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Gov’t should not abuse if it does nt want to be abused

Gov’t should not abuse if it does nt want to be abused

David Mafabi

Today, abusive language in our political terrain ceases not to be merely an ethical problem, which erodes the moral fibre of society; but it is iniquitous and shows how political morality is wanting in our leaders and explains volumes how peaceful political transition is being retarded and undermined.

What seems evident is that government leadership, cadres and the political converts abuse opposition with impunity and then turn around very first to condemn it especially when others do the same.

They disregard the rules and regulations of the politics knowing that when they bleach them nothing will happen to them because those who wield state power protect them. 

My grand Mum used to tell us that: “When you are staying in a house of glass, avoid throwing stones to your neighbours” And using her own experience, I drew one lesson that if you feel you have a lot to be abused, then don’t abuse and nobody will abuse you.

The Bible and Christian life has one lesson for you leaders out there:

 Judge not that you may not be judged; all of us have fallen short of the glory of God; and remove the log from your own eye before you do the same to others. I may not remember the actual Books and verses that tell this wonderful and wise counsel, but I am sure the Reverends, Pastors and Bishops as well as many Christians do.

President Museveni, who is a Christian and whose wife is saved, must, therefore, be conversant with this wise counsel.  And why he goes abusive projecting himself as pure and above reproach at this time when the country is yearning for peace with itself defeats our wits? Is it the fear factor or the fanatical desire for fourth term?

Under the movement government, forgiveness and tolerance has been a fantastic, healthy landmark in Uganda’s history and the biggest bouquet goes to Museveni for being a “forgiving and tolerant leader”

But when he forgets shortly and begins abusing opposition, as Ugandans who understand the serious issues embedded in our politics, we begin to believe that the president is being emotional, has missed a point and preaches what he cannot practice.

By preaching this and he does the other, our government is losing the little faith ‘we the peasants’ still have for it because we are discovering that there are things that have been going on behind our backs.

The best way our dear president should save his political image and government is to live up to his word. Otherwise the way things stand today our political terrain remains bleak.

We started well under the movement government by preaching tolerance, rule of law, political morality, democracy, unity etc but 22 years down the road, we have been caught up in the same rubber stumps. And now we make an alarm after stealing, only to confuse those coming to our rescue. 

This is obviously due to the fact that even though the government of Uganda has been preaching political morality, it has not been able to participate fully in ending past political moral degeneration which dirtied our past because its long serving and obedient cadres are culprits of the same sin

It is unfortunate that this is the level of political maturity we have gone; very abusive, callous and heartless devoid of any morals.

With president Museveni at the helm of abuse, generation of neglect of political morality has landed Uganda’s transitional period in its deepest.

I don’t know what to make of this but it seems our dear leaders are consumed by visions of attaining and dispensing political power and patronage through all dirty channels possible.

 And when it is said that behind everything is the problem of leadership, this is close to the truth.

For sure should all forms of thought and practice under NRM persist without challenge?

Should Ugandans lose sight of all other possibilities? Cover up pot holes in our courtyards and roads with grass and say to ourselves because our eyes cannot see the potholes then Ugandans can prance about as they like?

For a peaceful political transition, democracy and political maturity in Uganda our leaders to give way to forgiveness, Unity, constructive criticism and political morality by use of civil language. 

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For lack of safe water, residents take any flowing water from the hills

For lack of safe water, residents take any flowing water from the hills

David Mafabi

Bulambuli-Ms Angella Namagidini, 34, of Soti village in Bulugunya sub-county in Bulambuli district bends with her Jerrrycan carrying her child to fetch water that flows from Mt Elgon, Wagagai peak.

When Daily Monitor approaches her, she simply says “ Fe kunywa mezi gga, kekugadekako dda, mezi enga wagadekile nonywe, gegabamo bulayi bosi dda, gabagawo gatyo]” Loosely meaning We take this water without boiling it because the taste changes when you boil it and does not taste well when you boil it,”

Ms Nabukwasi says as pupils they drank the water and that today pupils of all primary schools also drink this water that flows naturally from the ridges and nothing has happened to them.

“Our parents, relatives and adults took this water, we saw them on many occasions at this running water fetching, from the rivers, from spring wells and nobody ever got sick. We don’t need to boil our water not even treating and we are safe, the water is tasty, we like it,” said Ms Nabukwasi.

Ms Nabukwasi is not alone, most residents of Mt Elgon region drink the water that flows from Mt Elgon using a centripetal force and flows narurally along various ridges as children also prance about in the same water and animals drink the same water.

Although it is clear from the residents living around Mt Elgon that diarrhea, dysentery, skin diseases and cough are on the rise in the area, in Mt Elgon area residents share water from the mountain as this is the only “clean” source of water for the people.

The District Health Officer for Bulambuli Dr. Mupalya Gidale was surprised when he heard that people from Mt Elgon take water directly from run offs around the mountain in rural mountainous sub-counties neighbouring Mt Elgon.

Dr Gidale, stood still, looked at the woman fetching water from the running stream, he wanted to speak back but an inner voice restrained him when he saw another group of pupils and adults come to line up at the same stream to fetch water for domestic use.

The looks on his face left no doubt in his mind that at some stage, he would order them to stop taking the dirty water direct from the running stream but he could not speak it out.

Ms Namagidini’s experience illustrates how the Bagisu from the hills [At the slopes of Mt Elgon] are not bothered about the dirt that surrounds the water in the landslide prone areas and flooded lowland areas that exposes them to water borne diseases like cholera, dysentery, diarrhea and Bilharzia.

The LCV chairman Mr. Simon Wananzofu revealed that the 2011 floods destroyed pit-latrines in the homes and schools which in turn have contaminated the water sources and destroyed spring wells in the area.

“Apparently as we speak, all the water sources are contaminated, it is no longer safe to take water directly from the springs wells, rivers and streams that is why many a people are suffering from diarrhea, dysentery and we are likely to have cholera anytime if people don’t boil the water for domestic use and drinking,” said Mr. Wananzofu.

Dr Mupalya said Mt Elgon districts experience heavy rainfall  that usually cause mudslides and flooding in the area adding that the torrential rains that caused landslides in Bulambuli in 2012, 2013 destroyed besides life, pit latrines for people staying at the slopes of Mt Elgon.

 “The mudslides and floods in the lower parts of this district affected over 60,000 people, contaminated the rivers, streams, spring wells that puts the lives of the people in danger of water borne diseases. Our people must learn to boil water or use tablets to be safe,” said Dr. Mupalya.

He revealed that about only 24% of the people in Bulambuli know how to treat water using the modern tablets and how to boil it in order to drink but majority of the people still believe that boiled water is not good enough to drink.

