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Exclusive: LPG to investigate PRELNOR, criticizes govt for mistreating Lango

(Last Updated On: 2 March 2024)

LPG will have to find out at the initial stage of this project which districts were mentioned.


 Oyam – January 17, 2022: No district from Lango sub-region was selected to benefit from the Project for Restoration of Livelihoods in the Northern Region (PRELNOR) whose funding is from the International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD).

 Acholi and West Nile sub-regions were selected to benefit from the project.  

 Monica Akot, Project Manager of PRELNOR for Uganda told TND News Editorial Desk on Monday why Lango sub-region was omitted. 

 “Those are the only districts we are operating in. We are not working in Lango under this project,” she said.

 Asked further, why, she answered: “I wish I could ask my PS that question but what I know is this was a donor-developed project and there were criteria used to see where the project would be sent.”

 Her reason and that of the government has angered some Lango natives and the Lango Parliamentary Group (LPG) with the latter’s chairperson speaking exclusively with this publication later in the day.

 LPG chairperson Judith Alyek seems perplexed. She said, “It is really unfortunate that this project of PRELNOR Lango sub-region is not benefiting, not even a single district.”

 If it is the project for the restoration of livelihoods in Northern Uganda and it is only benefiting a section of the region, Alyek said they should not have used the name of Northern Uganda in general.

 “It could have been the project for Acholi and West Nile,” she said, asking, “Why didn’t they name it ‘Acholi and West Nile region’ other than saying Northern Uganda and it is funding from IFAD?” 

 “And it is a loan that the government of Uganda has to pay back. And [do you know] all the loans that come in the country everyone is supposed to pay back because everybody pays the tax?”

 Even in Lango, the MP said some people pay high taxes. “How does the government recover their loan?” she asked. 

 “Now this loan from IFAD has come and a huge sum of money. Shs550b without a single district in Lango sub-region and it’s only going to work in the roads in Acholi and part of West Nile [Adjumani].”

 According to Alyek, it is a big worry that all the districts in Acholi sub-region and one from West Nile (Adjumani) are benefiting.

 “I think they have only picked one of the districts in West Nile just to cover up but the project is solely for Acholi sub-region. This is being unfair,” she stated.


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 The Kole district Woman MP further told our news desk that Lango suffered the same insurgency that the Acholis suffered. 

 “Our people were in the camps for more than 20 years and people are just now in the process of recovery. We want good roads but we can’t see the roads, we are doing elections and voting wisely every time but you see what we are being paid.”

 “For me, am saying that this business of using Northern region as a cover-up, we don’t want.”

 She further said if it is a loan from the government it should cover the whole Northern region. “Even if they pick two districts per sub-region will be better.”

 “When the project is covering the whole of Acholi with eight districts and one district from West Nile and none of the districts from Lango let them change the name of the project,” she emphasized. 

 While commissioning the completed 581km of CARs and officiating over a groundbreaking ceremony for another 641km of roads in Kitgum last week, the Local Government minister Raphael Magezi said the two sub-regions would benefit from the next phase.

 Reacting to the minister’s statement, the LPG chairperson said if it is supposed to improve the livelihoods of the people in Northern Uganda sincerely; the poverty level in the region is very high, in all these sub-regions but now only a section will benefit and this is the first phase. 

 “Again the second phase will be coming still under the loan that the government gets and everybody has to pay.”

 “So we have been crying for improvements on our roads. Now we even have Kamdini-Lira which is very bad right now and this has been World Bank funding but we don’t know what is happening.”

 Although she understands that the PRELNOR project is outside the World Bank arrangement, the MP said she was making mention of those roads to “express the extent to which we are disappointed”. 

 Even Apac-Rwekunye’s work is so slow but this one [PRENLOR] is supposed to improve the community connectivity to market, to social services: these are the key roads that promote trade within the community. 

 Without access roads to the major road, she said there is no way you can sell your harvest, your product wherever you are in the village.

On what should be done: “I am urging the government that if any project is coming for Northern Uganda let them be very specific because I know that when they are borrowing this money they borrowed in the name of Northern Uganda in general but when the money arrived this manipulation started. We have to investigate this.”

 “It must be investigated. The loan was not borrowed in the names of only the districts of Acholi sub-region and one district in West Nile, No. The loan was borrowed in the name of restoration of livelihoods in Northern Uganda so a section of the region should not be left out, very unfortunate for us people.”

 Asked what could be the immediate intervention in anticipation of the second phase or if there were any plans in mind as a leader of LPG, she replied: “First of all I need to find out.” 

 “As LPG we have to find out at the initial stage of this project [probably when the government was borrowing this money] which districts were mentioned. If they were not mentioned then there is bias in the way things are being implemented.”

 “Secondly, the second phase that is going to come after this phase should address issues to do with roads in Lango sub-region. Yes, but it doesn’t prevent us from investigating what went wrong where if it is a project for Northern Uganda.”

 Last year when LPG invited officials from UNRA and the Ministry of Works and Transport to check on road conditions in Lango, MP Alyek told UNRA ED Allen Kagina that “Lango is being treated unfairly”.

 On Monday, she had this to add: “Yes, we are being mistreated. For all this time we are mistreated. There is no kind word that I should put there. We have been mistreated for a long period, we are tired and I don’t know how the government look at Lango sub-region in terms of road networks.”

 Kamdini-Lira road

 “When we had a meeting in November we were informed that the work on the road was going on, some kind of rehabilitation as other processes await, like the acquisition of the rocks and they had already named the rock (Ngetta rock) and just small thing.”


 “We were assured that at the end of November, the work would start but now we are not seeing any work starting. It is already January 2022 from November 2021. We have again waited, we don’t see any work on the road and the road is again getting worse.”


 To her, the potholes were filed around November and now there is “nothing carried out on the road”.

 “Our community is very bitter, we are being asked questions every day. Am telling you the issue of Lira-Kamdini, Rwekunye-Apac up to Puranga is being discussed on radios and social media every day.”’

 “What really does the government think about us? We have really made several appeals. We have held too many meetings as Lango Parliamentary Group together with the Executives Director of UNRA, Minister of Works and Transports.”

 “We need answers to our concerns, we need urgent answers because we are already aggrieved, the whole community, the whole Lango sub-region is not happy about what is happening with our road networks.”

 Alyek termed the government’s silence and decision on things affecting Lango as “deliberate”.

 Asked about Otto Isaah Amiza who was arrested Monday morning on the allegation he was mobilizing locals to protest against the Lira-Kamdini bad road, the LPG chair answered. “Otto like any aggrieved person has a right to demand a better service.”

 “He has been a leader and maybe he is demanding for his people,” she added.

 

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