The government of Uganda has terminated it’s relief food supply contract with businessman Apollo Nyegamahe popularly known as Aponye after it was established that the quality of his food was poor and prices in the contract executed with the Office of the Prime Minister’s officials was way too high, leaving him with no option but adjust below the maximum set by cabinet.
According to the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Beti Olive Namisango Kamya, the businessman had been given a Shs52 billion contract to supply posho and beans to feed 520 villages within Kampala and neighboring areas but failed to deliver and those he delivered were of poor quality hence resorting to seeking the help of subcontractors who also managed to deliver just about 30 per cent of the anticipated capacity.
As if the was not enough, it was later on established that the incapable suppliers had quoted an exorbitant price with the help of the the OPM officials who have since been arrested on graft charges to the annoyance of President Yoweri Museveni who ordered an instant investigation into the matter.
In a crisis meeting convened to discuss the matter at the office of the prime Minister on Saturday evening, a resolution that the prices be revised and space be opened for other suppliers with capacity be opened was reached which forced Aponye to grudgingly accept to forfeit the old lucrative overpriced contract and fall suit with other suppliers identified through the Uganda Council of Grain Millers and Operation Wealth Creation.
The development comes as relief to under pressure Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda whose target deadline of at least finishing the supply of the relief food to the 520 villages in Kampala by the first week of the lockdown has already elapsed, amid mounting pressure from the appointing authority over failure to deliver on time.
Ruhunda is said to have pleaded with Museveni to be granted more time to have the food items delivered to the country’s urban poor amidst protests from the Commander in Chief who feels that failure to deliver the promised relief items would injure his popularity among the already dissatisfied urban population.
The lockdown, which was meant to end on April 14, was extended to May 5, implying the spending on this activity will have to rise.
In Kampala and Wakiso districts, government was to supply food to 1.5 million people. It remains unclear on how they arrived on this number.
Meanwhile, some of the affected people have been quoted in the media saying food is taking long to reach them. Those who received the food seemed to appreciate.
But the government will have to do another round of distribution if the first supplies were meant to support people for the initial days that had been set for the lockdown.
A spokesperson from the Office of the Prime Minister told me that distribution is still going on in Kampala Central and Kawempe Division.
“I think food distribution is going on as far as I know… it has not stopped,” the spokesperson said