He said most of the people when you talk to them about boiling water or even using a tablet to treat it, they regard it as a westernized way of living that destroys the water and that it does not taste well.

“Our sanitation coverage has reduced due to the mudslides, heavy rains and floods because all the latrine facilities were washed away, people have left their villages and although about 55% of the people in Bulambuli use surface water, due to the deteriorating sanitation in the area, Cholera, diarrhea , dysentery and water borne diseases are likely to break out,” said Dr Mupalya.

He revealed that the greatest problem in the district is lack of human resource and inadequate money to fund the sensitization of the people because there are 18 sub-counties and the district has only six health assistants that makes the health department only concentrate on acute diseases only.

Dr Gideon Wamasebu the DHO Manafwa attributes the contamination of the water sources to encroachment and settlement in the hills neighbouring Mt Elgon where the source of the water is.

“And ofcourse settlement comes with construction of latrine pits up in the hills and whenever it rains, the water just washes the pit latrines and human waste ends up in the water sources in the low land areas. Waterborne diseases becomes an inevitability so people should be sensitized on hygiene and sanitation,” said Dr Wamasebu.

The Health Assistant Mr Julius Manza who has started educating the people on how to make water safe for drinking using Aqua safe tablets learnt that attitude and tradition are the greatest road blocks to hygiene and sanitation in the district.

“Can you imagine people still belive that it is a taboo to take safe water boiled or treated by the Aqua tablets! And as long as this attitude is not changed, many people will die of water borne diseases in this area,” said Mr. Julius Manza, the health inspector of Bumasobo, Buluganya, Bulago, Bulegeni, Simu, Sisiyi, Masira, Namisuni and Bulegini town council.

Mr. Manza urged the local leadership and teachers in UPE schools to play a leading role in helping the local population know that boiling water and using a tablet  is the only better way to save people from cholera, dysentery, diarrhea and bilharzias in the area.

This report comes barely a year after a syrvey on the Water quality analysis from selected rivers at Mt Elgon national park by Mr David Ogaram for Mbale revealed that massive encroachment beyond the bamboo zone were endangering the ecological functions of Mt Elgon at a great rate thereby pausing great danger for an environmental catastrophe.

“For of the rivers samples taken inside the park, park boundary and outside the park for Physico-chemical and bacterial examination and it was deduced that due to massive encroachment the rivers had a high number of dissolved solids that contaminated the waters,” reads the survey report signed by Mr Ogaram for Mbale area manager.

The report says that river Manafwa that supplies water to Mbale municipality, Tororo, Busiu and Butaleja was the most contaminated water with a total of 59.7 mg per litre total dissolved solids while Chebonet River in Kapchorwa stood at 22 mg/litre and Sisiyi stood at 25.3 mg/litre.

Reports at UWA also reveal that the water colour, turbidity, electrical conductivity, Alkalinity, hardness, iron content and manganese content have also been affected greatly.

The Mt Elgon area conservation manager Mr Adonia Bintorwa said Mt Elgon zone stands prone to heavy landslides, mudslides, massive soil erosion, desertification and water borne disease outbreaks if the encroachment is not checked now.

Ends.  

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Government should rethink better on patriotism

Government should rethink better on patriotism
David Mafabi

MBALE

President Museveni flanked by security minister Amama Mbabazi has commissioned many secondary teachers and students in Uganda into cadres of patriotism.

In bid to boost up teaching of partriotism, government also asked for Shs. 3.5 billion in the coming financial year to teach partriotism across the country [Daily Monitor 21 April].

For those who have lived in these times, since 1986, you could have seen Museveni undergo political metamorphosis. As a student, later a revolutionary, Museveni never believed in democracy with all its democratic processes and structures, he was purely a Marxist but now he advances capitalism something he least believed in and has started preaching patriotism.

Although he espoused ideals that represented the interests of the proletariat; comradeship is what they preached and never at any one time did they preach patriotism.

The country thus lost out the opportunity to act together as one to redress the mistakes committed by the former regimes as lack of patriotism, sectarianism and tribalism that ate up the old regimes were adored by the new rulers in masks.

But now 23 years down the road with Marxism buried, many of the bush cadres dead or a spent force, the comradeship spirit dead and confronted with new political and economic realities which are creating a new force of intellectuals opposed to him within the party itself, Museveni has now started grappling with patriotism to attempt to ameliorate the steadily decreasing political support with increasing opposition within the party.

In Mbale Museveni urged the teachers ‘Patriots’ to besides teaching learners about rats, frogs and cockroaches to teach children also about Uganda and patriotism.

Although the teachers were taught as talking points for government; Basic introduction to patriotism, Cadreship and methods of work, Evolution of humans by a team led by Security Minister Amama Mbabazi, many of them could not differentiate Patriotism from ‘NRMism’ as they kept singing;

“No change, fourth term, we shall stand by you in big numbers come 2011”

In as much as I expected the president to speak about patriotism, instill the spirit amongst the teachers, he kept talking about NRM and telling the “patriots” that his long stay in power was in fulfillment of the national demands.

True, we need patriotism; it is a matter that requires urgent national and multiparty consensus in order to put in place the most appropriate topics that would re-initiate patriotism amongst our people but to market our party as we justify our long stay in power and to instill fanatical and vociferous support for the ruling government is wrong. We can do better than this?

When I asked one teacher about patriotism, I was disillusioned to recognise that there are still Ugandans who either think exactly like Museveni about patriotism or have not moved an inch from thinking that good governance and democracy reside in president Museveni and NRM party.

Take it leave it, we are not going to instill patriotism in any Ugandan as long as we call workshops to cover up NRM government failures by pre-occupying ourselves with self-praises and unreasonable, unrealistic condemnation of the past regimes without addressing patriotism itself.

The socio-political reality today is that the ruling government is patronizing over a regime of serious rising impoverishment of Uganda in terms of moral, ethical, social, political, cultural and economic development; should Ugandan burry their heads in sand like the proverbial ostrich for purposes of patriotism? and can patriotism be preached, embraced amidst these vices?

Scholar James Bryce says: “Our country is not the only thing to which we owe our allegiance.  It is also owed to justice and to humanity. Patriotism consists not in waving the flag, but in striving that our country shall be righteous as well as strong” 

Unless our conception of patriotism is progressive, is all inclusive without inclination to political affiliation, has the element of humanity with no hatred or bitterness towards anyone, respect for human rights, equal justice before the law, it cannot hope to embody the real affection and the real interest of the nation.

What do we mean by patriotism in the context of our times? I venture to suggest that what we mean is a sense of national responsibility … a patriotism which is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, one not bent on marketing fourth term and seeing Mr. Museveni as the only man with a vision for Uganda but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.

