Tuesday, Dr Besigye said it is strange that the government is now giving more care to refugees at the expense of Ugandans.
He said refugees have access to clean water, good medical care and food yet Ugandans are dying of hunger while others are not able to access good health care.
The four-time presidential candidate said unless Ugandans vote NRM out power, they should count their country doomed.

21 hours 6 min ago

I have built my focus on the fact that I want to represent a common citizen. What I believe in is no secret. I am not new before you. I have been someone who speaks my pain and that of my fellows as you’ve heard through my songs and I am very hopeful for change. What is discussed in parliament is a lot more different than the issues that press the people.

If we cooperate, I will deliver your issues directly from Kiteezi to parliament. I am not someone to be corrupted or intimidated. I will speak what some politicians never want to hear.

MUWADA NKUNYINGI

The campaigns have been going on well. I have reached people’s homes, workplaces, worship places, schools and hospitals. I know what the people want because I have seen the challenges they face; bad roads, bad weather, police [and] people who weren’t compensated.

So, I don’t want people to send someone who is just going to occupy the seat in parliament. They should send someone who is going to talk for them and that is me. You clearly saw during my campaigns I have not brought any political bigwig to talk on my behalf, I have talked for myself.

Since an MP sits at the district council and town council, the current problems faced by people in this constituency like illegal taxation show poor representation by the former MPs at those levels.

I am the only one fit for the purpose among my colleagues because I am a lawyer by profession. The electorate has understood my message and I expect to win this election by 90 per cent.

SITENDA SSEBALU

People are excited and I can see it.

We are very optimistic we will have the win because people in the opposition have come many and they are dividing the whole block of opposition votes while I enjoy the votes of the ruling party and other sympathizers. So, come election day, I will emerge victor, God willing.

The electorate should stay calm, give me the votes and I will serve them because the big man is NRM and I am NRM; it means service delivery will be smooth.

APOLLO KANTINTI

I was elected as Member of Parliament for a term of five years. But my term was cut short just after nine months because of the incompetence of the Electoral Commission.

I call upon all our people to come out in big numbers like they did in 2016 and vote for me to reinstate their power that the NRM is trying to snatch. There is no doubt victory is within our reach.

Reporting by Edris Kiggundu, Jonathan Kamoga, Rebecca Mutonyi & Baker Batte Lule.

21 hours 8 min ago

When he skipped a scheduled meeting with the Public Accounts committee of Parliament and then named parliament among the country’s corrupt institutions, Finance minister Matia Kasaija angered both the committee members and Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.

So, during a plenary session on June 22, Kadaga ordered the minister to appear before the Rules, Privileges and Discipline committee to explain his actions.

But in a June 24 interview with The Observer, Kasaija signaled that he will only attend the committee if the appointed date doesn’t clash with his official work schedule.

“Who appointed me? Is it the president or parliament?” he asked. “Much as parliamentary work is important, I have to attend to the president’s assignments before anything else.”

Minister Kasaija said he would clarify at an appropriate time on his statement that listed parliament among the country’s corrupt institutions.

“If the time I am asked to appear before the committee does not coincide with my state duties, I will [appear],” he said. “I have never refused to appear before any committee. Ask the committee of finance. That chairperson of PAC told parliament a lie.”

Matia Kasaija

The Rules committee will inquire into any complaint of contempt or breach of privilege or any matter referred to it and recommends to the main House appropriate action.

The vice chairman of the Rules, Privileges and Discipline committee, Abbas Agaba Mugisha, said if Kasaija snubs his committee’s summons, he will be considered to be in contempt of Parliament.

“I think he should first humble himself before parliament. Parliament is not his farm, it is not his home, and this is a national institution. He is just an individual and a small man. He can’t think he is above an institution of government,” he told The Observer by telephone on June 24.

Agaba said once the committee finishes its inquiry, it would recommend to the House the appropriate action against Kasaija. If he shows up, Kasaija will become the first cabinet minister to appear before the Rules committee.

Earlier this year, ICT and National Guidance minister Frank Tumwebaze was saved by President Museveni, who reversed the minister’s order for the switching off of unregistered mobile phones, despite parliament recommending an extension.

21 hours 10 min ago

An already highly contested by-election campaign for the Kyadondo East parliamentary seat ended on a high-octane note, with the arrests of independent candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine and the ruling NRM’s Sitenda Ssebalu.

