Uproar echoes across Uganda as Foreign Affairs Minister Henry Oryem’s astonishing comment on those succumbing to hunger as “idiots” sparks widespread condemnation. Oryem’s assertion, suggesting that Uganda’s favorable climate and fertile land should eradicate hunger, has ignited a storm of criticism.
In a shocking statement to NTV Uganda, Oryem declared, “It’s only an idiot, a real idiot, that can die of hunger in Uganda.” The minister urged citizens to leverage the country’s abundant resources, emphasizing that hard work on the fertile land could eliminate the specter of hunger.
Legislators, including Moses Aleper from the affected Karamoja region, expressed deep discontent with Oryem’s views. Aleper contested the minister’s perspective, highlighting the impact of weather vagaries and circumstances beyond human control on food production.
Charles Onyango-Obbo, a prominent Ugandan author and journalist, criticized Oryem for overlooking the systemic issue of food distribution and markets, asserting that hunger in Uganda stems from broader challenges.
Official data on the current food situation in Karamoja is not available, but the region historically grapples with hunger during dry seasons due to its semi-arid climate. The controversy resurfaces haunting memories of the devastating hunger crisis in 2022, where over 2,200 people succumbed to starvation and related illnesses in north-east Uganda, as reported by an official human rights body.