By Kavuma Kaggwa
Since taking office two months ago, Charles Peter Mayiga, the new Katikiro of Buganda, has shown extraordinary leadership qualities. What has been good about all that he has said is the way he boldly told the people about where Buganda is today and what must be done to eradicate poverty in Buganda.
We must give full support to the Katikiro in all his plans to develop Buganda, economically, educationally and socially.
As an elder and opinion leader who has been in the politics of this country since 1956, there are three areas where I would like to give my recommendation to the Katikiro.
The Katikiro should launch a “Master Plan”, in cooperation with the Central Government, to revive the coffee industry in Buganda so that we eradicate poverty in Buganda.
To do this successfully, the Katikiro should first appoint a “secret Think Tank” of experts who will advise him on all economic development plans. It is this “Think Tank” which will carry out negotiations with President Museveni and the Central Government so that all our economic development plans succeed very well without any hinderance. The Think Tank must be a secret committee, of people who are very conversant in areas of economic development and have no political ambitions.
This Country was built with money from coffee and cotton and the Buganda Kingdom was the biggest producer of coffee.
In 1987/88 the country was invaded by a coffee virus (wilt) which destroyed the crops together with banana plants. This is the time to mercilessly destroy the coffee virus.
The Buganda “Think Tank” should do all possible to convince President Museveni to bring coffee experts from Kenya and Brazil who will help us eradicate the virus.
When that is done, then the Katikiro should work with the Central Government through the Buganda Chiefs to launch the “Master Plan” called “Back to the land policy”.
This means that people will be persuaded and assisted to go back to the villages and grow coffee on their bibanja and mailoland.
People who have big areas of land in Buganda will be forced to settle the landless by giving them five acres bibanja to grow coffee.
The Parliament of Uganda will enact a law reestablishing the Coffee Marketing Board. The law will revive the coffee processing plant at Bugolobi and new and modern coffee processing and grading machinery will be installed.
The privatisation policy will be revised so that we reintroduce the old system of “Mixed Economy” as it was before 1986 so that the Government will transact business alongside the citizens of Uganda. The Government and Buganda will have to build coffee silos in every district where dry coffee will be stored.
The President and Buganda Katikiro will launch an aggressive marketing strategy to sell Uganda coffee overseas.
We shall produce a lot of coffee where and how shall we sell that coffee?? Thank God the market is open and very big.
All the big countries trading with Uganda: Japan, China, India, South Africa, UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Middle East countries, North Africa, Somalia, Sudan (North and South) will be persuaded to buy Uganda coffee.
The trading agreements with these countries will change so that each of them will buy 70% of Uganda Coffee annually.
Japan is dominating the motor industry in Uganda. What are we selling to Japan? Very little, if any, therefore the trading agreement with Japan will change so that Japan will buy 70% of Uganda Coffee every year.
China has poured its various products here. India is dominating the motor cycle industry here so is South Africa with so many of its companies dominating here which include MTN. What are we selling to all these countries? Very little, if any, therefore, we must change the trading agreements with all of them so that each of them will buy 70% of our coffee every year.
The Ministry of Agriculture will have to be strengthened and given more powers as it was during the colonial time before Independence. The new Ministry of Agriculture will work with people in other areas of Uganda encouraging them to grow more cash crops and sell them to the Middle East, North Africa and other African countries.
The second area is the establishment of a Buganda Bank. Sometime back I wrote suggesting the name to be “the PAN AFRICAN BANK”. This is a good name which cuts across all tribal and regional interests.
Our brothers, the Kikuyus in Kenya, started the Equity Bank in 1985 and it is now dominant everywhere in East Africa. This bank will help traders and farmers in Buganda to carry out their business successfully.
The third area where the THINK TANK should concentrate is the building of the hotel industry to promote tourism in Buganda to an international level. Kenya is developing very fast because of tourism.
I suggest we should follow the Kenya plan. I was in Kenya and I saw everything. At the time of Independence, the late President Kenyatta invited hotel financiers and developers; the Hallmark Hotels from UK. They entered into a 10-year agreement to build, operate and later transfer.
The financier builds the hotels in town and lodges in the National parks. He operates these institutions for a period of 10 years. During those 10 years he takes his money and at the same time he trains the local citizens who will run the institutions when he hands them over to the Kabaka’s Government. All these must be included in the Agreement. The Agreement must also clearly stipulate the percentage he takes out annually within that period of 10 years.
Under this arrangement, Buganda can very easily build a big hotel somewhere in Munyonyo near the lake where tourists will stay before proceeding to the national parks. The Buganda “Think Tank” will have to negotiate with the relevant authorities so that two lodges are built, one in Murchison Falls Park and another in Rwenzori National Park.
The second hotel should be built at Njeru overlooking the source of the Nile on Buganda side.
Finally, I would like to suggest that an Investment department should be set up at Mengo with a full time director. This department will be fully responsible for buying shares in all the big companies and commercial banks in Uganda, East Africa, UK, Europe, Middle East, the Far East and USA.
Once we implement all these plans, we shall succeed tremendously economically, educationally and socially. This Katikiro will in future be compared to Sir Apolo Kaggwa, Martin Luther Nsibirwa and Michael Kaggwa who worked hard to develop Buganda during their time.
The writer is an elder from Kyaggwe, Mukono District