Kyagulanyi’s arrest due to a disagreement over venues for his and the NRM’s rally had two dramatic effects. First, it sparked off running battles between his supporters and police at Kasangati trading centre. Then, it forced Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party candidate Apollo Kantinti to briefly suspend his campaign to go and “rescue” his rival from custody at Kira division police headquarters.

There was also an altercation involving Kantinti supporters commanded by former presidential candidate Kizza Besigye, who forced Ssebalu and his supporters out of Wampewo playgrounds. It took police intervention to push the NRM candidate out of the grounds he claims he owns.

Bobi being taken away by Police

In a statement later, NRM spokesperson Rogers Mulindwa said Ssebalu was arrested together with the district NRM chairperson Hajji Abdu Kiyimba from Wampewo playground.

“Police could not tell the motive behind this act but the party continues to seek a clear explanation. The venue was also later invaded by the FDC supporters, rendering it impossible for our rally to take place,” he wrote.

The dramatic last-day events in a constituency where Besigye resides further raised the stakes of what is arguably the closest by-election contest, ahead of voting tomorrow.

THREE-HORSE RACE

With the exception of 2011 when Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda defeated Ssebalu by 15,000 votes, elections in the constituency have always been won by hair-thin margins.

In 2006, Sam Njuba, the former FDC national chairman, defeated Ssebalu by 23 votes while, in 2016, the margin between Kantinti and the NRM candidate was 326 votes. Kantinti’s election was, however, cancelled after court faulted the Electoral Commission for flouting electoral rules.

Consequently, tomorrow’s election, analysts and political watchers say, is likely to be too close to call. Ssemujju, the FDC spokesperson and a former MP for the constituency, told The Observer on Monday that any of the three candidates (Kyagulanyi, Kantinti and Ssebalu) could take it.

“Election dynamics are not easy to interpret. Sometimes you could think that someone with big crowds will win and it turns out to be the opposite,” he said.
Kyagulanyi has drawn the biggest crowds at his rallies so far. Some say that judging on the enthusiasm his candidature has generated, he has an edge over Kantinti and Ssebalu.

However, an FDC official who preferred to speak without being named told us at the sidelines of a Kantinti rally at Wampewo yesterday, that he believes the opposition let Kyagulanyi off lightly.

“FDC has surrendered this constituency to Bobi Wine. There are a lot of things that can be used against him [Bobi Wine], like his history of weed smoking and his disrespect for the Kabaka, but the party stopped us from attacking him as if they want him to win,” the official said.

Kyagulanyi is largely favoured by the youths, many of whom say he identifies with their causes such as poverty and unemployment. His campaign events have had a festival-like ring and have been graced by other prominent local politicians. Yet, even if he loses, Kyagulanyi could use the campaigns as learning experience ahead of the 2021 elections.

As for Kantinti, this by-election is the biggest test of his political career. The entry of Kyagulanyi in the race complicated matters for the FDC candidate. 
Kantinti has devoted a lot of time to squabbling with the musician and trying to convince voters that he has been an effective MP, even without having to speak many times in parliament.

Kantinti enjoys the backing of senior FDC bigwigs, including the party president, Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu; Nathan Nandala- Mafabi, the secretary general, and Dr Kizza Besigye, the former party president. That, however, might not be enough to guarantee him victory.

A defeat for Kantinti will mark one of the briefest parliamentary careers in recent memory, if you exclude members who have died. It will also be a big blow to FDC whose candidates have lost in all other by- elections (Toroma, Kamuli municipality, Upper Madi, Kagoma) conducted so far.

NRM CHANCES

Intriguingly, NRM’s Ssebalu, who represented the constituency between 2001 and 2006, has a chance of making it back after three failed attempts (2006, 2011 and 2016).

This time though, analysts reckon that he has a good chance of making it if the differences within the opposition camp work in his favour. President Museveni spent part of yesterday campaigning for Ssebalu. At Wattuba, Nangabo sub- county, Museveni told the people that if they vote for an opposition candidate, they will not benefit from some of government’s programmes.

He said: “We have an NRM caucus where we first meet and discuss programmes. If you bring me someone who is not NRM, how will he access the caucus and tell me your needs?”

NRM supporters marching towards the venue where Bobi Wine was holding his rally

Rogers Mulindwa, the spokesperson of the NRM secretariat, predicated that their candidate will win with about 55 per cent of the total votes cast.

