MPs & Ministers engage in a bitter fight over distribution of 18 Million hoes

MPs Silas Aogon, Susan Amero and Ashraf Olega, addressing a press conference at Parliament on Friday

A row has erupted between legislators and ministers over the distribution of the 18 million hand hoes, which President Yoweri Museveni pledged ahead of the 2016 general election for six million households countrywide.

The lawmakers, majority from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), argue that instead of the Office of the Prime Minister and the agriculture ministry giving them a lead role in the distribution of the hoes, Government is working exclusively with ministers, a move MPs say directly undermines their influence in the constituencies where the hoes are being currently distributed.

Last week, the Government started the distribution of 800,000 hand hoes to households, mainly in the northern and West Nile region, targeting mainly farmers within districts that missed out on the tractors.

Ahead of the 2021 general election, the NRM lawmakers, who accuse the government of sidelining them, argue that the distribution of the hoes would have been ideal for them to milk political capital.

Addressing journalists at Parliament on Friday, SylviaAkello, the Woman MP for Otuke district, tasked the agriculture minister and the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, with explaining why the distribution of hoes had been exclusively reserved for ministers.

“If this is how we are going to fulfill the manifesto by giving hoes to ministers, especially to those without constituencies, then we do not know what is happening? The Prime Minister should come out and explain,” she said.

Susan Amero, the Woman MP for Amuria District, also attacked ministers distributing hoes for what she described as “tarnishing” the political careers of MPs.

“Why should ministers who have received hoes go around tarnishing our names that hoes were given to all MPs and that some of us have sold off the hoes, instead of delivering them,” she said.

Bubulo West County MP appealed to the Government to involve lawmakers within the hoes distribution chain.

The distribution of hoes is being implemented by the Office of the Prime Minister, with the supervision and the monitoring under the Office of the President, by the NRM manifesto implementation unit.

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Patrick Luwagga is the editorial director of cross-platform content for UGANDANZ. He works across the newsroom and with business partners to drive and develop ambitious editorial projects that include digital journalism, video, data research, polling, live events, and thought-leadership series that are supported by outside underwriting. As executive director, he is responsible for the creation of Political news section, prior to joining UGANDANZ, Patrick was the chief editor for the national weekly news magazine of Kasese Times. In that role, he covered several presidential elections, wrote and produced two television documentaries, and was a regular commentator on television and radio news programs. Patrick was born in Masaka and grew up in Kasese. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Makerere University where he was a Knight Foundation journalism fellow.