The NRM government established Affirmative Action Programmes (AAP) with the objective of uplifting or improving the lower socio-economic indicators in the deserving areas.
The areas covered by the Affirmative Action Programmes include: Luwero – Rwenzori Triangle; Northern Uganda; Teso; Karamoja; Busoga and Bunyoro with high poverty levels.
The implementation of this programme has contributed to the reduced poverty figures in these sub-regions as evidenced by the Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS), 2019/20 published by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) in 2020 which indicated improvements in the poverty levels between 2016 and 2020 as follows:
Northern Uganda (West Nile from 35% to 17%);
Bunyoro (from 17% to 10%);
25% to 22%)
Bukedi (from 44% to 35%)
Busoga (from 38% to 29%).
However, poverty levels
Acholi (from 33% to 68%)
Karamoja (from 60% to 66%)
Lango (from 16% to 23%)
Tooro (from 11% to 13%)
North Buganda (from 11% to 14%).
Thus, the continued prioritisation of interventions for the affirmative action regions by OPM till such a time when their poverty levels and other socio-economic indicators are at par with the rest of the country.
Poverty reduction in Busoga between 2021 -2026
What is even more interesting is that, Busoga is one of the areas recorded as having had its poverty levels reduced as a result of the Government Affirmative Action (GAA) plan.
However, they didn’t attempt to tell us when the GAA started being in the Busoga sub region.
To my recollection, the final node to an affirmative action for Busoga was in the FY of 2019/2020 and an amount of 7.5bn was allocated to the program which was being supervised by Minister Galabuzi for Luweero Triangle. We got to somehow know that the bulk of this money went into facilitating the re-election of the Kamuli District Woman MP.
Nothing has ever been said if there was any subsequent money release to the program for the FY 2020/2021.
However, we now know that for the FY 2021/2022 an amount of 4.5bn was released and that is the money that the Busoga MPs resolved to be used to buy them hoes which they distributed to their voters.
The subsequent release for the FY 2022/2023 of another 4.5bn is also what the MPs of Busoga have resolved for buying iron sheets and more hoes for the currently ongoing distribution in Busoga.
Therefore, it becomes very dazzling to see that this kind of so-called affirmative action intervention is attributed to what has brought about an amazing reduction in Busoga’s poverty levels from 38% to the reported 29% within the reporting period between 2021-2026!
Surely can the giving out of hand held hoes that was done last year in 2022 to very few selected farmers be able to have brought the poverty levels that drastically down?
Common sense dictates that as leaders, we need to be logical, truthful and realistic, lest we shall only be in the trap of the adage of a floating water lilly.
Increasing poverty levels in Northern Uganda
As for the government affirmative action in Northern Uganda, there are good intriguing questions that arise.
The question now must be asked as to why the levels of poverty have continued to rise particularly in the Acholi and Lango sub regions where the affirmative action programs have been implemented for over 20 years?
These are areas where several government interventions have been carried out including the following:
Interestingly with all the trillions of money sunk in Northern Uganda under the various forms of intervention, poverty in Acholi and Lango is said to just be in reading.
Poverty in Busoga where there has been only 4.5bn injected in only one FY is said to have dropped by 3%.
You wonder what could be the deal here in these figures?