But when a few teachers ‘now patriots’ selected from the ruling party supporters announce fourth term for president Museveni in the name of patriotism, it is not only unpatriotic and servile, but morally treasonable to all Ugandans of sound mind.

French Phisolosopher Montesquieu remarked: “If I knew something that would serve my country but would harm mankind, I would never reveal it; for I am a citizen of humanity first and by necessity, and a citizen of France second, and only by accident” I think this is where we ought to be.

Each man must for himself alone decide what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn’t.  You cannot shirk this and be a man.  To decide against your conviction is to be an unqualified and excusable traitor, both to yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may but don’t allow them to rob you of respect and dignity by deciding for you your own destiny.

In bid to revive patriotism in Uganda, let us answer the following questions; who should be involved? Find the input of our academic institutions of higher learning? And above all strive to find a comprehensive and well-thought-out input from everyone in Uganda irrespective of his political affiliation, class and sex.
Ends. 

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Amudat mothers trek to Kenya to access treatment

Amudat mothers trek to Kenya to access treatment

David Mafabi

Amudat– Ms Patricia Namohe 38, from Karita sub-county in Amudat is heavily pregnant and is expected to anytime from now.

But unlike other expectant mothers in the country who are close to the health services, Amudat is characterized by a set of unfortunate circumstances that have forced expectant mothers to deliver in the hands of traditional birth attendants.

Ms Namohe in order to deliver in the hands of qualified health personnel had to travel about 96 Km to Matany missionary hospital or cross to Kenya at Kacheliba hospital about 21 km away from Amudat.

In Amudat most expectant mothers, the majority of who are young girls under 30 years still do not have access to antenatal care services; walk long distances when going to deliver while others end up dying due to lack of qualified personnel.

The District Health Officer Dr Patrick Sati says only about 24% of women who give birth in Amudat receive care from trained personnel while the majorities give birth at home or under the supervision of traditional birth attendants.

Dr Sati the only doctor in Amudat who doubles as the DHO says health facilities especially in rural areas are not easily accessible due to the poor state of the roads, remoteness of the district, under-skilled workers who are overworked, under-paid and that the situation  is worsened by corruption.

“It is not surprising that the major causes of maternal mortality and morbidity in Amudat include severe bleeding, high blood pressure and obstructed labor because of long distances covered by expectant mothers in search of better health facilities,” said Dr Sati.

He revealed that lack of a referral hospital in Amudat district is forcing coupled with the persistent rains that have washed away bridges and cut off parts of Karita is forcing expectant mothers in Amudat, sick children and adults trek to Kacheliba in Kenya to get referral treatment for all diseases and deliveries.

The LCV chairman for Amudat Mr William Bwatum says Amudat district has only two health centre IIIs and two health Centre IIs that are ill equipped to provide referral treatment to complicated pregnancy cases, diseases and that given the fact that Karita Heath centre III is about 66 Km away from Amudat and about 21 Km to Kacheliba in Kenya, most patients prefer to get treatment in Kenya.

“It is about 21Km to Kacheliba which is a good hospital, properly equipped and given the nature of our roads that have been washed away by heavy rains patients cant afford to move on foot for a distance of 96Km to get no treatment since we have no ambulance, so most of the patients travel to Kenya to access treatment,” said Mr. Bwatum

While speaking to Daily Monitor 21 August Mr Bwatum revealed that although Amudat district has a population of about 143, 317 people, the health sector is ill equipped to the level that it lacks of adequate medicine, has inadequate medical staff and the roads are in a bad shape that hinder people from accessing good services in Uganda.

The District Health Inspector Mr Simon Elimu said although they have also two health centre IIs in Cheptaboyo and Alakas, a health sector report and local statistics at the two health Centre IIIs in Loro and Karita reveal that about 74% percent of the expectant mothers in Amudat deliver at home with the assistance of traditional birth attendants.

He said only 26% of the mothers deliver in the health centres with the help of the qualified medical staff and that most of the mothers deliver at home with Traditional Birth Attendants [TBA] while majority of them who can afford run to Kenya for treatment and delivery.
“Given the remoteness of Amudat district, the deliveries in the government health facilities are still low in the district, only 234 mothers expectant mothers delivered in health facilities under qualified medical staff this right from January 2012 to May 2013 just about 26%, this figure reflects that many expectant mothers about 74% are not utilizing the government health facilities due to distance, remoteness, lack of sensitization and bad roadnet work,” said Mr. Elimu. 

Mr. Bwatum revealed that although with the construction of health IIs and IIIs and recent recruitment, the health department has about 39% of  the established medical staff posts filled with only one Doctor who doubles as the District Health Officer, “Infact this puts doctor: population ratio is 1:143,317 far above the World Health Organisation standards that recommends the ratio of Doctor to patient ratio as 1:10,000 for Africa.

Mr Bwatum said because of strong traditional ties, most people despise the health education activities at community level and called upon the district leadership not to leave the work to the few health workers in the district alone but to join in the sensitisation of the communities about the importance of delivering in health facilities.

He said whereas there is lack of medical equipments and medicine in the newly constructed health centre IIIs and IIs, there is equally low utilisation of the reproductive health services and prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV/ Aids which explains the soaring death rates of pregnant mothers and prevalence rates of HIV/ Aids.

Dr Sati said anemia is a common disease in adults and children in the district due to lack of food that is rich in iron adding malaria, diarrhea, whopping cough and HIV/Aids.

He said because the district is arid the residents are unable to access green leafy vegetables that are rich in iron to help prevent the disease.

In Amudat one cannot think about Kenya’s ethnic tribes; the Pokot and the Kalenjin without thinking about the district of Amudat, the new district in Uganda. Why? Kenya’s influence on Amudat district is everywhere in the new district, the buildings that are designed and built, the lifestyle, currency used let alone the language spoken.

One clear indication of the connection between these ethnic tribes is the clear pattern of association in the cultures, customs and Language that whenever the sick cross to Kacheliba in Kenya, they are treated as local Pokot from Kenya and given treatment at any health facility within the sub-region.

Ends

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A case of failed abortions, what if it was legalized?

A case of failed abortions, what if it was legalized?

David Mafabi

Mbale

“I was with my boyfriend for a month when I found out I was pregnant. I was only 16 and I wasn’t ready to have a baby then, I just had a voice tell me “Take a test.” When I took the test I came up positive, when I told my boyfriend he told me he was not responsible and asked me to look for the man responsible,”

“I was in Senior three then, I could not tell my parents, I thought about committing suicide, then abortion, then chose the latter to abort in order to continue with my studies,” said Ms Amina Nakayenze as she constantly would be taken up deep thoughts, tears would roll then she would recover then shortly keep quiet for some time before resuming to narrate.

