By Xavier joreen
The Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, has directed the Executive to present to the House a status report on the ongoing distribution of food to the 1.5m people that were targeted in Kampala and Wakiso districts in the wake of the lockdown imposed over Covid-19 outbreak.
Parliament on April 8, passed a Shs284b Supplementary Budget to help the Ministry of Health and other ministries in responding to Covid-19.
The package included Shs59b to the Office of the Prime Minister to procure food to supply to what government described as vulnerable poor, whose daily income had been curtailed by the lockdown.
“Government owes us an explanation on how far we have gone (on the distribution of food). We need an answer as soon as possible,” the Speaker directed, before adjourning the House.
Ms Kadaga, who last week accused the Executive and the Judiciary of attacking Parliament because of the Shs20m each MP received off the Covid-19 cash to help fight the pandemic in their constituencies, was responding to a matter of national importance raised by Rubaga North MP Moses Kasibante.
Mr Kasibante told Parliament that despite government promising to give 6kgs of maize flour and 3kgs of beans to each of the 1.5m people at the start of the lockdown on April 1, the biggest part of Rubaga Division had not been covered.
“Rubaga Division has a population of about 1m people. At least 99 per cent of the people I represent sleep on empty stomachs. This food relief has not reached even one per cent of the people,” Mr Kasibante said.
He said as an MP, he has been overwhelmed by voters who knock on his gate asking for food because they have not been supplied by the government.
Mr Kasibante also said the government needs to explain the whereabouts of other items such as eggs and cooking oil that have been donated to the national taskforce by well-wishers.
The Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Ms Betty Aol Ocan, also reported that some of the areas of Kawempe North, especially Mpererwe where she stays, have not received food from the OPM.
Ms Kadaga also reiterated her earlier directive to MPs to use the Shs20m each received to buy food for their constituents because government has not yet planned to feed them. She told them to defy the guidance of President Museveni and the court order, which all required them not to spend the money themselves.
“Follow the guidelines given to you by this House. There are so many directives but please use the money to feed your people,” Ms Kadaga said.
Last week Mr Museveni asked the MPs to take the money to district taskforce or national task force because they are not “purchasing officers” and that they fell into a “trap” by given themselves money.