The President wore his best ‘pained expression’ as he looked around at all the stick thin people around him. “My fellow Africans and indeed good citizens of Somalia; it is unfortunate that this famine is threatening to wipe all of you out. Unfortunate because back home in Uganda, the fields are flourishing…”
“No Mr. President” whispered his most trusted aide who was by now perspiring in shame. “We are actually in Teso. It is a district in Uganda mind you…” at which point the president amended his speech and cut and paste the word Teso where previously was Somalia.
It has been a while since Uganda got associated with severe famine. Sure biting poverty does still rage on but an actual calamity where famine was killing off people like an epidemic has been out of the news for a while.
The famine in Eastern Uganda, Teso to be exact, which has claimed about 35 lives, has taken many of us by surprise. Some of us even first heard of it during the momentary gasps for air as we took a break from stuffing our already bulging stomachs. It is sad and we should be ashamed.
But not as ashamed as Andrew Bageire, Minister of State for Agriculture, and Tarsis Kabwegere, Minister of Relief and Disaster Preparedness who tried to water down this fiasco; Bageire by saying that the people of Teso were paying this heavy price for being lazy spending most of their time drinking ajon (local brew) instead of growing and stockpiling food and Kabwegere by insisting on describing it as a “food shortage” but not famine. (source; Observer)
Bageire also implied that their (Itesot) otherwise avoidable situation was compounded by the unpredictable weather changes because his ministry last month released sh910m to the Teso region for planting materials. His boss the President picked up on this and tried to ride on this as well going a step further to blame the Entebbe meteorological centre. Apparently these guys did not predict the drought. So then he called the guy at the weather center
“Hello? Yea. So then you are the manager of the weather station? ”
"Yes. We expect light showers around the lake Victoria region with sunshine expected at the source of the Nile. The rest of the country will be relatively…"
“Listen to me. I am the president calling. How come you did not predict sunshine and drought in Teso? Now my ministers are here looking foolish…”
"Is that true Mister President? How weird! Only last year there were floods. I never thought that all that water would have dried out by now. “
All this nonsense has not gone down well with the area MPs especially the females who walked out of parliament in protest over the insensitivity of the likes of Bageire and Kabwegere (read men) in reacting to this disaster. Tears rolled down the cheeks of two female MPs Rose Akol [Bukedea] and Akiror Agnes Egunyu [Kumi] in what was a grieving demonstration of the emotional toll of the famine. (SOurce; Daily Monitor)
Some industrious person was seen collecting those tears to go and try to produce food and water from it.
Only last night at 8:00pm in a posh house in Kololo, a frustrated mother is trying to force feed beef to his son who just had a chicken sandwich for an evening snack with a gold spoon. In Teso, a starved rainmaker can be heard over the cries for food asking for five kilos of meat before he can summon the rains.
Note; the writer has done absolutely nothing towards contributing to the famine victims. There is a Help famine victims corner at Garden City that I intend to make good use of after beating myself up in shame.