The Prime Minister, Ms Robinah Nabbanja, has rejected an assortment of relief items donated to flood victims in Kasese District, saying they are sub-standard.
The items included 40,000kgs of maize flour, 20,000kgs of beans, 2,000kgs of sugar, 2,000 tarpaulin, 1,350 jerricans, 1,000 basins,100 cartons of laundry soap, 1,000 mosquito nets, 100 blankets, and 100 mats.
“Kasese District is not a dumping ground, I have rejected blankets and mosquito nets because they are substandard. The supplier must bring good ones, these are the things that paint a bad image for our government,” Ms Nabbanja said on Tuesday, shortly after arriving in the district.
She ordered government officials to return the items to Kampala but accepted the food items after castigating her team.
“I want the items that I have rejected to be taken back to Kampala, and let the supplier bring better ones. I am going to the Ministry of Health to get better mosquito nets,” Ms Nabbanja said.
She, together with other ministers, including Mr Hilary Onek (Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees) and Mr Godfrey Kabyanga (State for ICT and National Guidance) were in the district to assess the situation and devise a response plan.
Locked in meetings
Officials from the Office of Prime Minister (OPM) were yesterday reportedly engaged in closed-door meetings to handle the issue, which sources said could see heads roll.
Ms Nabbanja, Mr Onek, and the OPM spokesperson, Mr Julius Mucunguzi, did not respond to our repeated calls.
A source said the officials were locked up in a meeting, and, therefore, were not in position to speak.
“The Prime Minister and her team are in a meeting to discuss what happened in Kasese. Don’t be surprised that some people may be fired over that,” the source said.
Asked who had supplied the items, the source said: “They are the usual suspects. Haven’t you heard about Pegasus [software]? What if they are tapping my calls and they know I am the one who gave you the details? I am not telling you who the supplier is.”
The supplier, whose identity was not readily available, handed over the supplies to the Kasese chief administrative officer. While in Kasese, the Prime Minister also visited Kilembe and Muhokya internally displaced camps and Kanyangeya where she said government was in the final stages to resettle displaced people.
Ms Nabbanja, however, accused the leaders of inflating the numbers of the affected people.
The district disaster committee report shows that 1,663 were affected.
“The government is going to buy land to resettle displaced people, but the report I got about the numbers of the affected persons is different from what is on ground. We shall do verification before resettling people,” she said.
Mr Onek said the district leaders should look for land around so that government negotiates with the owners and buys it .
The district chairman, Mr Elifazi Muhindi Bukombi, is optimistic that the intervention will help the displaced.
“I am hopeful that Kasese’s problems of floods are going to have solutions because the Prime Minister has intervened,” he said.
When President Museveni visited the district last month, he promised that displaced people will be relocated.