Am dismayed by the way our leaders both at sub-county, District and National levels from Busoga region consume a lot of time in politicking while Native Basoga who constitute over 9% of Uganda’s population are languishing in absolute poverty. Overall, more people in northern Uganda live below the poverty line (64.8%) followed by eastern region at 38.4%. Central Uganda has 19.6%, while western has 19.3% poor people.
Busoga’s major epidemic is political bickering amongst our leaders who engage full force in formation of cliques that are insignificant to the Real Musoga person who is deep down in Namutumba, kaliro, Bugiri, Iganga, Buwenge, Kamuli, Mayuge, Luuka having no access to clean safe water, functioning health centers with motivated medical personnel, Un reachable markets where they can sell agricultural commodities at good competitive prices, are un able to send their children to Well performing primary and secondary schools e.t.c.
Here lies the solution for Busoga sub region; Poverty can be made history as the region is blessed with fertile soils, ample rainfall and a number of vital natural resources which can foster significant economic transformation in the area:-
Agriculture should be made the number one priority for all households as this can be improved through formation of co-operative societies and then get them approved and registered by the ministry of Trade, Industry and co-operatives, among their roles should be showing rural farmers other productive areas like how to carry out Fish farming, encouraging sugar cane out growers in the areas around Kakira, Magamaga,Musita, Mayuge as there is available market from Sugar producing companies such as:- SCOUL, Madhivani for the cane grown, The societies can negotiate for them better prices at which they can sell the cane to these manufacturers. Establish ways of how they can carry out Irrigation most especially at places like Gadumire in kaliro,Mayuge that is surrounded by lake Victoria district that are surrounding Lake Kyoga, This Irrigation is possible just as madhivani uses it during the long dry seasons, It will increase productivity on farms that produce maize and cotton in the respective mentioned areas, Services such as Naads through the district Naads coordinators should recapture the local farmers through using Demonstration farms that actually exist and not those set up for political purposes as from these farms, Farmers in most sub-counties can learn the value and how mixed cropping has better yields compared to mono cropping, experiment how farmers with large expanses of land can use tractors(that are provided by the cooperative societies) to carry out plantation Agriculture for export purposes.
Busoga region has many hospitals that are in dilapidated situations, our law makers can lobby the health ministry to renovate these hospitals, equip them with modern medical equipment, qualified personnel to manage them, increase the district health budgets so that the health centers resort to providing free medical services to borrow a leaf from neighboring countries such as Rwanda, this will improve health conditions that our people are living in, reduce on mortality rates from treatable disease like Malaria, Typhoid , Use the Village Health teams (V.H.T s) to supply free mosquito nets, sanitary towels, guidance on how to get rid of jiggers that previous manifested many areas of kamuli, Thus enabling our people to have better health to enable them go to work continuously to improve on house hold incomes.
Associations such as Abasooga twegaite, Busoga parliamentary caucus, should carry out aggressive lobbying to investors to come and invest in the different parts of Busoga thus revamping the lost glory of formally industrialized towns like Jinja,create jobs for many unemployed basoga youth who are currently living in Kampala as when they return home to work, the development of industries will build on demand and supply linkages from agriculture, there will be improvement in the housing situation as many real estate companies will now decentralize and come to construct houses where these employed youth will live, Supermarkets will be set up to provide essential commodities for the urban population and further create more jobs.
The constitutional review process which has been formulated by MPs hailing from the region and is being handled by a panel of lawyers should be transparent and enable us settle the acrimonious issue of the Kyabazingaship with no interference from the different factions so that reconciliation from the different cliques prevails leaving the new Kingdom with no option but to tackle issues like Education in the region where most of the former Academic Giant institutions of learning like Mwiri, Wanyange, Bitiiki, can once again uphold there former Glory in Excellence, Children in primary schools such as Magola Primary in Bugiri, can compete with students from Kampala parents School after the Kingdom has set up a fund with assistance from the central Government, Development partners like UNESCO to rehabilitate the facilities in these schools that will foster performance improvement.
District local Governments should increase budgets for rural roads, with the help of road construction equipment that was recently given to districts by the president “New Vision of Thursday June21,”districts and municipalities get equipment to maintain roads” Road gangs, where specialized and energetic youths armed with hoes, wheel barrows, shovels and other basic gears are employed to maintain roads, will also be used alongside road equipment thus creating employment thus enabling easy access to markets.
We should borrow a leaf from Associations like international Community of Banyakigezi (ICOBA) and equally establish a non-partisan developmental Association and name it International Community of Basoga that will enable us liaise with our colleagues in the Diaspora to improve the quality of life in Busoga for instance initiate a program that will enable every household use solar bulbs for lighting other than the traditional “Tadooba” which are a health hazard as they produce carbon emissions, we can get support from government institutions like the Rural Electrification Agency.
All individuals above 21 years and not in school in all households should be encouraged to start up income generating activities, Local government leaders can spear head this initiative through the Government owned Uganda Microfinance support Centre as the idea is to loan small amounts of money to farmers or villages so these people can obtain the things they need to increase their economic rewards. A specific example is the Thailand government’s People’s Bank which is making loans of $100 to $300 to help farmers buy equipment or seeds, help street vendors acquire an inventory to sell, or help others set up small shops, The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Vietnam country programme supports operations in 11 poor provinces. Between 2002 and 2010 around 1,000 saving and credit groups (SCGs) were formed, with over 17,000 members; these SCGs increased their access to microcredit for taking up small-scale farm activities.
In conclusion, Poverty can be history in Busoga as there are many different approaches to fighting it, but the level of success always depends on the dedication of those who are organizing the initiative designed to eliminate the issue.