Demands for Charcoal as Gov’t Kicks Distribution of Relief Food

PM Dr Ruhakana Rugunda flags the distribution of relief food. || Photo: Uganda Media Centre

After nearly six hours of waiting, dwellers of Kisenyi slum in Kampala’s Bwaise suburb finally received relief food items, delivered by UPDF soldiers, police officers and Local Defence Unit (LDU) personnel who formed the bulk of the manpower delivering the foodstuffs.

Prime Minister, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda flagged off four truckloads of relief food from his office premises in Kampala as part of government’s response targeting vulnerable families in Kampala city and Wakiso district whose supply chain was cut off by government measures to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Each of the identified families will receive a package containing 6 Kgs of maize flour, 3 Kgs of beans and salt. Besides, breastfeeding mothers and the sick will receive 2kg of powdered milk and 2kg of Sugar.

From OPM, the relief items were driven to Global Junior School, Kawempe – Ttula from where the distribution teams picked it to begin door-to-door distribution. But bureaucracies delayed the exercise as Kampala Ministers Betty Amongi and her junior, Benny Namugwanya Bugembe argued with local leaders over the distribution modalities.

Some of the local leaders had been waiting from as early as 8 a.m. until after 3 pm when the government officials got ready to kick off the exercise.

Many local leaders left dejected after they were told that food could not reach their areas since it had got late. The distribution nonetheless went on in zones such as Kulumba and Kisenyi which are neighbouring the distribution centre.

Sarah Nakalema, a mother of three couldn’t hide her happiness as she received 30kgs of maize flour and 15 kgs of maize. Despite her happiness, the consignment, to her was missing something; charcoal.

“The government should as well send us charcoal because there is no way we are going to buy it since we are not working,” Nakalema said.

Earlier, while flagging off the exercise, Rugunda said that the distribution teams will move from door-to-door to avoid crowds that could facilitate the spread of the coronavirus.

“To ensure social distancing, the food relief will be house to house, door to door. There will be no lining and if we detect any form of crowding, the distribution will be suspended,” Rugunda said.

Rugunda said that the government insisted on giving relief food to the needy in Kampala and Wakiso because they are the ones less likely to find food during the ongoing lockdown.

He said that the government at a later stage will distribute food to all hospitals in the country, orphanages and barracks.

Additional reporting by SADAB KITATTA

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