The first cows to be distributed under the Operation Wealth Creation programme in the northern district of Lira were given exclusively to ruling NRM party chairpersons and cadres.
Recently, the district procured 300 Friesian cows under the programme, which is being implemented by the army. However, the cows were distributed to NRM party sub-county chairpersons, mobilisers and some key opinion leaders.
The beneficiaries include Patrick Okwir, the NRM chairperson Barr sub-county David Oketch (Amach sub-county), Richard Okello (Agweng sub-county), Tom Okello Owani (Aromo sub-county) and Dick Ogwal (Adyel sub-county).
Opinion leaders include Lango paramount chief Yosam Odur, Lango diocese bishop John Charles Odur Kami, and Lira diocese bishop Joseph Franzeli. Colonel Bosco Omure, the commander Operation Wealth Creation in charge of Lango sub-region, said they decided to give the cows to cadres and party officials to empower them economically so as to supervise and monitor government programs.
He said the support would be extended to everybody irrespective of their political and religious affiliation. He said poverty has no boundary since it affects everybody including those in the opposition.
Emmanuel Ogwal Agweno, a resident of Lira town, described the decision to distribute the animals to politicians as a political reward. He asked the implementers of the program to stick to the guidelines if it is to achieve its objectives.
Lawrence Egole, the Lira district NRM chairperson, said the animals were given to NRM cadres in line with a presidential pledge to support and empower them.
Patrick Okwir, the NRM chairperson Barr sub county, said President Museveni pledged to empower them when they visited him at State House last year. George Odongo, the Lira resident district commissioner, warned residents against politicizing a program, which is meant for everyone. He aises residents to focus on improving their agricultural productivity and raise household incomes.
Meanwhile, in other districts, farmers have said they have waited for the promised cows in vain.
“We were told to clear the land very fast and build structures for the cows but we have not seen any cows here,” said Dawson Musasizi, a farmer in Namutumba district.
Warrant Office II Jaaza Kaliba, the Namutumba Nsinze sub-county coordinator for the operation, blamed the drought, saying the cows would arrive once the rains set in.
On Monday, Linda Nabusayi, the State House deputy presidential press secretary, quoted President Museveni as saying that government would increase funding for other agricultural initiatives such as poultry, piggery, and dairy farming as well micro-finance services after two seasons.
Source : The Observer