By Ivan Mwine
Former presidential contender Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine, who is the National Unity Platform (NUP) principal, on Wednesday July 13, 2022, flagged off a consignment of food donation to people in Karamoja, to aid them in fighting the current starvation they are facing.
Bobi Wine handed over the foodstuffs that include 2.5 tonnes of beans and 2.5 tonnes of maize flour to the leaders from the sub-region at the party head office in Kamwokya, a Kampala suburb.
However, it should be noted that despite over 200 people being reported dead due to starvation, there has not yet been any government intervention through the ministry of Disaster Preparedness and Management, from the Ministry of Karamoja headed by Agnes Nandutu, or any other concerned authorities.
Some media reports indicate that on Tuesday, Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja, told legislators during a meeting that a consignment of 200 metric tonnes of relief food had been sent to Karamoja by the Prime Minister’s office.
However, had this been the case, the Prime Minister or anyone she delegated to handle the exercise would have been seen handing over the consignment to Karimojong leaders.
“This question of hunger crisis in Karamoja was discussed in Cabinet and the Finance ministry was tasked to urgently provide Shs135Bn to procure food relief for three months, including seeds for planting,” Nabanja reportedly said in a statement.
But it should be noted that Karamoja sub-region, which is located in north eastern Uganda, is a semi-arid area and one of the poorest regions in Uganda, yet it is also highly rich in precious minerals.
The latest data from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) indicates that all nine districts in Karamoja are classified in IPC Phase 3 (Crisis), meaning that half if not three quarters of the population is doomed to die of starvation.
According to a recent report by environmental conservation advocates Earth Journalism Network, “Karamoja is endowed with a vast array of metallic and industrial minerals that have the potential to be developed commercially. A 2011 survey found that the region contains over 50 minerals including gold, limestone, uranium, marble, graphite, gypsum, iron, wolfram, nickel, copper, cobalt, lithium, and tin.”
Only time will tell while people in a mineral-rich sub-region like Karamoja can be left by concerned authorities to starve to death, with little or no will to help them survive, yet Uganda is the Pearl of Africa, famed for being an agricultural hub.