We just have to take a leap of faith on COVID19 relief money by Government
Reading in the media that the Prime Minister has revealed that 2 million Ugandans will receive relief cash from Government has got me thinking and left me almost convinced that we just have to take a leap of faith on this particular intervention by government.
Fast forward, I think this was a much better intervention by Government had it been well planned. I think it would have even worked in the last lockdown other than getting into distribution of food, that I am sure is an excercise government found more costly to execute than the money spent on actually buying the beans and posho.
But anyway, when these things happen, the older I have grown, the more I have learnt that there is always nothing but a thin silver lining between the good and the bad associated with any intervention especially one that involves many people.
This whole process has reminded me when I was a child, and after losing my father. There was a lady in my village Kigarama who used to go around registering the orphans in the village for assistance by some good Samaritans who I didn’t know.
So this lady came and registered our names, took our pictures and off she went and told us to wait for goodies meant for vulnerable orphans in Kigarama. I was around P.2 by that time. We waited but in vain. Later on, we got information that the goodies had come but had been taken advantage of by those who were better connected to this powerful lady. And we, the “vulnerable” orphans, ended at being taken free pictures.
When I joined secondary school, I had started staying at an Auntie’s place in a nearby village. There was a powerful man (community leader) who came to my Aunt’s place and told me that there was an opportunity of beddings for “vulnerable” orphans and it would be good if my name could be included since according to him I was also vulnerable. I was in my S.3 at the time. The memories of my ordeal in Kigarama with items for vulnerable people came in handy here. I set myself to see if this gentleman would do the same too. And just like my first good Samaritan lady did,this gentleman too registered my name and asked me for a passport photo, I had some and I gave him. And indeed you may think that all these guys from from the same training environment. The items never reached. Later on, I came to learn that the items had come but we’re being utilized by this gentleman’s children. I again counted my loss having lost my share of the items for the vulnerable orphans the second time.
When I recently read that Government was going to give cash to vulnerable Ugandans for them to survive the lockdown induced by the second wave of COVID19, remembering how some big people in Government ran away with empty jerrycans and food itwms that had been donated and these ended in their private properties, I knew we were in for another Bonanza.
When I remembered my ordeals in the village as a vulnerable orphan, I started feeling for the “vulnerable Ugandans because someone somewhere may be planning to utilize the 100,000 UGx which is meant to be sent to you for relief since your survive is threatened by this lockdown.
So while I was still pondering on how some of our big people are going to surprise us by doing the right thing, still hoping that this time, they will really try to be as patriotic, my LC1 woke me up from my dreams.
On the fateful day, I had someone knocking at my gate, and only to find it was my LC1 chairman. A very hard-working man and straight too. So immediately he revealed to me how he needed my full names and my National ID, and when I asked what for, he told me he was compiling people who were supposed to receive money for relief from Government. I immediately asked him why he wanted me on the list yet me am a rich man and not vulnerable, he laughed and said they were including everyone in the area.
I advised him to only include those whose survival is threatened, because some of us could still survive without Government relief money and off he went, what I don’t know is whether he also approached my “rich” neighbor.
So from this incidence, I remembered my experience with the people that always offered to give us relief for the vulnerable orphans.
And just it happened to me back then, I see the actual vulnerable Ugandans not getting this support. I see some rich people getting this money at the expense of the actual vulnerable poor. I also see some distributors of the cash, ending up taking it themselves. I also see some some “big people” using this as an opportunity to steal some more money. In short, I see this COVID relief money for the vulnerable Ugandans not serving it’s purpose if Government doesn’t seriously get into reality check internally to ensure efficiency.
As I conclude, I wish to express my disappointment about some of our leaders who still take advantage of such unfortunate situations to steal and misuse. I wish to remind us, that leaders receive authority to serve people and they must do that at all times.
As a Christian, I also know that taking advantage of someone’s situation when the person is suffering, is actually sinful. It is also not good to promise the vulnerable and you end up enriching those who are already rich. Such acts are not worth tolerating.
Anyway, still taking a leap of faith, I hope that the folks in charge will take corrective measures before it is too late.
Greetings from Kigarama!
Alexander Kyokwijuka, Humble Citizen, from Kigarama, Ndorwa East