“The NRM support and that of the opposition are almost equal. But since the opposition has fielded three candidates, Ssebalu has a very good chance,” Mulindwa said.

Ssebalu has differences with some local NRM leaders, including Stella Njuba, who stood against him in 2016. In 2016, Stella, a daughter of Sam Njuba, garnered a respectable 4,122 votes and has not yet reconciled with Ssebalu. Some of her voters have already said they will not vote Ssebalu.

ELOQUENT OUTSIDER

Of all the candidates, Muwada Nkunyingi, who some say has an outside chance, is the most eloquent. A lawyer by profession, his militant and straightforward approach to issues has enchanted many. In 2016, he garnered a respectable 7,560 votes to emerge third.

He told The Observer on Monday that he expects to win the election with 90 per cent. While this is highly unlikely, Nkunyingi is certainly a politician to watch out for in Kyadondo East in the near future.

TURNOUT

According to figures from the national Electoral Commission, Kyadondo East has 72,818 registered voters and 93 polling stations. With the exception of Toroma in Katakwi, voter turnout in other by-elections, has not hit 50 per cent.

Analysts believe that a high turnout will most likely favour an opposition-leaning candidate because like some polls have shown, voter apathy tends to be higher in areas where the ruling government has little support. The spokesperson of the EC, Jotham Taremwa, told The Observer on Tuesday that they are more than prepared to deliver a free and fair election

“All is ready as far as Thursday’s election is concerned, right from the ballot papers to the relevant forms and the training of our staff that will be conducting elections,” he said.

Taremwa added that the campaigns had largely been peaceful and EC hopes that the people of Kyadondo East and all the stakeholders will ensure a peaceful polling process. Taremwa urged the people to turn out in large numbers to vote for a candidate of their choice.

In a statement released on Tuesday, Crispy Kaheru, the coordinator of Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (Ccedu), said despite a few hiccups, they were satisfied with the conduct of the campaigns. They, however, noted that there was still potential for violence on election day.

“Ccedu implores stakeholders in Kyadondo East constituency, particularly political parties and candidates to exercise utmost restraint to ensure that the prevailing peaceful environment that has characterized much of the campaign period is maintained in the lead up to and after the June 29 2017 by-election. Ccedu calls upon political parties and candidates to urge their supporters to exercise maximum restraint in order to maintain a peaceful environment,” Kaheru noted.

Reporting by Edris Kiggundu, Jonathan Kamoga, Rebecca Mutonyi & Baker Batte Lule.

21 hours 10 min ago

Police in Kasangati, Wakiso District have arrested the independent candidate vying for Kyadondo East MP seat, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu popularly known as Bobi Wine.
Mr Kyagulanyi was on Tuesday arrested as he tried to address his supporters at Kasaganti where his last rally is scheduled to be today.
He was briefly detained at Kasangati police station before being whisked away to at Kira Division police after his supporters turned rowdy, demanding his release.

It is not yet clear whether Mr Kyagulanyi will be charged.

Police say Mr Kyagulanyi was earlier warned against using the venue because President Yoweri Museveni was about a kilometre away from his (Kyagulanyi's) campaign venue.
Mr Museveni is in the constituency to campaign for the NRM candidate Sitenda Sebalu.
But Mr Kyagulanyi's team contend that their candidate did not break any law because that where he was supposed to hold his last rally.

His supporters have stormed Kira Division police demanding for his release.

The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) candidate

The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) candidate Apollo Katinti addressing journalists at Besigye's home in Kasangati. Photo by Abubaker Lubowa

The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) candidate Apollo Katinti has also told journalists at Dr Kizza Besigye’s home in Kasangati that he was heading to Kira Police to demand for the release of Mr Kyagulanyi.
“It is absurd that police has arrested one of my competitors in the race for Kyadondo East. These are some of the reasons why court nullified my election. I’m going to police to demand for his release. It’s unacceptable,” said Mr Katinti.

1 day 19 hours ago

KAMPALA. As the campaigns in Kyadondo East reach the climax, the mood of supporters and candidates cannot get any vigorous.
Two long term political rivals, President Museveni and FDC’s Dr Kizza Besigye will today face off as they grace the last campaigns of their flag bearers Sitenda Sebalu and Apollo Kantinti respectively.

