By Ahmed Kateregga Musaazi
MASAKA-UGANDA/NEWSDAY: On Sunday August 22nd 2021, my family held a Shukuru Duwa (thanks giving prayer) at my home at Nnambiriizi in Mawogola County, Ssembabule District.
We were thanking Almighty Allah who enabled President Yoweri Museveni to appoint me Deputy Resident City Commissioner (RCC) of Masaka City. We also thanked Allah for the enormous achievements rewarded to our relatives and friends.
After the prayer, exchange of pleasantries, and lunch, we brainstormed on a number of local, national and international issues. Some of our people were complaining that the pastoral community has developed more than the cultivators because President Museveni is a pastoralist.
l reminded my people that in the sixties and seventies, pastoralists had a large herd of cattle numbering thousands and one who was regarded to have a small number owned not under one hundred heads of cattle.
But these people were nomadic thus moving from place to place in search of greener Pasteur and water. They lived in grass thatched houses, without mattresses, used to exchange milk and other dairy products for food with the cultivators.
However, as a result of the East African Revival Movement, they started sending their children to school and l went, with my mother, for last funeral rite of my maternal great grandfather, Musa Nsubuga at Kyanjovu near Kitengeesa in now Masaka District in 1975, and when we had a stop over at our aunt in Kumbu, who was working with Masaka Municipal Council, l heard them saying that Masaka Secondary School, which was a government aided school with the Uganda Muslim Spreme Council as a founding body, after the expulsion of the owner Aga khan in 1972, was dominated by people from the Banyankore Tribe. My aunt said that Baganda had resorted to smuggling and chasing lines as many acquired Mafuta Mingi shops abandoned by the Asians.
No wonder, some of the leading technocrats in Greater Masaka in the seventies and eighties were the late BK Bitakaramire, who was District Education Officer, Senzoga, who was Assistant District Commissioner in charge of Mawogola District and later CEO of Rehabilitation and Development Corporation that was charged with rehabilitation of Masaka, Mbarara and Arua towns destroyed by 1979 war, and many others.
Even before 1986, many of the leading pastoral communities had started acquiring land leases and started fencing it off to fight spread of ticks and animal diseases.
I said that what the pastoralists benefited after NRM/NRA victory in 1986 is that the government deliberately committed to end of nomadism, advised them to sell some of their cows and acquire land, build permanent houses, and pay fees for their children even up to university level as a result of education liberalization.
I concluded with a call by Katikkiro of Buganda Charles Peter Mayiga, who always says that after vising Mawogola and saw that pastoralists had developed more than cultivators, he advise cultivators to start practicing intensive mixed farming where a kibanja holder of five acres can have a banana and coffee plantations, another for cereals, then one for elephant grass to feed the livestock; rear chicken, as the President teaches us under Prosperity for All since his poverty alleviation programs he launched in 1995 and came with phrases like “okulembeka,” and those that have listened to him have prospered and those that will follow him and the advice of the Katikkiro, will do the same.
So, intensive mixed farming in small holdings in Buganda, and most parts of Uganda is the way forward. The Parish model, which the President said, last Friday that will start with 42 billion shillings this financial year will be the engine for wealth for all (Bonna bagaggawale). Even urban centers like Masaka can practice urban farming.
Haji Ahmed Kateregga Musaazi is a veteran journalist and Deputy Resident City Commissioner for Masaka City.
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