Maracha – At least over 800 elderly persons in Maracha district are smiling in their places of lockdown, after receiving Ugx. 150,000 government grant.
The beneficiaries who receive six months’ grant of Ugx. 25000 per month, were the first batch in Maracha district, since government instituted the project about four years ago.
Timing of delivering the grant to the district seems to tally well with political season that left the senior citizens strolling home dancing the tune of ruling party’s music.
A 97 years old Liaza Obolokoa , one of the beneficiaries of the senior citizen’s grant, on Wednesday swaggered like a teenager, while shouting “pakalast, pakalast, Museveni pakalast, Mzee pakalast” and singing unfinished stanzas of Jose Chameleon’s “tobonge”, denied his Lugbara mother tongue for a colloquial English after receiving cash.
Soon after pocketing his cash, Mr. Obolokoa, who prefers being called Mr. Fox, a literary translation of his surname, turn off request by journalists including Red Pepper digital, for an interview. Taking the scribes for thieves, Mr. Fox hurriedly grabbed his wife by the arm and swayed with off to a nearby village market.
A grateful 83 year old Sulaiman Anyuoso from Pabura Parish, however, regrets that some of his colleague with whom they registered from inception of the project didn’t live long enough to receive their benefits of old age.
“It’s so great to receive such an amount of money at this time of misery, when people are in lockdown and no business. Many people are down trodden with lack of cash. I grateful to the government for remembering us at last but unfortunately, many of my friends died before they could eat their share” says the Octogenarian.
Mr. Anyuoso, who testifies he never married his own wife but ended up inheriting from his dead brothers, due to past wars, urges young people to stop being radical against the current regime.
Vowing that none but only Museveni will get his vote, Mr. Anyuoso believes the senior citizens’ grant comes as a result of a good wise leadership of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
“In all these 83 years of my life, no President has ever thought of giving money to old people. Its only Museveni who does it. Why do we call for a change of a good leader?” he inquires.
Like Manna from above, Mr. Amyuoso, whose name literary means bee honey, is relieved that he plans to spend the money to make his last days better.
“Museveni, Pakalast” the senior citizen summarises.
Meanwhile, a 93 years old Adraru Rakabu, if the saying that a name follows the person or owner, comes true, it is what the elderly woman whose name means “dying” is witnessing. She has lost all her children except one, daughter whom now takes care of her.
Odraru, who can no longer walk by herself but moves with support of a helper and a stick.
Despite her body inability, Odraru clutches the stick beneath her armpit, raising her hands up to the sky in praise and appreciation to God as well as President Museveni, for the money.
“This is God’s plan. Thanks be to God. Thank you Museveni for remembering us. Let God’s wind blow him, not anybody” the grandy remarks, meaning President Museveni should remain on power for life.
However grandma Odraru, wants to use her money for buying goats for her funeral.
“At my age, after losing all my sons over the years, I only have a daughter left, so, I have to buy goats for my funeral” she explains.
For, Adraru, leaving the current regime to continue is the best issue Ugandans could think about.
“If Museveni was changed, nobody would think of giving us this money. Its because he has been on power long enough that he then thought of us old people, at last. How do i leave such a leader and vote for another?” the old woman assures the ruling party if her vote, come 2021 polls.
Payment of the senior citizen’s grant commenced in Maracha district on Wednesday, 1st July 2020 with Sub counties of Nyadri,Yivu and Tara while Oleba and Oluvu Sub received their share on 2nd July and Oluffee, Kijomoro Sub counties as well as Maracha town council got on 3rd July 2020.
Mrs. Pasqualina Ogavu, Maracha district female councillor for older persons expresses gratitude saying their spirited fight and outcry for consideration had at last, materialised.
Many times, political leaders had come under pressure on why senior citizens in Maracha district were not considered by government for grant, meant to prolong their life span.
Until last year, due to outcry from non benefiting districts, government then considered rolling the program countrywide.
The previous age limit from 60 years above was swift to 80 years and above, a qualification for one to benefit from the grant.
Maracha district local council 5 Chairperson, Adiga Lawrence Ozubia says 822 senior citizens benefited from the grant.