By AKAMPA Tanbull
Your Excellency, Me and my village mates we would like to congratulate you for reaching 77 years of Knowledge & Wisdom as well bring you greetings from my humble village – Kahengye.
The only village that has no LC1 Chairperson though shared name by two Districts, Ntungamo and Rukungiri.
This village of ours is more popular than all villages in the entire two Districts!
As people were celebrating your birthday!
I have been asking my self why Ugandans have continued to be poor, especially people from my village.
Very few are in the middle class, others are mid yorkers and others have become poorer than they were in the 1990s.
I left this village and went to Kampala to get education, completed Primary level, came back to School from Muntuyera H/S-Kitunga, finished and went back to Buganda for University and some work here and there.
Those days people would take their Children to Buganda/Kampala because there were better services like education/Schools, Health Facilities, Clean Water, Electricity and road infrastructure network.
Some of these services are now available in Rukungiri and Ntungamo, so not so necessary for one to go to Kampala unless the case is beyond like a federal hospital, a University, a medical specialist etc.
Before I left this village of mine, people would farm enough food and even keep surplus, our people had goats, cows, local breed Chicken, plenty of fruits…etc.
But as we talk now majority are growing crops for food though not enough, they end up selling the same food they are supposed to eat to buy salt, soap or even go to hospital or even sell land or goats to send their Children to School!
Cows are in very few families!
Out of 10 people only 2 families have cows!
Goats, Chicken are in 3 families out of 10. Fruits are so scarce! Eggs are same price as Kampala.
Did my people become more poorer or they got so rich? We have families that sleep on empty stomachs if they don’t go out to work for maize flour or omuzizi!
More than two cows would be slaughtered during Christmas or Easter Holiday and meat would be finished on the same day of Slaughter!
Today, one cow can not be finished!
What went wrong?
For two years I have decided to learn and experience more with my people, I have realized that land has been so fragmented! People are now in plots than they used to be.
They have kept in their old ways of traditional growing of millet, coffee yet they have no enough land!
They have taken up loans without businesses or sustainable sources of incomes and loan sharks have taken their land or property.
They have not been given any agricultural extension services from Government and so they have been left on their own.
They only vote when the voting cycle comes.
No farm in puts from Government/OWC, no breeds to improve on the breeds they had nor inspire them to keep Cattle on Zero grazing or Piggery or rabbits!
The Parish Development Model will have to reach these grassroot peasants to identify who is doing what and where the gaps are and how these gaps can be bridged to improve skills, boost production and commercialisation of what is being produced.
I am hopeful that if corruption is deliberately fought we will have more people getting more money at household level thus supporting the economy for example if we have more people getting 100000Shs per week, they are better off than those who get a one Billion deal in Kampala/Wakiso.
The one of 100000 spends more on basic essential goods and services than the one who gets 1billion who only invests in apartments and buildings in Central region.
The one who uses 100000shs buys essential goods that boost and encourages production to continue. Our people will be in the middle income thus if money reaches on the grassroot than the World bank, hotel/workshops/conferencing models.
Real development takes shape when more wainainchi are able to improve on house hold incomes and have some monies in their pockets in their own villages or peri-urban centres.
I therefore urge, President Museveni and all Patriotic Ugandans to embrace Parish Development Model but as well deliberately fight corruption if we are to achieve middle income status as a Country.
For God and My Country Uganda.