KOBOKO. The members of the Koboko district council, civil servants, sub-county officials and their relatives were the majority beneficiaries of last year’s cattle restocking programme, a leaked list of at least 180 beneficiaries has shown.
Strangely the leaders camouflaged as youths and elders while others were listed as sick and polygamous officers were registered as widowers and their wives as widows.
Koboko district chairman Mr Hassan Saidi Nginya who was registered as an elder admitted that over 40 politicians and civil servants received heifers last year but had no explanation as to why they had to disguise their identity.
The cattle restocking programme is an initiative of the government to increase the cattle population in the Northern region that suffered war by supplying cattle to poor citizens.
“My selection was an outcome of a technical process that I did not participate in,” Nginya told the West Nile Web in an interview.
Both Nginya and leader of the opposition, Mr Ashraf Mambu of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party confirmed that they received one heifer each last year and urged the people not to politicize the matter.
“It is good for leaders to benefit from such programmes so that they are exemplary and know what they are going to monitor out there,” Nginya said.
The chairman faulted the members of his community for reportedly selling some of the cows previously given to them under the operation wealth creation programme.
He also emphasized hard work saying they need to struggle to look for their own things so as to eliminate dependency syndrome because of such free donations from the government.
Mr Stephen Onzima, the Koboko district production officer who oversaw the distribution exercise declined to comment saying he feared reprimand from the chief administrative officer.
Mr Emmanuel Olaboro Ujuku, the deputy chief administrative officer also declined to speak on the matter.
When contacted on phone over the matter, the state minister for Northern Uganda, Ms Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny who delivered the cattle to the district expressed surprise that the cattle meant for vulnerable people like widows, persons with disability (PWDs), women, youth and orphans ended up enriching well-to-do leaders.
"I don’t know why leaders got heifers. I know it is the women, orphans, widows and PWDs as the real beneficiaries when I was there handing over the cattle,” the minister said.
About 400 heifers in two batches were supplied to Koboko district under the restocking programme in 2018.