JINJA/NAMUTUMBA. Beneficiaries of Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) in Jinja District, Daily Monitor has learnt.
Mr Jamal Mbusa, a teacher at Jinja Senior Secondary School, on Monday confessed to having bought exotic goats from an OWC beneficiary, who reportedly was not prepared to take care of them.
Speaking during a dialogue in commemoration of the promulgation of the Ugandan Constitution at Busoga Square in Jinja on Monday, Mr Mbusa said many people are receiving items from OWC with nowhere to put them.
He said: “People, especially those in urban areas, are being given chicken, cows and seedlings when they are not ready to receive them.”
The OWC spokesperson, Maj Tabaro Kiconco, admitted having received such information and encouraged beneficiaries to always seek knowledge on how to look after the inputs from extension workers, local leaders and coordinators.
The Jinja Resident District Commissioner, Mr Eric Sakwa, said those who are selling off the items risk being prosecuted.
“OWC is aimed at getting people out of poverty, especially those at the grassroots,” he said.
Meanwhile, OWC officials in Namutumba District have been accused of soliciting Shs500,000 in kickbacks from each person seeking to be included on the list of beneficiaries of heifers to be distributed under OWC.
The Namutumba District Woman MP, Ms Mariam Naigaga, told Daily Monitor on Monday that some officials are asking for the money in form ‘airtime’ from unsuspecting beneficiaries.
“Government introduced the OWC programme to improve the livelihood of the poor, but they are remaining that way because they cannot afford the Shs500,000 bribes,” Ms Naigaga said.
She added that as leaders, they are doing their best to see that farmers are not cheated because all government programmes are free-of-charge.
However, the Namutumba Town Council chairperson, Mr Godfrey Mwembe, said some people, who paid the Shs500,000 bribe two years ago and have not received their heifers, have threatened to demonstrate.
“People have come to my office with evidence that they paid money but have not yet received their heifers,” Mr Mwembe said.
A farmer in Namutumba District who only identified himself as Wilber, said he paid Shs500,000 last year but he is yet to get a heifer.
“I sold my local breed of cattle to get a high breed heifer but failed. Last year, I approached one of the technocrats who asked me to pay Shs500,000 for an OWC heifer, which I did but I have never received the animal,” he said.
Efforts to get a comment from Mr Apollo Musita, the OWC production officer, were futile since his known telephone numbers were off by press time.
However, Maj Kiconco dismissed the claims, saying: “Whoever is a victim of such should report with evidence to police or us, but I suspect cheap politics at play grafted to attack a programme succeeding in all districts,” he said.