UPC tells gov’t to have contingency plan and budget for disasters

Locals in Bududa during landslides last year. Inset in UPC's Orach addressing media on Wednesday.

Kampala Just less than five days when Office of the Prime Minister announced recommendations to Ugandans as first season rains start – Uganda People’s Congress [UPC] party has added its voice to that of government.

In a press statement to all media houses, Martin Owor – Commissioner Disaster Preparedness and management in the Office of the Prime Minister, says first season rains have begun and it will be heavy and above normal.

“In the coming days, massive floods and landslide are expected in sub-regions of Elgon, Rwenzori and Kigezi. People should not be caught unaware,” Mr Owor added.

Addressing media at Uganda House in Kampala on Wednesday, UPC spokesperson Mr Michael Osinde Orach calls upon communities to be cautious of the impending disasters in terms of floods and landslides that may occur.

“Our brothers and sisters on Mt Elgon, Rwenzori and other areas that are often affected should take precaution in advance. We also call upon government to do enough sensitization at the community level beyond the announcement in Kampala so that our people are well prepared,” Jimmy Akena’s led UPC, demands.

Mr Orach, also says unlike locusts which come once in many years, “we have been with these floods year in year out.”

“Government should have a contingency plan for disasters that should be updated regularly, backed up with a contingency budget; it should be set aside, adequate, reasonable, predictable and usable at short notice with adequate safeguards to avoid misuse and diversions,” the opposition political party, added.

With agriculture sector allocated paltry amount of budget each fiscal year, opposition party bashed government for breaching Maputo Protocol of 1993 in which Uganda is a signatory.

In that conference, each nations were urged to allocate each fiscal year at least 10% of their total budget to agricultural sector. UPC adds that in Uganda this target has not been met, with sector budget “often swinging between 3% and 4% over last one decade or more”.

Agriculture contributes about 25% to GDP, with over 70% labour force, Congress party further noted.

Last year, Dr Dan Okello [PhD] a former Makerere University lecturer said he was suing government for breaching Maputo Protocol.

Mr Okello who’s a UPC party member, loyal to a faction headed by Peter Walubiri, and the 2021 presidential aspirant, said then, “We demand an immediate supplementary increase in budget allocation to the agricultural docket to reflect at least 10 percent of the total budgetary allocation for the current financial year 2018/2019.”

Using his lawyer, Innocent Omara of Omara and Company Advocates, the plaintiffs [Dr Okello and others] issued a statutory notice of intention to sue the Attorney General on behalf of government if their demand for the 10 percent funding increment to the agricultural sector was not met.

“That all time materials to this case, the plaintiffs are citizens and farmers resident in Uganda……..that we intend to sue the government of Uganda…..” the press statement released then, reads.

The Akena led-UPC, meanwhile, has also advised government to develop a policy approach that would enable farmer population to invest this surface flowing water, rain water – store it for use during dry spells for irrigation and general farming activities.

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