Parliament Asks Govt to Declare State of Emergency over Hunger

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In short
Parliament this evening passed a motion seeking to declare a state of emergency in the country over the hunger. The Legislators unanimously voted in favour of a motion moved by Kumi Woman Member of Parliament Monica Amoding, stating that Government has failed to handle the situation and people are suffering from hunger.

Parliament has passed a motion seeking to declare a state of emergency in the country over the hunger.

The Legislators voted in favour of a motion moved by Kumi Woman Member of Parliament Monica Amoding, stating that Government has failed to handle the situation and people are suffering from hunger. She added that scores of people have already lost lives to famine across the country yet others are surviving on less than a meal a day.

Amoding said the ministry has failed to live to its pledge to feed Ugandans in the districts most affected by hunger between February and April 2017. She adds that even the most affected districts have only received meager portions of food.

Disaster Preparedness Minister Eng. Hillary Onek told Parliament that famine has spread to over 5.5 million people up from 3.5 million in January. The worst affected areas are the districts of Katakwi, Amuria, Soroti and Kaberamaido, where residents have resorted to eating white ants and wild plants.

According to the January 2017 National Food Security Assessment Report, at least 10 million Ugandans face food insecurity. Of these, 1.3 million are in dire need of food aid.

Amoding said declaring a state of emergency would mean more support for Ugandans affected by hunger.

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Declaring a State of Emergency is provided for under  Article 110 of the 1995 Constitution. The article stipulates that a State of Emergency can be declared when Uganda is threatened by war or external aggression, when the security or the economic life of the country is threatened by internal insurgency or natural disaster or which render necessary the taking of measures which are required for securing the public safety, the defence of Uganda and the maintenance of public order and supplies and services essential to the life of the community.

The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga stated that the issue of hunger in Uganda has been there since August last year, and further delay would mean the situation could get worse. She says now that parliament has done its part, it is expected that Cabinet also plays its role to ensure people get food.

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Felix Okot Ogong, the Dokolo South MP says many Ugandans are starving and are at risk of death. He says parliament should propose the declaration of the emergency and leave it to cabinet and the president to decide.

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Relief and Disaster Preparedness minister Hillary Onek stated that more funds are needed to support the affected districts. Onek says in many cases delivery of relief food was made, but another question could be whether the actual beneficiaries are actually getting the items.

He says the food crisis is hopefully going down by end of May, stating that Government is delivering food continuously. He says Government needs up to 123 billion Shillings for the next one and a half months to feed Ugandans.

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Ann Maria Nankabirwa, the Kyankwanzi Woman MP had, however, said there is no need to declare a state of emergency since the country has not yet reached there. She says Government is committed to making the situation better.

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Kaps Hassan Fungaroo, who moved to support the motion said there is a problem of giving refugees in West Nile food and money which makes the market price higher for locals to purchase food. He says people who are giving food should be encouraged.

Fungaroo said that at this moment, even political parties should be allowed to give food.

The Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana advised the House against declaring a state of emergency saying Government was managing the situation.

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.