Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Leaders of the National Unity Platform-NUP party have scoffed at the government for failing to start the distribution of COVID-19 relief aid to vulnerable Ugandans as earlier promised.
The government through Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja announced at the start of a 42-day lockdown that it would give 100,000 Shillings to persons who were identified as vulnerable at a time when the country is struggling to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But the distribution which was supposed to start on Wednesday has since been postponed to next week following reports that a number of ‘‘ghost’ beneficiaries had been included on the list, leaving out millions of Ugandans who are hit hard by the ongoing lockdown.
On Tuesday, Gender Minister Betty Amongi said that the extension was due to the delays in uploading personal data about the said beneficiaries to the web system. In the process, the cabinet also resolved that the registration of beneficiaries should be conducted by officials of the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) and town clerks instead of local council leaders.
However, the opposition leaders are now accusing the government of mishandling the process. Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in Kamwokya, National Unity Platform Vice President for the Eastern region John Baptist Nambeshe questioned the criteria applied in choosing beneficiaries of the relief cash. According to Nambeshe, the registration was a fraud, orchestrated by the village local councils who opted to register non-vulnerable people as beneficiaries.
Mathias Mpuuga, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament said that the postponements are a sign of a failed system at a time when Ugandans are dying as a result of starvation. “You don’t need a PhD in common sense to know and find people who need food, now we have heard that they are organizing a function where they will launch the distribution of the money, this is unbelievable, the government is sleeping,” Mpuuga said.
Mpuuga further explains that the government should invest more in procuring vaccines instead of imposing lockdown restrictions, even when unsure about how long the virus will last.