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WATCH: Idiots! Ugandan Foreign Affairs minister Henry Okello insults compatriots dying of hunger

By Winnie Mabel January 24th, 2024 2 min read

The Ugandan State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Henry Okello Oryem spoke on live television on January 24, 2023, where he insulted Ugandans dying of hunger.

Speaking to NTV Uganda, he said, “Only an idiot, a real idiot can die of hunger in Uganda. Those are idiots because there is enough food in Uganda. If you work hard, there is land in Uganda, the climate is right despite climate change- if you make a double effort to make sure that you go out in the morning to till your land, you plant your seeds, you maintain your plantation. Surely (you cannot go hungry). Surely, then how can you not get food,” said honourable Oryem.

His sentiments came following reports of Ugandans dying of starvation in Karamoja Sub-division in North Eastern Uganda.

According to the Monitor, 1,676 starvation-related deaths were recorded in Kotido, 225 in Kaabong, 166 in Moroto and 135 in Napak in 2022. In 2023, the Ugandan Human Rights Commission released a report that said 2,000 people died in Karamoja as a result of hunger and starvation. Recent 2024 reports also claimed that about 900 people in Karamoja died of hunger-related diseases.

Altogether, these deaths were blamed on state failure to anticipate and mitigate acute famine-related problems, insecurity, and livestock raids. Additionally, there were also reports of low crop yields, animals destroying plantations, poverty, and alcoholism that contributed to the deaths.

Minister Henry Oryem is the son of the late General Tito Lutwa who served as Uganda’s president between July 1985 and January 1986 before President Yoweri Museveni toppled him.

The comments by the senior government official are also consistent with President Museveni who has severally insisted that Uganda is a country so blessed with nature and fertile soils so much that ‘even fools have a chance at surviving’.

His sentiments elicited mixed reactions from a section of viewers. Nairobi News sampled some of their reactions below:

“Won’t change my question. Why is that dude speaking arrogantly & talking mindlessly?” asked Elijah Wasike.

“I somehow want to agree with the hon minister, because honestly why would a person die of hunger in a country like an ug, what would such a person do if he was living in India where cultivation is too hard,” opined Martin Ntandayarwe.

“See the leaders of this country!!!!!! Indeed Every man for himself and God for us all,” added Adeke Mercy.

“You’re talking about the Central region(where you don’t come from). Now let’s talk about Karamoja and some parts of Northern Uganda that are affected by droughts,” said Mario Kitandwe.

“The arrogance of a spoilt kid, this guy has been living on State funds since birth. His family has had the entitlement and has never had a proper job or know how most Ugandans work hard to put food on the table. In fact, he and his brother were treated like Kings in Mwiiri,” said Kenini Nelson.

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