The two candidates were part of the campaigns in 2016 where Mr Kantinti won the poll but couldn’t sustain the seat as High Court nullified his election over irregularities.
The question of security and behaviour of the supporters of the two parties hangs in balance. Recently, supporters of the independent candidate, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine and Mr Sebalu’s exchanged blows and pelted stones when they used the same road.
However, this hasn’t been the only form of violence in the constituency during the campaigns. Several cases of supporters being attacked by opponents and tearing of candidates posters have been reported.

Tomorrow, Dr Besigye will lead a procession from his place in Kasangati through Kiteezi, Luteete to Wampeewo where President Museveni will be addressing the NRM supporters at the play ground.
When contacted about the deployments and security in the constituency, Mr Frank Mwesigwa, the commissioner in charge deployment for Kampala Metropolitan Police, said they are ready for today and Thursday.

“As we have been providing security to the NRM candidates and other candidates, we shall make sure we do so tomorrow,” he said.
He added: “We are not sure about the movements but we are getting back to the drawing board to make sure the supporters of two candidates use different routes to their rallies. We advise the candidates to talk to their supporters to desist from unnecessary clashes.”

Mr Kyagulanyi will finalise his campaigns in Bulamu, Wampeewo and Manyangwa Gayaza. Mr Muwada Nkunyinji, another independent FDC leaning candidate is expected to hold his last rallies in Kiteezi and Bulamu.
Mr Sowedi Kayongo, also an independent candidate, will traverse Manyangwa and Kiteezi on the final campaign day.

1 day 19 hours ago

An administrative dereliction of duty by Makerere University, led to the loss of over Shs 386 million, paid to retired staff in salaries - long after they had retired from duty the Auditor General's report for financial year 2015/2016 indicates.
 
"The University delayed to delete 14 retired members of staff from the payroll and as a result continued to pay the retired staff salary totalling to Shs 386,790,968 and there was no evidence of services provided by the retired staff," the report reads in part.
 
The report also faults the university management for incurring over-payment to staff totalling to Shs 172.5 million. According to the report, the amounts overpaid to staff included in the university financial statement under employment cost "were irregular and therefore should be recovered."
 
The report faults Makerere administration for failure to account for Shs 882.3 million advanced to university staff and colleges to carry out various activities.

The unaccounted for money was sent to the College of Computing and Information Science (COCIS), College of Natural Sciences (CONAS), College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES), School of Law and Presidential Initiative on Science and Technology projects.
 
"Paragraph 4.6.4 of Makerere University finance procedure manual, 2014 requires advances to be accounted for within fourteen (14) days of completion of the activity and in any case not later than 60 days…in the absence of relevant accountability documents, it was not possible to confirm that the funds were used for intended purposes," the report says.
 
On tuition collected from students for the financial year 2015/2016, the report shows that whereas the university cash book puts revenue collected from tuition and functional fees at Shs 86.6 billion, the financial statements indicated a figure of Shs 87.9 billion creating an unreconciled variance of Shs 1.1 billion.
 
"I was not provided with satisfactory explanation regarding this discrepancy. Under the circumstance, I am unable to establish the accuracy of the revenue reflected in the financial statements," the report reads.
 
After reviewing Makerere university revenue collection cycle, the AG also notes that "there is no clear trail to link a payment in a bank to the student ledger within the Integrated Tertiary Software (ITS) system" because bank transactions are identified with students number whereas ITS system uses student registration number. It was also discovered that payments in bank made by cheques or in blocks have to be manually posted in the Integrated Tertiary Software "creating a room for unauthorised changes."

1 day 19 hours ago

At least three students of Kacheera high school in Rakai district have been rushed to Mulago National Referral hospital in critical condition after being shot during a violent strike.

The injured students have been identified as Jackie Ahimbisibwe of Senior 3, Hassan Magara of Senior 2 and Boaz Ssewanja who is also in Senior 2. These students are part of those shot at during today's strike at the school stemming from the suspension of Fred Ssebowa, a teacher at the school.

It all started last week when authorities at the school suspended Ssebowa, the Senior 1 and 2 teacher to pave way for investigations over his alleged involvement in sexually abusing students.

On Thursday, the school management committee  led by John Magara, who is also the Kacheera sub-county LC3 chairperson, suspended Ssebowa.

The school management announced to the students that Ssebowa would not return to school unless he is cleared by the investigations. The students reacted by issuing a two-day ultimatum to either have him back in school or they cause trouble. The students dismissed allegations of sexual abuse saying they are baseless.

