Pallisa District is among areas of Uganda which have the highest concentration of poor people, with a poverty density of more than 100 people per square kilometre who are living on less than a dollar a day. This is according to findings of the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), published in the report: “The Spatial Trends of Poverty and Inequality in Uganda 2002-2005”.
The analysis in the report, according to New Vision’s Anthony Bugembe and Francis Kagolo, used data from the 2005/2006 Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS) and from the 2002 Population and Housing Census. Fourteen years later, the Pallisa District Abstract 2018/19 reported 235.479 persons, 48 percent of the total population of Pallisa District, live below the poverty line.
Going by the most recent UNHS results, the situation in Pallisa has not improved and is likely worse.
And so, when I read that Members of Parliament (MPs) representing constituencies in Pallisa District are among the 64 MPs who did no say a word in the plenary sessions of parliament for a whole year, I am flummoxed. I am even further bewildered that such reports are coming hot on the heals, so to speak, of screaming headlines that “Pallisa is ready to host Gen. Muhoozi”.
Seriously, how may I interpret these three sets of information – alarming poverty rates in Pallisa; mute Pallisa MPs; and Pallisa’s readiness to host Gen. Muhoozi. How? Is hosting the General among the “realistic interventions to save the struggling households of Pallisa,” as it was called for by the local leaders?