Uganda: 1,000 Get Food Rations As Hopes of Cash Relief Fade

The director of Seroma Foundation, Dr Margaret Ssekidde (2nd left), with partners during the food distribution exercise in Kisugu, Makindye Division in Kampala.

"Every single morning, I wake up to hungry faces in my compound," Dr Margaret Ssekidde, the director of Seroma Foundation, told this newspaper minutes before distributing an assortment of foodstuffs to about 1,000 vulnerable people in Makindye Division, Kampala.

In an attempt to deal with the hunger problem induced by the 42-day Covid-19 lockdown, Dr Ssekidde reached out to Tororo Cement and Kampala Salt for partnership, which she duly received.

As a result of the collaboration, the 1,000 residents from Kisugu, Kibuli, Wabigalo, Namuwongo, Kasanvu and Kiwuliriza, selected by their respective local council leaders, were handed food stuffs such as sugar, rice, maize flour and salt.

Each resident, according to Dr Ssekidde, was entitled to between 3kg and 10kg each of sugar, rice and maize flour, depending on the size of their family.

But the plan slightly changed after more than the planned 1,000 residents showed up at St Stephen Church playground in Kisugu where the distribution was taking place on Saturday.

Those earlier not selected by their local lenders couldn't be turned away because they all looked vulnerable and needy, and the organisers chose to give them a little of the foodstuffs.

Starting point

Dr Ssekidde said whereas the initiative will not solve the problem of hunger, she stressed that it is a starting point, especially in these unprecedented times of the Covid-19 pandemic, urging more Good Samaritans to step up and be counted.

In total, 6,000kg of rice, 7,000kg of maize flour, 400kgs of sugar, and1,000 sachets of salt were handed to the residents, many of whom said they haven't yet received the Shs100,000 cash relief from government.

"I am a vulnerable person. And I haven't been working since the second lockdown was instituted. I haven't received any penny from what the government promised to give us three weeks when I was registered," Ms Innocent Baguma, a resident of Namuwongo, told Daily Monitor.

Ms Edith Biira, a resident of Kasanvu slum, also said she was still waiting for the government cash, having been registered.

Ms Mariam Nanono of Kisugu Upper Zone, said: "Mukyala Nabbanja tukyamubanja" - loosely translated as "we still owe you madam (Prime Minister Robinah) Nabbanja."

Ms Nabbanja is coordinating the Shs100,000 relief cash disbursement, which started on July 6.

According to a representative of the elderly in Kisugu Upper Zone, Mr Sam Semagene, none of the 125 vulnerable and elderly persons registered for Shs100,000 cash payment has received it so far.

The area chairperson, Mr Frank Kinyatta, said of the 600 people who he registered for the cash, none had received.

The revelation is in line with a recent Daily Monitor survey in Kiira Municipality, Wakiso District, which indicated that most people registered for the government's cash relief are yet to receive the money.

However, Ms Nabbanja told Parliament last week that the records of 413,504 beneficiaries had been submitted to Post Bank by July 20 and paid, which represents 82.5 per cent.

She, however, explained that a total of 87,603 beneficiaries had not been paid because they failed the verification exercise.

Status on cash relief

Ms Nabbanja told Parliament last week that the records of 413,504 beneficiaries had been submitted to Post Bank by July 20 and paid, which represents 82.5 per cent. She, however, explained that a total of 87,603 beneficiaries had not been paid because they failed the verification exercise.

"Of the 501,107 records submitted to the ministry, a total of 87,603 records did not pass the verification requirements by the telecom database," Ms Nabbanja said.

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