She told Daily Monitor that she chose to have an abortion locally.

“I then moved to a traditional birth attendant to see advice and she gave me a mixture of herbs in a mug to take at about 7.00pm, she urged me to take a mug of this mixture of very many things I did not understand and I took,” said Ms Nakayenze.

Ms Nakayenze, now a banker said after about six hours deep in the night, she started feeling abdominal pain, then a very sharp pain.

“Nothing came out, I bent on the floor as if to ease myself, I was heavy, the bleeding eventually started, for the moment I remained alone but then later I called my mother when the pain intensified,” said Ms Nakayenze.

“And when my mother walked in, she found me in a pool of blood and without speaking a word, she called our neighbours who put me on a local stretcher and took me to the Bududa district referral hospital,” She added.

She said she lay unconscious in bed and that when she woke up, it was difficult to know what exactly had happened.

“I was treated for a ruptured uterus, spleen and some stomach complications. My body has healed, but my psychological scars will take longer to mend. And I am constantly struggling with depression, I can’t imagine dealing with such intense emotions whenever I recall what I went through as a teenager,” said Ms Nakayenze.

She revealed that after treatment the doctor then pronounced before her mother that she might never have a baby because the uterus was ruptured then my mother turned to me and said “It is up to you, I have played my part as a parent”

“My question is can I still get pregnant this was about eight years ago. Now I am at the point of my life were I am settled in my home with my husband we have really good jobs and my husband wants a baby, I also feel I want a baby but I can’t get pregnant gain because my uterus was ruptured,” said Ms Nakayenze

Ms Nakayenze’s case however is just amongst the many cases of many abortions done in rural areas by quacks and wrongly by medical workers not supposed to perform abortions in clinics.

Prof Dr Seggane Musisi Department of Psychiatry school of medicine at Makerere says every year about one million teenagers get pregnant and 40% of these abort because they did not plan to have the children.

He revealed that although this is the number which is recorded in the health facilities, there are many cases that undergo abortions and have died in the villages silently because they fear to be stigmatized and victimized by the colonial law that condemns abortion.

“Moral condemnation and intimidation makes taking a decision to abort very difficult for a woman. And unsafe abortions are very much linked to laws prohibiting abortion in Uganda,” said Prof Musisi.

He revealed that Ms Nakayenze was a victim of quack methods of chemicals prepared by TBA [Nanda] which very many girls have fallen prey to because the qualified medical workers shying away from doing for fear of being arrested.

Prof Musisi said many young girls are suffering sepsis Gangrene, pyometia, pelvic inflammatory diseases, infertility, obstetric fistula, embolism, ectopic pregnancy, incomplete cervix and incomplete removal of products just because government has failed to legalise abortion to be performed in hospitals by qualified medical workers.

Dr Charles Kiggundu, a consultant Gynecologist/Obstetrician at Makerere University medical school said it has been observed in Uganda that six women suffer severe morbidities- anaemia, infertility, pelvic pain and obstetric fistulas that lead to ill health caused partly by deliveries and unsafe abortions carried out in rural areas.

“Unplanned pregnancy is the root cause of most abortions. Preventing unintended pregnancy, and thereby the abortions that often follow, would eliminate nearly all injury and death resulting from unsafe abortion,” said Dr Kiggundu.

Dr Kiggundu said recent studies have shown that the cost to the healthcare system of treating complications from unsafe abortion is US$130 per patient.

He revealed that Maternal Mortality Rates in Uganda have moved down from 506 to 438/100,000 live births, abortion has become the silent killer of Ugandan mothers that has moved from 20% in 2001 to about 31% in 2012/2013 pausing a great obstacle to achieve of MDGs two by 2015 that stands at 143/100,000 live births.

“One thing government should know is that post abortion care is estimated to cost nearly $14 million annually in Uganda. And two-thirds of this amount, or US$9.5 million, is spent on non medical costs (overhead and infrastructure), and the remaining third (US$4.4 million) is spent on drugs, supplies, labor, hospitalization and outpatient fees, which far expensive than procuring an abortion itself. The question here is why doesn’t government legalise abortion to save mothers and save money budgeted for and spent every year on post abortion complications treatment,” said Dr Kiggundu.

He said most costs of post abortion care arise from treating incomplete abortion and a significant proportion is spent treating more serious complications, such as sepsis, shock, lacerations and perforations and yet an abortion would cost about Shs 200,000 or even less $80.

The abortion law and policy in Uganda

The executive director of Center for Human Rights and Development [CEHURD] Mr Moses Mulumba said the Ugandan law allows abortion under some circumstances, but laws and policies on abortion are unclear and are often interpreted inconsistently, making it difficult for women and the medical community to understand what is legally permitted.

“The Ugandan Constitution states in article 22 on protection of life that no person has the right tp terminate the life of an unborn child except as maybe authorized by law, this means that abortion is permitted if the procedure is authorized by law, but many of the medical workers cant perform abortions because of failure to interpret the law,” said Mr Mulumba.

He revealed that under the 2006 National Policy Guidelines and Service Standards for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, pregnancy termination is permissible in cases of fetal anomaly, rape and incest, or if the woman has HIV.

He said because the interpretations of the law are ambiguous, medical providers may be reluctant to perform an abortion for any reason for fear of legal consequences. Ends

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What does installation of parallel cultural leader mean to the Bagisu

What does installation of parallel cultural leader mean to the Bagisu

David Mafabi

Bududa- On 2 September, Leaders in Bududa ignored the high court order and installed Umukhungu Bukusu a parallel cultural leader in Bugisu sub-region.

Although Bamasaba [Bagisu] are one ethnic tribe living at the slopes of Mt Elgon and united by their common culture male circumcision, the installation of Mr Joseph Wash Kanyanya as a new parallel cultural leader for Babukusu in Bududa [Umukhungu Bukusu] has put a knife on the unity of Bamasaba.

According to Mr Abassa Wetaka the relationship between Inzu Ya Masaba, the official cultural institution of Bugisu and self styled Umukhungu Bukusu for Ibududa cultural institution Mr Wash Joseph Kanyanya has worsened.

“The Bamasaba Cultural institution has been involved in a feud with the self styled cultural leader Mr Kanyaanya and although they they claim he cannot qualify to be a cultural leader in Bugisu region, Mr Kanyanya is exploiting the gaps that are existing in the Bamasaba cultural institution,” said Mr Wetaka.

