Stop lamenting about the past, focus on development- Katikkiro tells Luwero residents

Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga looks at some of the items exhibited during the Buganda Agricultural Expo in Luwero District on June 14, 2024. PHOTO | HERBERT KAMOGA

What you need to know:

  • The local leaders also highlighted specific areas where government intervention is critically needed. Ronald Ndawula, the Luwero NRM chairperson emphasised the need to improve the road networks within Luwero. 

Nearly four decades after the end of the guerrilla war that was pivotal in bringing the current government of Uganda to power, the residents of Luwero are still grappling with the shadows of their past. The war, which lasted from 1981 to 1986, not only changed the political landscape of Uganda but also left deep scars on the communities in Luwero, who bore the brunt of the conflict.
Luwero District, recognised as the heartland of the guerrilla warfare that ushered in President Yoweri Museveni and the National Resistance Movement (NRM), experienced significant losses during the five-year conflict. Thousands of lives were lost, and the survivors were left to cope with the loss of family, destruction of property, and a shattered local economy. While the war ended in 1986, the impact lingered, affecting generations.
Until today, the people of Luwero are voicing their need for compensation, seeking redress for the hardships they endured. Community leaders and residents argue that despite the region's significant role in the country's liberation, sufficient reparations have not been made. They claim that the promises of support and compensation, made in the aftermath of the conflict, have largely remained unfulfilled.
The chairperson of Retired Officers and Men of the NRA/UPDF in Luwero District, Capt. Mohammad Mubiru, explained, "Our people sacrificed a lot during the war. Many lost their homes, lands, and loved ones. We were promised support to rebuild our lives, but many are still waiting for these promises to be realised."

During the official opening of the Buganda Agriculture and Livestock Exhibition at Kasana Kosovo playground in Luwero town on Friday, the Katikkiro of Buganda, Charles Peter Mayiga, urged the people of Luwero to shift their focus from past grievances to harnessing the region's potential for development. 
"Most residents of Luwero were born after the war; why now lament?" Mayiga questioned, pointing out that dwelling on past conflicts could hinder progress. 

The Katikkiro advocated for the revival of cooperatives, a system he highlighted as empowering local communities in the past. He cited the historical role of cooperatives in fighting unfair market practices and called for their return as a tool for economic independence.
Luwero Woman MP, Brenda Nabukenya stated, "While we honour our past and the sacrifices made, we must channel our energies into building a robust future for Luwero. Let's use our history not as a crutch but as inspiration to move forward."
The local leaders also highlighted specific areas where government intervention is critically needed. Ronald Ndawula, the Luwero NRM chairperson emphasised the need to improve the road networks within Luwero. 

"Good roads are essential for the farmers in Luwero to access markets efficiently. This not only helps in reducing transportation costs but also in minimizing post-harvest losses," Ndawula explained.
There was also a strong call for establishing facilities that would add value to Luwero’s agricultural products, particularly pineapples, which are abundant in the area. Bamunanika County MP Robert Sekitoleko pointed out the importance of value addition. "By building facilities to process and add value to our pineapples and other agricultural products, we can significantly boost the income levels of our farmers and make Luwero a model district for agricultural success."
During the event, which also served as a platform to promote agricultural advancements and cooperative efforts, Katikkiro Mayiga highlighted the importance of women in the community, noting their exceptional skills in management and their crucial role in the economic development of the region. He also focused on the youth, who represent a significant portion of the population and are vital to the sustainable growth of Luwero.
Drawing on this historical insight, Katikkiro Mayiga passionately advocated for the revival of cooperatives in contemporary Buganda. Mayiga stressed that cooperatives could serve as a vital mechanism for the people of Buganda and Uganda at large to unite their efforts and resources to achieve greater economic independence and development.
"Cooperation amongst ourselves is key to overcoming many economic challenges we face today," Mayiga said, urging the people of Buganda to draw inspiration from their ancestors who used cooperatives as a weapon against economic exploitation and as a pathway to prosperity.
In a significant boost to these efforts, the State House Comptroller, Jane Barekye, was present at the event and delivered a substantial financial contribution of Shs413 million. This fund is earmarked to support the 'Mwanyi Terimba' initiative, a project championed by Katikkiro Mayiga to enhancing coffee productivity and sustainability in the region.
The Agricultural Exhibition itself was a showcase of the region's agricultural potential, featuring modern farming techniques, products, and services that could help local farmers increase yield and efficiency. The event was not just a ceremonial gathering but a practical demonstration of Buganda's commitment to agricultural excellence and community empowerment.