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Speaker Among Admits Getting OPM Iron Sheets, Blames Minister Kitutu & Tells Her To Carry Own Cross

Speaker Among (L) interacting with lawmakers

Speaker Anita Among has admitted receiving the controversial OPM iron sheets but she has put the blame on the embattled Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Mary Kitutu.

The Speaker says Kitutu should not drag other Ministers and government officials into the theft and disappearance of relief iron sheets meant for Karamoja, arguing that the other recipients didn’t request for the said items and the Minister responsible should shoulder the burden for any mismanagement.

“Let us not go diversionary, the Minister responsible for Karamoja is there. If there was any diversion, it isn’t anybody’s fault. I saw iron sheets in Bukedea, I didn’t ask for them, but I ordered that they should be given to schools innocently, I didn’t have any shop or sell them and they were given to government schools, so I don’t want other ministers to be pulled into what they aren’t concerned. Let everybody carry his own cross. Let us wait for the report to come to the Committee,” Among said.

The Speaker made the remarks during the Ecumenical Thanksgiving Service held at Parliament, where she informed MPs that on 15th February 2023, she received a petition from the members of Karamoja Parliamentary Group on the alleged mismanagement of relief items that were meant for vulnerable communities in Karamoja and their petition was administratively referred to the Presidential Affairs Committee for scrutiny, before reporting back to Parliament in two weeks.

However, Kira Municipality’s Ibrahim Ssemujju asked the Speaker to suspend Parliament for two weeks to allow the Committee investigate the matter, because when government is involved in crimes of industrial scale, that government its ability to deliver its services is curtailed and almost all Ministers in Office of the Prime Minister who are supposed to speak on behalf of Government have been implicated in the theft.

“If you have the whole cabinet involved in the disappearance of the iron sheets for Karamoja, that government can’t come here and speak. You suspend Parliament for two weeks when that report comes we deal with that problem of industrial scale. I want to implore you that we will not die if we suspend parliament for two weeks and the first thing is to receive money for the theft and disappearance of iron sheets,” Ssemujju said.

Speaker Among however rejected the request, saying, “I am not going to suspend the House, if you want to go for another two weeks on your own, you can go, let us go into serious issues.”

The development comes after leaders from the Karamoja sub-region appeared before the Presidential Affairs Committee and demanded the Office of Prime Minister to avail them with answers on the beneficiaries of the iron sheets, claiming that residents are asking them to explain why they slept on job as top government officials stole iron sheets from Kampala.

Captain Yuventine Omara, Chairperson of Abim District, informed the Committee that although they had drawn up a list of 1,563 beneficiaries, none received the iron sheets and wondered how he was going to return back home empty handed.

“Abim district didn’t benefit at all. The beneficiaries 1563 none of them benefited and as I talk now, people are yearning for these iron sheets. I don’t know where I will pass when going back home because when I was coming here they were sure I will go back with iron sheets, maybe I take you back,” remarked Omara.

Paul Komol Lotee, District Chairperson Kotido  district said that his district had identified 590 beneficiaries in the district and each beneficiary was supposed to get 26 iron sheets but none had benefited, which has imposed the district leaders on pressure from electorates demanding for the promised iron sheets.

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