 

 

The Bamasaba cultural institution [Inzu Ya Masaba]

Umukhungu Bukusu Joseph Kanyanya Wash II started in early 2004 at Bumutoto talking about the cultural institution of Bamasaba, he spread literature about the institution and went around the Bugisu sub-region districts awakening people about the institution.

Although he later in 2005 declared himself Umukukha Uwe Bamasaba [cultural leader of Bamasaba], he received a lot of confrontation and rejection from Bugisu parliamentary group and district chairpersons from Bugisu then who vowed to have him arrested and prosecuted.

“Bugisu had never had a king, how does this boy confuse us that he is a king? Who elected him? We are all Bakukha in our homes and we are only administered at clan level. This boy should stop provoking us into annoyance,” said the chairman Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee then and now Leader of Opposition Mr Nathan Nandala Mafabi.

Mr Kanyanya then fled Mbale district and later transferred the Institution of traditional leader to Babukusu Ibuduuda Kingdom in his Ancestral Homeland of Babukusu ethnic Community Bududa district. And according to him the Kingdom has five tribes and 258 Ancestral Clans, Located in Bududa District.

was sworn in as a fully reorganized cultural leader of Babukusu in Bududa by Ms Rachael Nakase, the Bududa Grade One Magistrate on 08, November 2012.

And on 2 September 2013, in  a controversial function presided over by the area woman MP Ms Khainza, Mr Kanyanya was fully installed and crowned as Umukhongo Bukusu in the Ibududa cultural kingdom.

Although MPs from Bugisu region have disowned Mr Wash Kanyanya, the self styled cultural leader of the Ibuududa cultural Kingdom for Babukusu, the fact that Bududa district Woman MP Ms Justine Khainza presided over his installation speaks volumes about the kingdom.

The Election of Umukukha for Inzu Ya Masaba [cultural leader]

Mr Wilson Wamimbi, 75, Uganda’s former High Commissioner to Canada, was elected cultural chief of the Bamasaba [Inzu Ya Masaba] in August 2010 by representatives of the 26 Bamasaba clansmen, at a ceremony that took place in Mbale Municipal Chambers.

Mr Wamimbi was however elected amid bickering from a group of elders, who include Prof late Dan Nabuderere, Prof Timothy Wangusa and Mr Edward Masika the former Chief Justice of Uganda and other elders from across Bugisu sub-region
The elders were particularly concerned about how the Bugisu Cultural Board chose only two out of seven candidates originally short-listed for the post of the cultural chief.

“The board under unclear circumstances removed five candidates leaving only two candidates- Wilson Wamimbi and Canon Kodovia Wakiro, we want to know the criteria used and how they arrived at these two without consulting widely,” said Late Prof Nabudere.

This is what Mr Kanyanya has exploited to declare himself Umukhongo Bukusu, a parallel kingdom that is in Bududa district.

 

 

History of the Bagisu or Bamasaba

The Bagisu- have no tradition of an early migration from somewhere. They assert that their ancestors were called Mundu and Sera whom tradition says came out of a hole in Mountain Masaba (Elgon).

Their early life seems to have been anti-social, almost based on the principle “survival of the fittest”. Very little is so far known about their history but they are known to be related to a sub-group of the Luhya of Kenya known as the Bukusu. The Bagisu are believed to have separated from the Bukusu sometime in the 19th century.

The tradition claiming that they have always lived where they are throughout history is not fashionable. The earliest immigrants into Bugisu area are believed to have moved into the Mt. Elgon area during the 16th century from the eastern plains.

Their earliest home is said to have been in the Uasin Gishu plateau of Kenya. They seem to have been an end product of the mixing of peoples of different origins and cultures, but since their language is Bantu, their predecessors should have been Bantu speakers as well.

Political Set-up of the Bagisu The Bagisu had a loose political structure based on clans. Every clan had an elder known as Umwami we sikoka (chief of the clan). These men were chosen on the basis of age and wealth.

They were responsible for maintaining law and order, and unity and the continuity of the clan. They were also responsible for keeping and maintaining the cultural values of the clan and for making sacrifices to the ancestral spirits. Often, stronger chiefs would extend their influence to other clans but no chief managed to subdue other clans into one single political entity. Other important figures in Bugisu included the rainmakers and the sorcerers

But according to Mr Simon Mulongo the chairman of Bugisu parliamentary group who doubles as Bubulo East MP they pay their allegiance to Umukuuka Wilson Weasa Wamimbi, the leader of Inzu Ya Masaba because they elected him to lead the Bagisu [Bamasaba].

“Mr Wamimbi was unanimously elected by clan leaders in Masaba land and nobody else should to disrupt his leadership. We are asking government to desist from dividing the Bamasaba and vowed to fight the leadership of Mr Kanyanya,” said Mr Mulongo.

Mr Mulongo explains that people have rejected Mr Kanyanya because his cultural leadership style, is based on Kingship which the Bagisu have never had in their history. 

But Mr Kanyanya has a big following in Bududa; the Bududa political and traditional leaders, a chiefdom or kingdom means a better life for them which is why they are determined to get through Mr Kanyanya as their Unukhongo. Whether Inzu Ya Masaba, Bugisu cultural union wants it or not is another debate altogether.

Mr Kanyanya says the new king Wilson Wamimbi is a former politician who was elected by clan representatives instead of clan chiefs, as is the case with him. He dismissed Wamimbi as a leader of a socio-political cultural non governmental organization.

He explains that they opted to form their own kingdom because they belong to two different ethnic communities adding that Ibuduuda Cultural Kingdom belongs to Babukusu ethnic community while the Bamasaba belongs to Bagisu. 

Constitutionally correct

And this is why, according to him, the Constitution carries Articles 37 and 246 which advocate the right to culture and institutions of traditional/cultural leaders for all tribes and cultures who might desire them.

 “The problem with the Bamasaba is that they do not understand that the formation of kingdoms does not belong to them alone. Many ethnic independent tribes in Uganda can have as many kings as they choose. And we don’t have to be an old royal tribe to qualify our cultural autonomy, the constitution mandates us,” said Mr Abdul Situma, the Speaker of the breakaway kingdom; Babukusu Ibududa cultural institution.

He adds that as an institution they are waiting for anybody who will come to challenge them on being Babukusu because the constitution Uganda recognizes them.

Umukukha Wamimbi’s visit to Bududa cancelled

In the month of August the Umukukha Wammbi was scheduled to visit Bududa district but police stopped him from visiting after groups loyal to Umukhongo Bukusu threatened to beat them up.

The subjects of the parallel Ibuduuda Kingdom who comprised of youths blocked the on-going familiarization tour of Umukukha Wamimbi [the official cultural leader of Inzu ya Masaba] to Bududa district last month. 