Today, when Ssebowa didn't show up to teach, students stormed the administration block demanding to know why he was not at school. They pelted stones at teachers forcing them to scamper for dear lives.

The angry students started destroying property forcing police to intervene, shooting indiscriminately. Police shot Hassan Magara in the groin area injuring him severely while Jackie Ahimbisibwe and Boaz Ssewanja were shot in the thighs. Bullets were still stuck in their thighs at the time medical officials at Lyantonde hospital referred them to Mulago hospital in Kampala.

Okoth Oboth, the Lyantonde hospital Medical Superintendent says by the time the students arrived at the hospital they were in very critical condition and the hospital could not attend to them. He says they instantly referred them to Mulago hospital.

Lameck Kigozi, the Greater Masaka region Police spokesperson has confirmed the incident saying more police had been deployed to contain the situation.

1 day 19 hours ago

The NRM treasurer, Rose Namayanja, last week launched a charity organisation: the Rose Namayanja Foundation.

On the face of it, its objectives are to uplift the social and economic status of the poor people of Nakaseke district. Beneath the surface, people close to Namayanja said, she could be using the foundation as a re-launch pad into parliamentary politics.

Namayanja, a former woman MP for Nakaseke, quit elective politics in 2015, having served in parliament for more than 15 years. She was then appointed NRM treasurer by President Museveni.

Muhammad Ggubya, the Nakaseke NRM chairman, told The Observer last week that the suspicion that Namayanja is plotting a political comeback is rife in the district.

“Suspicion is high among the voters and politicians as well. Many think that she is planning a political comeback and are looking at her activities with suspicion,” Ggubya said.

The organisation’s activities became visible at the beginning of this year, raising suspicion especially in the camps of Sarah Najjuma (Woman MP) and Paulson Semakula Luttamaguzi (Nakaseke South MP) that she could be eyeing their seats in the 2021 elections.

Rose Namayanja (2nd L) and Moses Byaruhanga (2nd R) at the launch of the foundation

Before last Thursday’s launch of her organisation at Bukatira Primary School near Semuto in Nakaseke, Namayanja had spent about six months quietly funding community projects such as construction of schools, health centres as well as distributing household items and farm implements.

Both Najjuma and Luttamaguzi skipped the June 22 event despite having been invited, according to Namayanja. Najjuma sent an apology that she was tied up with parliamentary work; an excuse that local political leaders failed to buy since she has previously expressed reservations about the NRM treasurer’s activities.

Her fears were not helped when some of her campaigners reportedly told her that if Namayanja’s renewed interest in the district meant her return in 2021, they had no option but to switch allegiance back to their former legislator.

In Najjuma’s absence, Mariam Kaberuka, who lost to the MP, saw an opportunity to position herself, just in case Namayanja means her word that she is out of elective politics.

Indeed, Kaberuka’s presence paid off when the district’s LC-V chairman Ignatius Koomu called her “to greet the people.”

In her speech, Namayanja denied that she was planning a political comeback, saying that the 15 years she served as an MP were enough.

NO COMEBACK

Namayanja, a founder member of the Uganda Young Democrats (UYD), the youth wing of the Democratic Party (DP), Uganda’s oldest political party, joined Parliament in 2001 as a youth MP for central Uganda.

When Nakaseke was carved off Luweero district ahead of the 2006 elections, she contested and won the Woman MP seat that she held until 2016. She had earlier declared that she would not be seeking re-election as MP, and many saw her as the next NRM secretary general.

Following the 2014 amendment of the NRM constitution giving the party chairman powers to appoint the secretariat’s leadership, the former minister was appointed the party’s national treasurer.

“As a person, you have given me a lot of support, and after 15 years in parliament, I felt that I had built capacity to serve at a different level,” Namayanja told her guests

She admitted that she had got a number of phone calls inquiring whether she was using the organisation as a launch pad for her 2021 political return. While she denied having interest in the Nakaseke politics, she said she will remain actively involved at the national level.

“My participation will be at the national level, not here [Nakaseke]. If it is politics in Nakaseke, I say no, but if it is development, yes, I will be here,” she said.

She further told The Observer that she does not intend to be a career politician like the likes of Alhajji Ali Kirunda-Kivejinja who have been actively involved in politics since their youthful days in the early 1960s.

