Mukono Municipality Member of Parliament, Betty Nambooze has decried the unprecedented wastage of money by the government in the pretext of ‘fighting locusts’.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda called a crisis meeting to ‘prepare how to deal’ with swarms of Desert locusts that had allegedly entered Uganda through Amudat District from the North-West part of Kenya while other swarms made their way through Turkana to Moroto District.
The districts of Napak, Nabilatuk and other areas of Karamoja Subregion had also been allegedly invaded by larger swarms of locusts with Ministry of Agriculture experts and Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) employing foot soldiers trying to contain them using knapsack sprayers.
Shs15 billion has been earmarked for this project.
However according to Nambooze, the People’s Government, a pressure group made up of opposition figures sent a team to Karamoja Subregion but could barely find one over three days.
Also, the team did not see any sort of vegetation destruction because locusts extensively destroy anything in sight within a short period of time.
“Nobody for sure has seen the locusts in Uganda. The photographs that are run in the news room and the videos that are running on TV’s are from You Tube,” she said during the Morning Breeze show on NBS TV on Wednesday morning.
“A lot of money is being wasted. Every morning, a helicopter flies from Kololo Airstrip to Karamoja carrying tea for the UPDF officers camped in Karamoja doing nothing. In the afternoon, another takes lunch.”
Theh approach to use untrained soldiers to fight locusts has also been slammed by experts who say it is not effective since locusts fly as high as 200 metres above ground.
“These locusts are always on the move and they fly as high as 200 metres. So government needs aircrafts to spray them,” Dr Perpetra Akite, an entomologist at Makerere University College of Natural Sciences, told a local daily before faulting the government for procuring the wrong type of chemical to spray the locusts.
“These chemicals are not appropriate for aerial spray and they accumulate in environment amidst their bad effects on non-target living things,” Dr Akite said.
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