Lira—9, August 2021: Relentless could best describe senior UPC stalwart, Dr Okello Dan. Widely known as “Uncle Dan”, he is not about to relinquish his fight against injustice on Ugandan farmers.
He is a strong proponent of the touted Maputo Protocol and has a track record of persistently reminding the Museveni administration on the need to appropriate at least 10% of the national budget to the agricultural sector, which has however not been the case in Uganda.
After a futile attempt to have a grip on the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government to commit and deliver on the Maputo Protocol, through a civil suit instituted at the High Court of Uganda, Dr Okello has now escalated the issue to the African Union.
He filed a case at the High Court in Uganda under civil suit number 100 of 2018, where he sued the Attorney General on behalf of the government.
But now the retired Makerere University political science Don says he is afraid he can no longer receive Justice from the High Court of Uganda, an interesting factor for his move to the African Union.
“That Dr. Okello Dan Vs Attorney General of Uganda Civil suit No. 100 of 2018 has been filed for a breach of Maputo Protocol in the High Court of Uganda because President Museveni himself was a signatory to the Maputo Protocol of 2003.That for a long time now the case cannot be heard and concluded. That I can see that there is no opportunity for the case to be heard in the High Court of Uganda, yet justice delayed is justice denied,” the petition reads in part.
At the Second Ordinary Assembly of the African Union in July 2003 in Maputo, African Heads of State and Governments endorsed the “Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in Africa” (Assembly/AU/Decl. 7(II)). The Declaration contained several important decisions regarding agriculture, but prominent among them was the “commitment to the allocation of at least 10 percent of national budgetary resources to agriculture and rural development policy implementation within five years.
A research carried out by the ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry between 2016 and 2019 shows that over 80% of households in Uganda are in one way or the other engaged in agriculture, which contributes to 26.2% of the national GDP and 53% of the total export earnings of Uganda.
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But according to Dr. Dan Okello, President Museveni has subjected over 80% of the people of Uganda who are peasant farmers to abject poverty with very low income status, abuse of human rights and corruption.
He further contends that Uganda is number one in human right abuse in Africa and number one in corruption in the world, adding that low funding to the agricultural sector accounts for rampant poverty, low levels of production, famine, poor yields, the collapse of cooperative movements, lack of storage facilities, among others.
The current chairman of the African Union is the President of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Felix Tshisekedi. Felix is Museveni’s best comrade.
Uganda passed a 44trillion shillings budget but agriculture saw a budget cut from 1.3 trillion in the financial year 2021/2022 to 799 billion sparking outrage from opposition politicians among whom is the Dokolo district woman MP Cecilia Ogwal.
The veteran female Lawmaker says she was concerned about the high budget allocations on consumption areas and less expenditure on the productive sector of the economy.
The then minister of State for Animal Industry, Bright Rwamirama, also queried the budget cuts in the agriculture sector. He said that purchase of seedlings, Northern Uganda economic recovery, purchase of agricultural inputs and other planned items are to be affected by the budget cuts.