MPs discover, exhume ghost dams in Karamoja again

27 Oct 2023

KAMPALA – Ghosts and scandals continue rocking Karamoja, with Members of Parliament recently unearthing non-existent irrigation dams and valley tanks.

The legislators on the agriculture committee discovered that despite government sinking billions of shillings in the project, some tanks and dams were never constructed in both Karamoja and Teso sub-regions.

The dams had been planned to improve agriculture in the two regions.

What we found was that some of the dams that are being talked about are not even existing, for example Paylong dam which is supposed to help the community of Kotido isn’t even existing,” Janet Grace Akech Okori-Moe, the chairperson of the agriculture committee, said.

“What we saw at the site of Pylong is some pond with weeds grown all over the place and I think that one was constructed by the Ministry of Water,” she added.

“There is also one in Abim district. That one isn’t functional at all and I think the work wasn’t completed and those facilities were never handed over to the district,” the Woman MP for Abim said.

Her findings come on the backdrop of a host of ministers picking iron sheets meant for Karamoja region and putting them to personal use.

So far three minister have been arraigned in court over abuse of office, with many others being investigated.

Another minister was accused of diverting money meant to buy goats for beneficiaries in Karamoja to personal use.

Earlier this year, the Bukoto Central MP, Eng. Richard Sebamala, said the public shouldn’t concentrate too much on the iron sheets saga, “but rather make thorough investigations into the funds donated to Karamoja region for the last many years through donor funding and the Office of the Prime Minister.”

In his weekly Press briefing, Eng. Sebamala said 20 years ago billions of money was released for Karamoja region to construct valley dams but the project wasn’t fulfilled.

“Karamoja region has been given a lot of donor funding in sectors of education, water and sanitation, infrastructure, health etc to change people’s lives but billions and billions have always been diverted by individuals with self-interests after achieving just a small percentage of the funded projects. The region is becoming a bottomless pit for donor funding but without tangible results.” Eng. Sebamala said.

“It’s not only the iron sheets saga, 20 years ago many billions have been swindled. We even need to look into the ethics of appointed ministers for the region because they also have self-interests and constituents to serve that is why they grab national resources. Some ministers are greedy and using their portfolios to attain wealth that’s why billions have been grabbed through the land fund, Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), cooperatives etc,” he added.

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