Armed with machetes, clubs and sticks, Kanyaanya subjects said they wouldn’t allow Wamimbi to visit the area.
Prior to the incident, Kanyaanya had issued several warnings to Umukukha Wamimbi in writing and announcements on local FM radio stations not to step foot in his territory on matters concerning cultural issues. 

Aware of the threats, police led by Mr Jacob Opolot, the Elgon Regional Police Commander blocked Umukukha Wamimbi, the Bamasaba cultural chief and his team from crossing to Bududa.

Mr Opolot argued that his action was strictly aimed at avoiding violent clashes between supporters of the parallel cultural institutions. He advised that Umukukha Wamimbi and his team to suspend his cultural tour in Bududa until the impasse between the two cultural kingdoms is sorted out which did not go down well with the people who pay allegiance to Umukukha.

The conflicts;

 

Many Bagisu argue that Inzu Ye Masaba under Umukukha Wamimbi should have given  Umukhongo Kanyanya a ministerial position in Bamasaba cultural institution to cool him down because he is the one who started it.

“Our elders rejected Mr Kanyanya, they regarded him imposter, abused him, this should not have happened. They should have treated him as human, pulled him in the new kingdom as a minister to cool him down but now he has started a kingdom which we cant fight to get back because he has support,” said Mr Idris Kutosi, an elder and minister of state for cultural affairs in the parallel kingdom {Ibududa kingdom for Babukusu].

Although Bududa leaders led by the area woman MP Ms Justine Khainza declared that the installation of Mr Kanyanya as a cultural leader of Babukusu in Ibududa kingdom is legitimate according to the constitution under article 37 that provides for any culture to have a king, the Inzu Ya Masaba argue that Mr Kanyanya is an imposter being used by some people to divide the Bagisu.

“For us we are not against Umukukha cultural institution but we are following the constitution that provides for this, we want this cultural leader to solve the problems of Babukusu,” Ms Khainza when asked about the Ibududa cultural institution.

All though tension is now mounting amongst the Bamasaba [those hailing from Bududa, Manafwa, Mbale, Sironko and Bulambuli] Bugisu sub-region over the creation of a parallel cultural institution, Ms Khainza say the Bagisu [Bamasaba] should go slow on the matter to unite to solve the problems amicably.

The new cultural leader Mr Kanyanya, the self styled leader of Babukusu haling from Bududa said Babukusu don’t belong to Inzu Ya Masaba kingdom and he wonders why they are being fought.

 “We the Babukusu are not Bagisu, we have our own distinct cultures and customs, we must be left alone to manage our cultural institution as the Bagisu under Umukukha manage theirs but we shall respect them and they also need to respect us as an independent cultural institution,” said Mr Kanyanya.

He revealed that their origin is Uasin Gishu plateau near Mt Kenya under the leadership of Ikulubini ye Bamurri Mr Bukusu Wanyaanga the first cultural leader of Babukusu between 476AD to 1011AD who died mysteriously and left throne to his son Mr Bukusu Tolokwa  Mundu who reined up to 1200 AD and gave birth to three sons Mr Masaba, [father of Bamasaba] Mr Nabende [a father to Bawanganda clan] and Mr Mukusu [a father to Babukusu who settled in Bududa].

But Mr John Musila, the Bamasaba Cultural Union Information Minister says Mr Kanyanya is distorting history because it is known that the Bagisu [Bamasaba] came from Masaba who produced three sons; Mwambu who went to Sironko and Bulambuli], Wanale who settled in Bungokho and Mubuya who settled in Bududa and Manafwa.

Mr Musira described Mr Kanyanya as an imposter who does not even qualify to be a clan head in Bugisu because he didn’t undergo the traditional cultural circumcision and that he is using the kingdom for economic gains but not to serve the Bagisu.

“The Babukusu who hail from Kenya separated by the artificial colonial boundary are part of the ‘Inzu iya Masaba’ Bamasaba cultural union, we have even given them two ministries how does Mr Kanyanya claim that he is Umubukusu and where are they in Bududa? Mr Kanyanya does not qualify to be an adult in the Bugisu traditions,” said Mr Musila.

Mr Kangala Tumwa, a personal assistant to Umukukha Wamimbi says Mr Kanyanya is being used by politicians to disorganize Bagisu. Ends

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Mt Elgon residents now use ash to chase away mudslides

Mt Elgon residents now use ash to chase away mudslides

David Mafabi

Bududa- Ms Norah Nakamola, 63, stood still in her compound Nabusasi village in Bumayoka sub-county in Bududa district pondering her next move.

She looked at the sky and was able to deduce that it would pour heavily that day but remained unbothered about the cracks that could be seen visibly on the ground at her home.
That afternoon she had expected sunshine to give her a rest from the threats of mudslides that have killed several people and buried crops.

And across in the neighbouring ridges she could see people moving swiftly to remove everything they had spread to dry as others moved slowly through the remains of their gardens.   She then moved back into her kitchen, got some ash on an old traditional mud plate [Luzo] then looked at the sky and pronounced; “Tsya, tsya, ukhakhupa hano tta” loosely meaning [go, go don’t rain here] as she spread the ash in the atmosphere.

Then, she bent down at the cracks that are aparently spread everywhere across Bumwalukani ridge and covered then with ash such that there was no crack clearly seen from above.

And satisfied that everything was covered, she the evoked her traditional god “Wele Matsaka, yikha ukhuwe ifula indayi, ukhonekhisa bilya taa, ukhakwira ta, bimbakho babana bo. Nukhuyete,” loosely meaning god of Matsaka, come down, give us good rains that will not destroy our food, our crops, it should not kill us, protect your children]

When Daily Monitor approaches her she says “ We shall not move away but the mudslides will move away, our grand parents lived here and they never died of mudslides because they used ash, spread into the air and they never occurred,” said Ms Nakomola.

More typically, however, the Mt Elgon residents-of whom there are over 80, 000 residents at risk of mudslides anytime, say that they are usually safe from mudslides whenever ash is spread in the air and the names of their ancestors is evoked to save them.

Ms Nakomola is not alone, there are over 1000 residents across Mt Elgon in Bugisu sub-region [Mbale, Bududa, Manafwa, Sironko and Bulambuli] who have refused to leave because she believes that ash and constant covering of the cracks will save them from impending mudslides.

Mr Gershome Busolo, 74 who lives at the slopes of Mt Elgon in Bulambuli district says the ash and the evoking of ancestors has got great part to protect the residents of Mt Elgon against the mudslides that have killed several people at the slopes of Mt Elgon.

