Eastern Uganda worst hit by poverty, says report

A woman feeds her child. A new report shows poverty levels are on the rise in Eastern Uganda. File photo.

The Eastern region has the highest poverty levels, a new report released by Uganda Bureau Of Statistics UBOS indicates.

The figures released on Friday show that in 2012, the region’s poverty levels were at 24.5 per cent, but now stand at 35.7 percent, six years down the road.

While releasing the figures, UBOS executive director Ben Paul Mungyereza, however, said poverty levels remained the same elsewhere in the country, with the exception of northern Uganda where poverty levels declined from 43.7 percent in 2012 to 32.5 percent in 2017.

Norbert Mao, the DP president and former Gulu district chairman, however, disagreed with UBOS, arguing that poverty is still high in the north.

“We are just depending on relief aid. The entire region is characterized by low productivity, meaning very few people are engaged in cash economy,” Mao explained.

Northern Uganda suffered two decades of civil war by insurgencies commanded by elusive LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony.

Mao attacked the elites for not doing enough and instead using their positions to swindle funds meant to deliver people out of poverty.

Behind the figures
The UBOS findings indicate that poverty incidence remains higher in rural areas, contributing 86 per cent of the total poverty level while the urban areas are at 15 percent.

In 2012, Uganda had 6.7 million people living below the poverty line, decline from 8.4 million in 2005.

Why Eastern region
MPs from Eastern Uganda agree with the poverty report, arguing that they are supporting NRM government to share the national cake.

They attribute the poverty to politicking and the fragile Kenyan politics.

“We depend on agriculture but last year, the performance was poor. Soon, we are meeting the Prime Minister to address this issue,” James Waluswaka , Bunyole County West legislator, said.

Government admits
Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo also admitted that eastern Uganda was badly affected by poverty.

He, however, attacked UBOS for not doing good research when they failed to show the causes of poverty in the region.

“They should look at the nature of land, coupled with prolonged drought and poor methods of farming and use of poor inputs,” Opondo explained.



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