The Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS) results for the year 2019/2020 are out. The summary is doing the rounds on social media, accompanied with our usual purposely lamentations.
Thus, I invite our newly elected and sworn in members of parliament (MPs), who are serving in the 11th Parliament, especially those representing Pallisa District, to appreciate that the UNHS 2019/2020 survey results, in fact, are the baseline for benchmarking their leadership.
Using the ‘poverty line’, ineffective as it may be, the UNHS, nevertheless, revealed that my ancestral home areas from whence my parents originate host significant sections of our population that are living in poverty.
- Bukedi with 35 percent of its population living below the ‘poverty line’
- Teso with 22 percent of its population living below the ‘poverty line’.
It doesn’t comfort me that there was reportedly a nine percentage point reduction in poverty in Bukedi from 44 percent living below the ‘poverty line’ during the previous period; and that there was a three percentage point reduction in Teso from 25 percent living below the ‘poverty line’ during the previous period.
Thousands of people in Bukedi and Teso are living in poverty!
Folklore has it that my ancestors, the Iteso of Uganda, were a proud people and a proud nation. Our Iteso ancestors must be turning restless in their graves at the current status quo.
- Bukedi Region, which hosts a significant population of Iteso, contributes 10.4 percent to Uganda’s national poverty, so revealed the UNHS 2019/2020 report.
- Teso Region contributes 7.1 percent to national poverty, so revealed the UNHS 2019/2020 report.
I am inclined to believe that my home district, Pallisa District, is a big contributor to the appalling poverty statistic for Bukedi Region, albeit potentially being among the food basket areas for Uganda. Pallisa, after all, is among the largest producers of super rice, for example, among other cereals.
Alinga Farm’s “Emuceeri” – Super Rice with a fabulous scent that is characteristic of organically grown rice from the paddies of Pallisa in Eastern Uganda
As we wait for the 2019/2020 Pallisa District Statistical Abstract, it defies logic that 235,479 persons, 48 percent of the total population of Pallisa District, live below the ‘poverty line’, as it was reported in the Pallisa District Abstract 2018/19.
Sadly, my home county, Pallisa, has the highest percentage, 61.8 percent of its population living below the ‘poverty line’.
While, I am not all that comfortably with the ‘poverty line’ as a good measure for poverty, nevertheless, I do concede that it does have some merit, especially when it is combined with other measures of poverty.
And so, Pallisa MPs, the UNHS 2019/2020 survey results give has the starting point from when you have started your term of office. How you change the status quo as it was revealed by the UNHS 2019/2020 will determine your success or failure as a leader.