“Our ancestors lived at Mt Elgon and they were protected from the mudslides. Those who have died, have only died vasically because they don’t observe what our elders did in the old times. What about those who have survived? We just need besides planting trees to evoke our ancestors and use ash as the traditional way of chasing away destructive rains,” said Mr Busolo.

Mr Vicent Woboya who lead a team from the prime minister’s office to register people living at the dangerous slopes of Mt Elgon prone to mudslides says that although they registered about 1934 people in Bududa Mt Elgon hills to be relocated, they found difficulty in convincing people to register for relocation.

“Mt Elgon areas prone to mudslides have been mapped  as dangerous to live in due to the 40 Km crack that runs across the mountain but there are people who are not willing to register to move away because they think they can tame mudslides using ash,” said Mr Woboya.

But the Uganda Red Cross Society insist that rather than look to superstitions, the residents of Mt Elgpn must start relocating to safer areas to be safe from mudslides.

“The reports of impending mudslides coupled with big cracks across Mt Elgon are not good news for the people.  The people must rethink, relocate to safer areas, plant tress across the mountain as a mitigation measure to be safe from mudslides,” said Mr Richard Nataka, the secretary  general of URCS.

The Multi-ministerial team that comprises ministry of works, Lands, Internal affairs, trade and industry, local government and officials from prime minister’s office mapped the areas prone to mudslides in June 2012 and started registering the residents to relocate them to other safe areas but they are yet to announce the relocation plans.

The residents claim that the efforts are aimed at grabbing their ancestral land and not to save their lives from mudslides.

National Environment and Management Authority [NEMA] and Uganda Wildlife Authority [UWA] have warned small mud flows observed on Mt Elgon with many water openings are an indication that the rocks are under tension and that some small cracks formed due bad farming practices, foot paths as well as road construction on the slopes make Mt Elgon prone to mudslides. 

According to Dr Gorretti Kitutu, the environment systems specialist at NEMA because of the ever increasing population, people have encroached on the forest cover on the mountain for settlement and economic activities making soil on the mountain loose and posing a threat of mudslides.

“Nobody can control mudslides traditionally or using ash, people must move away for safety because the entire mountain is a risky place,” said Dr Kitutu.

Local reports from Uganda Wildlife Authority indicate that the 40KM crack discovered on Mt Elgon three years ago which has now deepened from 19.2cm to 30cms, putting the lives of about 80,000 people at risk.

The Mt Elgon warden in charge of conservation Mr Richard Matanda says there is no way ash and evoking of ancestors or any god is going to save the people from mudslides until they decide to obey government order to move away.

“People must move to safe areas otherwise they risk being buried by mudslides because the cracks indicate great trouble in the waiting for our people and we must stop tempting death by using ash. We must stop encroachment and accept to be moved away from the Mt Elgon,” said Mr Matanda. Ends

Disasters at Mt Elgon Three disasters have occurred at Mt Elgon area. In March 2010, landslides hit Nametsi village in Bududa District killing 350 people and displacing thousands, most of whom are now resettled in Kiryandongo District. In 2011 there was another mudslide in Bulambuli that killed about 28 people, in March this year mudslides killed six people in Sironko District and in June there was another mudslide that buried 18 people in Bududa District.

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Who are these people the president gave land?

Who are these people the president gave land?

David Mafabi

Kween

Almost a camp for displaced people living on a rock, close to Mt Elgon national park in the new Kween district; a mere collection of thatched huts with wooden walls, makeshift shelters, mud, wattle on a rocky hill living deplorable conditions.

Wattle, mud and debris scattered every where, pigs and ragged children is what welcomes you to ‘Rwanda and Kisangani’ camps.

Mr. Lazaru Mwanawoi, 54, of Chelibei village, Kwanyiny sub-county is one of the residents of ‘Kisangani and Rwanda camp’ at Kwanya sub-county in Kween district says they have been staying on top of this rock in make-shift structures for close to about 19 years ever since UWA displaced them from the Mt Elgon national park.

When Daily Monitor approaches him with the question; Are you Benet? he simply says,  “We are not Benet, the Benet are up in the hills there. For us we are former workers of the Forest department who were laid off and others are former workers of the saw mills. But we need land because we have no where to go,”

Mr. Mwanawoi was telling the truth as I faced him although later he changed his face and said “I don’t know, I have forgotten something,” after he discovered that many of ‘Rwanda and Kisangani’ residents were staring at him.

Mr. Mwanawoi is one of the about 1400 people living on a rock at ‘Rwanda and Kisangani’ whom President Museveni directed the Prime Minister’s office to degazette the London portion on Mt Elgon park to resettle them.

Another resident Mr. Phillip Mataki says that after losing business in the forestry Authority they had no where to go so they rented land at the rock which belongs to Mr. Stanely Cheptoris at Shs. 10,000 per year.

“So we have been staying here, we have nowhere to go. We keep renting land here as we operate small businesses like selling Malwa, a local gin, rearing pigs, chicken, providing casual labour in the park and hunting but one government gives us land, we shall settle outside this rock,” said Mr. Mataki.

President Museveni in his letter to the office of the Prime minister dated 5 February at the height of elections says about 1400 Benet families where displaced from their cradle land during the demarcation of the national park and that they are living on rocks in deplorable conditions in ‘Rwanda and Kisangani’ in Kween district.

“About 1400 families of the Benet were displaced and are now living on a rock. This is not acceptable. I am therefore directing you to cause concerned ministries to degazette the London portion of the national park so that those families are settled permanently. This London portion is an intrusion of the national park into the settled area. This part should be cut off from the forest so that these families are settled,” reads the letter signed by President Museveni in part.

But who are these people staying on a rock?

The chairman of the displaced Mr. Patrick Satya insists that when government transferred the authority of Mt. Elgon national Park to UWA in 1990/92, UWA then burnt all settlement that had been constructed by the Benet, Yatui and Ndorobo in Kapkwata, evicted them from Kapkwata, their cradle land and rendered them homeless thereby forcing them to construct makeshift shelters on a rock at Rwanda and Kisangani where they are living as squatters on their hitherto own land.

“We had settled and were doing our business at Kapkwata when UWA evicted us and started planting the forest, we lost land and that is the reason why we are living here,” said Mr. Satya.

 

In a cultural meeting held at Kwanyiny primary school 13 September the LCIII chairman for Kwanyiny Mr Henry Tonni said UWA has been unfair by evicting them from their settlement and farmlands, rendering them homeless without allocating alternative land for settlement and farming.

“When we were evicted, we where about 61 people, the population has since grown to 1400, we are now staying on a rock in deplorable conditions, we need land to survive and UWA despite the president’s directive has refused to give us land, they harass us, arrest us, where do we go?” said Mr Tonni.

