Organisations engage Bunyoro cultural leaders to develop Bunyoro Agenda

Agriculture is among the key issues prioritised to be included in the Bunyoro Agenda. (Photo credit: Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries).

Recreation for Development and Peace (RDP) Uganda –a Civil Society Organisation has partnered with Action Aid Uganda to help Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom to generate and develop key issues that need to be prioritised for the development of the institution.

The approach to this is through organising engagements with cultural leaders across the kingdom during which they generate key issues that are singled out as challenges facing the kingdom such that they can be prioritised and addressed.

Engaging cultural leaders from Masindi, Buliisa and Kiryandongo districts at Country Inn in Masindi town, Mr Robert Muhangi, the RDP Uganda Executive Director, said that the issues that will be generated by the kingdom leaders will be fed to the kingdom agenda.

Leaders and Civil Society Organisations operating in the kingdom will use these issues as a lobbying tool to the government in their advocacy for the development of the cultural institution.

“Actually, we are going to have a common voice for advocacy. If we say that Bunyoro needs a university, the issue has to first be in Bunyoro’s strategy. As civil society organisations agree, Bunyoro Kingdom will also be speaking about the same. But at the same time we are saying if you are a Member of Parliament hailing from Bunyoro, these issues will also help to form a Bunyoro Agenda,” Mr Muhangi said.

“This is part of consultative engagements as a way of building Bunyoro Agenda. Our Members of Parliament we have just elected will also use the same issues to advocate for what Banyoros want. If we say that we want a university, we shall all be speaking in a common voice. Members of Parliament will be speaking about the same thing in parliament as we back them up,” he added.

Audio: Muhangi on Bunyoro Agenda (Runyoro/Rutooro)

During the meeting, kingdom parliamentarians, sub-county and county chiefs generated six concerns in the health, education, agriculture, governance and environment sectors and corruption as areas that need immediate attention to undertake.

Mr Frank Busiinge, the kingdom County Chief for Masindi Municipality said under this arrangement, education has to be prioritised by acquiring 200 acres of land in Masindi district on which to construct a public university for Bunyoro region.

He also emphasised the need to reintroduce the teaching of Runyoro at all levels of education, regular update of Bunyoro history and writing Runyoro books including a dictionary.

In his presentation, Mr Busiinge also called for augmented funding in the health sector, recruitment of more health care givers, upgrading and equipping the existing health facilities and construction of more health facilities and enabling health services affordable to all.

“These people are like saying the prayer of ‘as it was, it is now and ever shall be, forever and ever, Amen’. When the British massacred us (Banyoro) here leaving the population to only the astonishing 100,000 people, he was proud saying ‘I have finished them.’ But we thank God that we have produced children year after year up to the current number. Those people you meet are not of the olden times,” asked Mr Busiinge.

“There are few ambulances and when you manage to get one, you have to pay for fuel and yet you are left helpless. How many people can afford to pay for that fuel? There are many people in the countryside that cannot even afford to get the paltry Shs1,000. Now, how do you expect them to get money for fuel?” he added.

Audio: Busiinge on health (Runyoro/Rutooro)

During the same meeting, another leader, a one Mugisa called for systematic land demarcation in the kingdom to enable its subjects obtain certificates of ownership, reinstatement of cooperative societies, introducing subsidised tractor hire services and promotion of planting indigenous crop varieties among others.

“You know agriculture is carried out on land. People all over Bunyoro are facing land problems. Until now they don’t know their land boundaries, they don’t know the systematic data of their land. Masindi has a regional land office which would be beneficial for people to know where the boundaries of their land. People should have customary land certificates to enable them know their land boundaries,” said Mr Mugisa.

Adding: “Our native seeds are now extinct. Right now it is hard to trace and get our traditional crops like indigenous cassava stems, potato leaves and their native names. Indigenous beans like kabuubi, kikara, mutiike and others while cassava varieties like magita are hard to trace. Believe it or not, our indigenous crops were resistant to diseases.”

Audio: Mugisa on agriculture (Runyoro/Rutooro)

Closing the engagement, Mr Robert Kule, the Action Aid Uganda Project Officer, revealed that the generated issues would soon be presented to the kingdom leadership for validation before being put together as a lobbying document.

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