At least 11,472 people in Gulu City benefited from the COVID-19 relief cash that was distributed through the Office of the Prime Minister. The money was supposed to be disbursed to vulnerable Ugandans who were affected by the second COVID-19 lockdown, which started on June 6.
Gulu District LC 5 Chairperson, Martine Ojara Mapenduzi
Dozens of leaders in Gulu City are being investigated for
manipulating the processes and disbursement of the
COVID-19 relief cash.
At least 11,472 people in Gulu City benefited from the COVID-19
relief cash that was distributed through the Office of the Prime Minister. The money was supposed to be disbursed to vulnerable
Ugandans who were affected by the second COVID-19 lockdown, which started on June 6.
Each of the beneficiaries received 100,000 Shillings which was sent to their phones through Mobile Money platforms. But recently, the Local Governments Accounts Committee of Parliament discovered that leaders in Gulu manipulated the registration of the
beneficiaries to benefit their relatives and assistants.
Committee Chairperson Martin Ojara
Mapenduzi says that they are now investigating the former Layibi Division Chairperson Alfred Oluba who
benefitted as a lorry driver, Godfrey Oloya, an assistant to the Town Mayor who
camouflaged as a boda-boda motorcyclist, and David Tookwiny, a Town Agent in Kasubi
Weeks after the money was distributed, Justin Ochora, the Spokesperson of Gulu City Boda-boda
Association and Emmanuel Odongo of the Gulu City Special Hire Operators distanced themselves from the beneficiaries that were registered as boda-boda
and lorry drivers.
The committee also discovered that the money which was
meant for the vulnerable groups ended up in the hands of councillors, staff of the council, relatives to the city leaders, and former division mayors among other
politicians. These have now been summoned
by the Committee to answer to charges of fraudulently hijacking the data
Napak District Member of Parliament Faith Nakut Loru said she was shocked by the greed of the Gulu
City administration. But Gulu Resident City Commissioner Denis Odongpiny Odwong and
Christine Olok, the Gulu City Deputy Mayor have all blamed the anomalies on the
data clerks whom they say had full control over the list.
However, Gilbert Oloya, the Town Clerk Pece-Laroo division
blamed the anomalies on inadequate time for his office to undertake the
verification of the beneficiaries.
Emmy Daniel Ojara is a young journalist and has been practicing since 2013, during which he covered land rights violation in the contested Apaa and Lakang in Amuru as his first take ups while at Gulu Fm, Favor Fm and later Paidha Fm and Speak Fm where he is still attached.
Human rights abuses and denied access to land by security and government agencies has been the major aftermath of the contest over the lands. The underprivileged such as women, children and the elderly faced challenges in accessing soc