 

Mr William Cheposis, the LCV councilor representing the displaced people in  ‘Rwanda and Kisangani’ told the meeting that UWA has the 1954 colonial,  1983/84, 1990/93 and the 2003/04 boundaries that have confused people for the  last 16 years to the extent that many of them believe that boundaries are  forged.

 

He said most of the people at the rock in ‘Kisangani and Rwanda’ are not Benet and that government gave the Benet land under resettlement scheme of 1983 and then in 2009/2010 and later in February 2011.

 

The Mt Elgon conservation area manager Mr. Adonia Bintorwa says the Benet got land within the park for resettlement in 1983 and recently in 2009/2010 and that the people claiming for settlement are not Benet.

A verification report by Mt Elgon conservation area under UWA comprising of the Benet and Yatui leaders and one of the longest non commissioned officer at Mt Elgon conservation area Mr. Patrick Chebet says the group asking for land comprises of people who are benefiting from Taungya farming system.

Under Taungya farming system, people have been contracted to plant soft wood plantations in the national park, look after it and have been allowed to do gardening of maize,beans and vegetables to grow alongside the trees.

“Some Kenyans [Kikuyu] who formerly worked with Elgon saw mill owned by Mr. Mr. Heron Nganga, former government workers of forest department, Kapkwata saw mill workers owned by an Indian and workers of Sipi international saw mill owned by Dr. Stephen Chebrot have all been enlisted as the displaced yet they are not Benet,” said Mr. Bintorwa.

The report reveals that there are eight two former casual labourers, traders and taungya residents in Kapkwata forest village, 21 former forest workers, 34 former saw mill workers and Mr. Robert Yesho, Mr. Peter Sikoria serving UPDF soldiers, teachers, several Sabiny and Bagisu who own land else where and are claiming to be landless.

A new report:

A new verification report by the Inter-ministerial mission to Mt Elgon National park to make assessment of the possibility of degazetting parts of Mt Elgon to resettle the people living in ‘Kisangani and Rwanda’ near Kapkwata says the people on the rock are not Benet as indicated in President Museveni’s letter.

The report signed by Ms Pemela Komujuni, disaster management officer at the Prime ministers’ office says the people living on the rock were originally workers of the forestry department, saw millers and displaced persons from Ngene sub-county by Karimojong cattle raiders.

“Therefore the proposed London area for degazettement should be halted because it is a key catchment area for rivers Siti, Kere, Kaplegep and other streams as well as two gravitational water schemes, the verification should be carried out to establish the genuine landless people in need of resettlement,” reads the report dated 27 March 2012, copy of which Daily Monitor has seen.

Although the president in his letter suggested that the London portion of the Mt Elgon park be gazette for settlement of these people, the inter-ministerial mission says since the lowe lying areas of Ngenge, Chepsukunya and Greek are now peaceful, government should consider acquiring land in these areas for resettling these people.

The report is signed by Ms Pamela Komujuni [OPM], Mr. John Makombo  director of conservation at UWA, Mr. Domisiano Owor Wildlife officer at ministry of tourim, trade and industry and Mr Julius Mafumbo senior environment officer at the ministry of water and environment.

He said UWA wants the slopes of the mountain to be gazetted as a disaster area after a comprehensive geological study because people have gone past the 1993 boundary up to the cliff close to the bamboo zone which makes it even more dangerous.

UWA reports indicate that massive encroachment at Mt Elgon national park coupled with deforestation, poor farming methods signals an environmental disaster to the entire Eastern Uganda and western parts of Kenya and urges the government to design ways of ending encroachment and degradation of the Mt Elgon in order to save our people from famine, diseases and landslides Ends

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Farmers demand application of biotechnology

Farmers demand application of biotechnology

David Mafabi

Sironko- Following the impact of unpredictable climate on crops in Karamoja sub-region, farmers in Sironko have demanded the application of biotechnology to boost agricultural productivity. Farmers who had visited Buginyanya Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute said on 18 September that the agriculture sector in Uganda is facing unpredictable weather pattern that cause droughts, floods and pest infestation, which affect crops productivity.
“The use of such technology is necessary to overcome such agriculture problem. Biotechnology is one of the innovation that is able to overcome the climate change effect,” said Mr Charles Walayo, a coffee farmer in Bumasobo.

Mr Peter Wobibi, who is pioneering the apple growing under Buginyanya Apple Growers’ Association, said the biggest problem in Uganda is tradition verses modernity.

“Most people prefer using traditional methods of farming which can not help overcome the agricultural problems of climate change but we feel as farmers that the new innovations and biotechnology could be the best way to go in order to imrove productivity to feed the big population,” said Mr Wobibi.

According to the Director Buginyanya Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Centre, Dr William Wogoire, house hold poverty in Bugisu and Sebei sub-regions is due to over reliance on coffee as the only traditional cash crop without alternative crops as substitutes for income generation whenever coffee prices slump.

Dr Wogoire estimates that with introduction of biotechnology and other crops like apple plant, properly maintained, could produce between 300 – 400 fruits at one harvest, which would earn a rural farmer between Shs240,000 to Shs300,000, a price that is way above that of coffee harvest in a year.

He revealed that although there have been numerous inventions and research from universities and government agricultural institutions that can be applied in the agriculture sector to improve productivity, it needs the government regulation to pass the permit for the application of such biotechnology.

“Farmers are really expecting that biotechnology can be applied in their farmes to boost crop production and this can this can be applied to produce plants that are resistant to drought, flood and particular pests as well as can be grown on peat land or on tidal land to feed the big populations,” said Dr Wogoire.
Dr Wogoire said that the nutrient content and the harvest period can be designed and improved to cut down the use of pesticide.
“The land efficiency and cultivation may also contribute positively to the environment and reducing the green house effect which is also affecting climate in World today and if biotechnology is applied by farmers in Uganda, it will be able to achieve its food self-sufficiency and survive from global crisis,” said Mr Wogoire.
He added that the application of biotechnology should not disregard the biosecurity and food safety and that new genetically engineered varieties can only be applied if such products are biologically safe for human consumption.

Bugizardi centre is one of the nine Zonal Agricultural Development and Research centres created by government under National Agricultural Research [Act, 2005 to generate research and develop agricultural technologies which are suitable for the zone for improving farming systems for high production.

According to Dr Wogoire the institute, formerly a centre of excellency, for Arabica coffee, in the new arrangement under the Zonal Agricutural development and Research has also introduced besides Apples, Irish potatoes, short term but high yielding cassava and beans.

He said research has already been done in the highland areas and has found it has been discovered that Winter Banana, Golden Doset, Badskop, Jonathan and Gloster apple varieties could do well in these areas once the farming technologies are properly followed. Ends

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