Members of Parliament debate the issue of locust invasion in Uganda.
During the parliament sitting on of 12th January 2020, MPs raised concerns about how the government is responding to locust invasion. Hon. Atiku Benard informed the House that he had read in the News Papers that the chemicals which were procured to fight the locusts were not effective. He said this could be a wastage of the money which has been advanced.
According to media reports, a budget of Shs15 billion had been set aside as contingency to fight the spread of locusts in Uganda. An additional budget of 7 billion has also been put in place for hiring, maintenance and remuneration of the aircrafts and personnel which is an expensive activity as an aircraft is hired at 120,000 dollars per month. Pilots and engineers are also paid highly like those in commercial flights as it is a competitive industry
While suggesting possible measures to fight the locusts in Uganda, Hon. Okupa Elijah said that the issue should be a simple one and does not need spraying. ‘We should have told the people that a kilogram of locusts is 5000 shillings, they would be no more by now.’ He asserted.
Hon. Akello Lucy reminded the members that from a Biblical perspective, when the locusts attacked Egypt, it was because the King had hardened his heart and it was a form of punishment. He opined that it is time for the leaders in the country to reflect and examine themselves. Hon. Medard Sseggona suggested that is time to utilise the available resources such as teargas to fight the locusts. ‘If we teargas them, can they really survive?’ he asked.
The Speaker of Parliament Rt. Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, asked Government to give an explanation on the issue of locusts in the country observing that there was no clear information and the Members were debating basing on the speculations.
Hon. Rwamirama Bright, Minister of State for Defence and Veteran Affairs, while explaining to the members noted that the locust invasion should not be taken as an issue for only Uganda but rather as a regional issue and an international issue. He informed Parliament the soldiers from Uganda People’s Defense Forces are in Karamoja region supporting the team spraying the locusts. He assured the Members that the invasion will be contained since the Government is making arrangements to conduct an Ariel spray. He added that the chemicals being used to kill the locusts are the recommend ones and have been used elsewhere and therefore, they will not be harmful to the people.