By Paul Muleme
As traditional institutions take on a leading role to mobilise their communities for social economic development, it is of much zeal to welcome and congratulate the Buganda Lukkiiko in Mengo at the helm of the Kabaka and the Katikkiro of Buganda to have come up with a policy for implementation while carrying out traditional functions of introductions in Buganda, where the groom takes with him a tree seedling to plant as one of the offers to the family of the bride for planting as a symbol to preserve the natural diversity and beauty of our environment termed as okukuma obulungi bwensi.
Imagine a situation in Buganda and other parts of the country witnessing 100 traditional functions of introduction a day, an implication of 100 tress to be planted and if there are three days in a week then they will be 1,200 trees planted in a month, which will have a great impact on conserving our biodiversity.
I have witnessed two introduction functions in December 2013; in Kanyanya and Kiwatule where the grooms brought tree plants as gifts to the parents of the bride. These were received with big ululations / applause an indicator that people are becoming aware of their immediate surrounding and the need to conserve the environment.
Conserving the environment will have a big impact on our biodiversity in Buganda and Uganda as a whole in terms of regulating the hot and wet seasons. It will help to conserve our soils by minimising desertification through preserving the top rich soils that are conducive for agricultural production.
It will also help to nurture the wetlands thus preserving our ecosystem.
This policy does not only help to conserve the environment but it also has multi dimensional impact on the population varying from cultural, economic, religious and social bonding.
Economically, it will promote the generation and planting of tree nurseries, which is an avenue of creating employment opportunities for the young population and a source of raising income during the festive seasons for introductions.
It will promote the bonding of social unions among families since when a tree is planted and nurtured to grow it will create a mark for generations to come as this will become a symbol of bondage between the two families.
Religiously, it makes us remember the story of Adam and Eve in the Holy Bible in the Book of Genesis that marked the bonding of man and woman after feeding on the forbidden fruit which was picked from the tree.
Conserving the environment in the cultural context should be extended to all other parts of the country, since Uganda has built its foundation on the backbone of agriculture that calls to preserve our natural forests, soils, water bodies and wetlands which will promote our export base and bring in foreign inflows to the treasury for national economic development.