KAMPALA — Members of Parliament from the border districts have asked Government to provide an alternative source of livelihood if it plans to keep the 42 districts under lockdown.
MPs said they were disheartened that during his 19th address on the Coronavirus pandemic, the President did not mention anything related to opening up border districts whose operations have been banned for four months.
Hon Godfrey Macho (NRM, Busia Municipality), said the situation in Busia was devastating, claiming that at least four of his constituents had died due to hunger. He called on Government to urgently provide relief food to the people in the border districts.
“Yesterday when the President was making his address, I did not hear anything about border districts yet our people are dying. In Busia I know people who have died due to hunger; we better have an alternative for border districts that have not been working since March,” said Macho.
His counterpart from Amuru district, Hon Gilbert Olanya (FDC, KIlak South) said that it will be untenable for low income earners who he said are the majority in his district to go for extra months of no business and survive. He implored the President and the Minister of Health to move faster in addressing the plight of people in the border districts.
“Some of us who come from border districts were left wondering after the President’s address! People do not know what to do; let the President and the Minister come up clearly, if possible in two or three days, and tell people what to do,” he said.
The Government Chief Whip, Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa, pledged to bring the proposal to prioritize border districts in the next phase of relief food distribution to the attention of Cabinet.
“Having listened to the outcry from border districts, we can ask Government to prioritise border districts. I am making an undertaking to inform the Prime Minister to concentrate on all these districts,” said Nankabirwa.
She told Parliament that the Office of the Prime Minister was ready to present a paper on Phase II of relief food distribution for communities that have been affected by Covid-19, and that the matter will be handled at the next Cabinet meeting.
The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, tasked Nankabirwa, to update Parliament on the Government response towards food insecurity in the border districts next week.