PAKWACH. The residents of Pakwach district have questioned the criteria used for selecting the beneficiaries of the Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), a government program aimed at alleviating poverty.

Locals claim that potential beneficiaries of projects such as cattle restocking and distribution of various crops have been sidelined by officials of OWC.

The concern was raised during the presentation of the findings of the production department while concluding the famous ‘Pakwach we want who is responsible?’ campaign on Friday.

According to Mr. Patrick Oloya, the chairperson Jonam development foundation (JDF), some people benefit from OWC inputs because of their political affiliation.

He added that the community of Wadelai and Alwi registered a high number of marginalization and distribution imbalances resulting from the distribution of OWC inputs.

Oloya observed that in some instances, cases of bribing OWC officials to become beneficiaries of the program have been common in Pakwach. He said they are now recommending quick investigations into the alleged extortion from the poor.

Ms. Jatina Ozelle, the female councilor representing Wadelai sub-county said it is unfortunate to ignore the population of Wadelai yet the area is gifted with rich fertile soil.

She suggested that animals distributed under the program should be tagged to curb cases of double acquisition.

Ms. Jane Berochan, the deputy chairperson Pakwach town council expressed dissatisfaction over the numerous reports of inequitable distribution of OWC inputs.

"In my opinion, let the program be decentralized to sub-counties and town councils so that the local leadership identifies the truly needy people on the ground," she said.

Berochan noted that the program is struggling to achieve its intended purpose due to the imbalances in its operation.

But in response, Mr. Michael Oloya, the district production officer dismissed the allegations of favoring some beneficiaries, saying the district normally depends on the lists submitted by the respective sub-counties.

He said according to the selection guidelines, a farmer who is to receive an animal should be in a position to feed and treat it.

"It is not that you are supposed to be rich to qualify for an animal under OWC but you should be in a position to have a moderate fund to take care of it so that it doesn’t die in your hands," Oloya explained.