“I joined politics to work with the communities. To me, it is just a passion to support others because I am also a product of a Good Samaritan who didn’t even know me,” Namayanja said.

Her dream, according to her organisation’s staff, is to become a sort of Ugandan philanthropist supporting mainly disadvantaged youths and women to get out of poverty.

“What is wrong with it? If it is what I am pursuing, so be it,” Namayanja said.     

She said that she drew her inspiration from George William Kiberu, a man who educated her when her parents failed to raise money for school fees at Light College Katikamu in the early 1990s.

“This project is beyond Nakaseke; it is a national organisation…it is a desire I have held for a long time and since I am now out of active politics, I can give it time without any fear that my activities will be tagged to politics,” she said.

THE LAUNCH

While her organisation’s reading materials and banners stated that the Rose Namayanja Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan and non-political organisation, proceedings last week showed otherwise.

For instance, the speech delivered by Moses Byaruhanga, a presidential assistant on political affairs, was more or less a 2021 campaign message for the ruling party.

Byaruhanga, who carried a cash donation of Shs 40m from President Museveni and another Shs 3m from the Office of the President staff, also warned NRM leaders against making public lamentations about failed government projects.

The presidential donation to the organisation will go towards the completion of Biddabugya health centre in Kasangombe sub-county, whose construction Namayanja was going to launch before she got involved in an accident in October 2015.

The health centre has since been listed among the organisation’s projects after the NGO that had offered to fund its construction in 2015 pulled out.

2 days 19 hours ago

Rebels fighting the South Sudan government in the southern parts of the country are recruiting fresh fighters from among refugees in different camps in northern Uganda, The Observer has learnt.

The rebels promise recruits better pay and lives. In multiple interviews on June 22 with refugees in Bidi Bidi refugee camp in the West Nile district of Yumbe, many said rebel agents from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army in the opposition (SPLA-IO) move from camp to camp targeting mainly youths in new settlement zones. Some of the youths are reportedly tasked to convince their peers to join the rebel ranks.

“They normally come in plain clothes driving a land cruiser and they say they are fighting for SPLA-IO. Last week, two of my friends were taken but I refused. They told me that I should think about it,” Taban Juma, a refuge, said.

Bidi Bidi is now Africa’s largest refugee camp as of March 2017, housing more than 270,000 refugees out of the 1.2 million living in the country. Joseph Amule, the Refugees Welfare Chairperson (RWC) of Bidi Bidi zone three (a position equivalent to a village chairperson), confirmed the recruitment, saying his office receives regular complaints about the illegal recruitment.

“I am not sure about the numbers but it is not only youth that are being taken. Even grown-up males are being recruited,” Amule said.

Refugees in Bidi Bidi camp line up to get water from a single outlet

Interviewed on Saturday, Brigadier Richard Karemire, the army spokesperson, told The Observer by telephone that the army is monitoring the situation.

“We are looking at coordinating with the camp’s administration to see that these illegal activities should not take place. We would not want refugees to engage themselves in something that is not in their mandate,” Karemire said.

FOOD, WATER CRISIS

Amule said the current food crisis in his zone makes refugees susceptible to recruitment.

“We don’t have enough food. It is two months now since we were served food. So many of these young people will fall for anything if it is for their survival,” Amule said.

Two months ago, refugees would be given 12 kilogrammes of maize flour or sorghum flour monthly, per head but this was reduced to six kilogrammes, which are also not delivered in time. 

Similarly, the zones used to receive three trips of water a day but these have also reduced to one. The refugees also complained about the small pieces of land they are given. They say they cannot grow food to supplement their monthly rations.

“The plots are small for both a house and a garden. Even when we are to have a garden, we wouldn’t plant because we don’t have seeds. Many of us want to pack our bags and go back to Sudan and die fighting rather than die of hunger here,” David Kepop said.

A representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), who declined to be named, said delays in delivery and reduction of food amounts are caused by the increasing number of refugees that pour into the country daily, stretching the demand for the few resources available.

Uganda currently receives 2,000 refugees from South Sudan daily. During the just-concluded Solidarity Summit for refugees in Kampala, donors pledged at least $358 million (Shs 1.2 trillion) to support Uganda’s efforts to host refugees.

However, the government says it needs at least $2 billion to deal with the recent influx of refugees.

2 days 19 hours ago

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