CJ Owiny-Dollo moves to end poverty in northern Uganda

Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo (right) beats the drum as dancers perform an Achoii dance at his home in Kampala on March 24, 2023. PHOTO/ ISAAC KASAMANI

What you need to know:

  • The head of the Judiciary has embarked on a journey of social change.

The Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo has pledged to eliminate poverty in Northern Uganda by promoting the growth of Macadamia, a cash crop, on a lagre scale.

Justice Dollo blamed the perpetual poverty in Northern Uganda on colonialism and the  two-decade Joseph Kony war.

“This country, when you talk about the divide between the north and the south, is basically economic. The value of cash crops that were introduced here (south), and the same were denied to the people of northern Uganda. Coffee grows very well in Gulu and other parts of northern Uganda but it was deliberate not to have been taken there. Gulu and Entebbe have the highest rainfall in this country but coffee is not produced,” he said last Friday.

Justice Dollo said “Northern Uganda will always remain poor” until economic inequality, which he said was deliberately created by colonialists, is addressed. 

“Cotton was first produced in Buganda and the people abandoned growing it and went in for growing coffee and tea, which are highly valued cash crops, so that is what I call the colonial economy, the inequity that was introduced into this country by the colonialists.”

He made the remarks at his official residence in Nakasero, Kampala, while launching his Foundation dubbed “Justice Owiny-Dollo Foundation”. 

He intends to use the Foundation as a purpose vehicle to bridge the economic gap. and has also commenced the campaign to plant Macadamia nut trees among his community.
Government in the recent past, added Macadamia on the list of priority crops. 

A macadamia farmer can earn between Shs60m and Shs70m from an acre annually if handled well. 

“So what does this foundation seek to do, of course, address, the consequences of this inequity where the north has been poor and also as a result of the armed conflict… exacerbated it. So, we appeal to well-wishers to make a contribution to this cause. I spoke about macadamia, in Kenya, the Kikuuyu are cutting down Arabica coffee trees for macadamia because it earns more than coffee and it grows well in northern Uganda,” he said.

Justice Dollo added: “Imagine an ordinary family in northern Uganda getting a rise from Shs500,000 to Shs20m or even Shs40m, that is a miracle, and this will change and give hope to them, something to live for and something to defend their lives for.  It will be a society at peace to itself and it will also be at par with the rest of Uganda.”

He went on and called for interventions so that a family in northern Uganda earns what is earned in Bugisu, Buganda, Ankole.  

“So for us, we are making a token contribution. People are enthusiastic about growing macadamia, so in my retirement, that is what I will do and fighting case backlog.”

Well-wishers made cash contributions and pledges including the Speaker of Parliament Anita Among, who contributed $10,000 (about Shs36m) towards the foundation.

Former Chief Justice Bart Katureebe applauded his successor, saying he will be helping the underprivileged in his community. 

According to the 2022 multidimensional poverty index report by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (Ubos), multidimensional poverty is highest in the northern region (63 percent), followed by the eastern region (45.7 percent). 


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