Parliament adopts motion on State of Emergency over famine
Parliament has adopted a motion to urge government to declare a state of emergency in the most affected famine affected districts.
This comes after lawmakers from Lango sub-region as well as Teso and Karamoja flanked by Monica Amoding (NRM-Kumi) concvinced the House over delay by government to equitably distribute relief food in affected arears
Amoding attracted unanimous support from all legislators as she asked government to declare a national disaster so as to attract support from foreign aid.
“Most of the people of the affected areas are surviving on a single meal per day under the watch of government,” Amoding said.
Supporting the motion, the Speaker Rebecca Kadaga said that it was upon government to implement the House’s decision or abandon it.
“The cabinet has a responsibility to declare or not to declare but you have a responsibility to support the people of this country to get food,” she said.
Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, the Prime Minister failed to fight the motion.
“Government is confronting this difficult situation, head on…and we are in charge and the country is feeding normally…so this motion should be defeated,” the Prime Minster said.
In his statement, Mr Hillary Onek, the Minister of Disaster Preparedness, told Parliament that famine has spread to over 5.5 million people up from 3.5 million in January.
The Minister also stated that, government efforts to feed the hungry are facing hardships due to inadequate funding.
“I definitely share with you the sentiment on the suffering of our people where there is hunger, particularly where the conditions are extreme,” Onek added.
The worst affected areas are Northern Teso districts of Katakwi, Amuria, Soroti and Kaberamaido.
Minister Onek also blamed the financial crisis to support food relief to failure by the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development to operationalize the contingency fund as provided for under the Public Finance management Act.
Before the motion was adopted, Mr Mwesigwa Rukutana, the Deputy Attorney General cautioned parliament on the implications of the State of Emergency saying that it can develop into unprecedented developments in the post Bush-war era.
“During a State of Emergency government is at liberty to suspend or change some functions of the judiciary and legislature and it is usually used to cripple all rights of the citizens guaranteed in the constitution and other international declarations of rights,” he said.
The Attorney General also said that State of Emergencies are used by dictatorial regimes to suppress certain rights.