By Nabendeh Wamoto
No rational Mumasaba can be happy with any explanation on Cabinet’s discriminative decision for the delay of Mbale city up to 1st July, 2021 and did I hear right the President complaining early this year that his (President) Ministers were sleeping? I must add that in Uganda those with authority don’t care and those few who care have no authority.
I don’t own poultry so the myth that in Africa when you find an old man eating chicken you would know that the man is sick or it was the chicken that was sick!!!
Upgrading Mbale municipality to city status are not issues of the spirit or issues of the soul, they are strict issues of the economy, morality and politics. For young Ugandans and for starters who occasionally consult me often, Mbale was the first municipality with Mengo (later Kampala) were declared as towns on the same day as early as 1906. The former therefore, would have qualified for city status a long time ago had there been no political purges of the 1970s and early 80s accompanied by the on-going shortage of hard-nosed bargainers/negotiators in Bugisu.
Actually President Milton Obote’s post-independence government declared Mbale a city in the late 1960s and embarked on its infrastructure upgrading including the tarmac road to Wanale hill as a precursor towards its commissioning which unfortunately was obstructed by then Col. Idi Amin’s takeover in 1971. One of the chief custodians of these historical facts about Mbale town and Bugisu as a whole is non-other than Gen. Yoweri K Museveni who interestingly chaired that ill-fated Monday Cabinet meeting that resolved the same. Bugisu and Mbale of that time produced exemplary, committed servant leaders and scholars of international stature and again then young Yoweri Museveni was a direct beneficiary as he received his initial, ideological classroom induction at Lumumba Research Bureau at Namakwekwe, Mbale in 1965 under the tutelage of the late Masaba Natoolo.
I will withhold and reserve some of the sensitive secret data regarding the training for obvious reasons. Factors instigating Bugisu peoples’ outpouring about the delay of Mbale city status to 2021 are an ill comparison to our (Bagisu) forefathers (read leaders) in the face of hungry children that they (parents) don’t complain or lament but provide solutions by hook or crook even when there was no food in the house. They would set a fire, place an empty cooking pot on the fire filled with stones and water then boil for as long as it would take just to provide hope to the children who would rather retire into sleep that it is the food that took long to be ready (in this case until 2021).
Mbale is presently a commercial epicenter in the whole Eastern region, along the Northern corridor because of her proximity to Kenya, a neighbor with potent economy and more specifically the on-going construction of Mbale-Lwakhakha highway to Uganda-Kenya boarder.
Bugisu co-operative union established a very powerful estate department and owns a string of buildings and land in Mbale and almost all neighboring areas.
In 1960 and 1970, during the world coffee boom BCU was able to contribute tremendously to the development of not only Mbale, Bugisu but areas like Teso, Bukedi, Sebei etc by constructing Teso college Aloet, Bukedi college Kachonga, Tororo girls, Sebei college, Tegeres.
Nabendeh Wamoto S.P (0776-658433)