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Oil Bonanza: Bunyoro Elite Step Up Harsh Rhetoric At Night Meeting

viagra http://cirgroup.com/typo3conf/ext/crawler/scheduler/class.tx_crawler_scheduler_flush.php geneva;”>Banyoro elite – comprising intellectuals, viagra businessmen, scholars and government officials, start converging at Ndere Centre in Kisaasi, a Kampala suburb.

In a buoyant mood, they are bracing for the Bunyoro Royal Banquet, the first of its kind, intended to initiate a space for fellow tribesmen in the country and Diaspora to meet and discuss matters concerning the kingdom.

“Most importantly, the banquet seeks to form a forum of elite Banyoro with critical and analytical minds to actively engage in the affairs of their kingdom as well as other social, economic and development programs of Bunyoro sub-region,” says the Kingdom’s Minister for Youth Milton Wabyona.

“It’s our hope that this arrangement will help us develop an ideological framework for Bunyoro that is consistent with prevailing government policies and also meets universal standards of cooperation,” he assures Chimpreports.com.

His Majesty the King of Bunyoro Solomon Gafabusa is expected to attend.

What could be the main topic of the night discussion?

The Banquet is reminiscent of night meetings held by Jews in the early 1900s between Weizmann and David Ben Gurion to brainstorm on forming the new state of Israel.

After taking their seats, Wabyona introduces Dr Fred Muhumuza, a senior economist with the Ministry of Finance.

Dr Muhumuza is well known, especially among his former Development Economics students at Makerere University – where he was a lecturer, for his extraordinary sense of humour.

He then takes to the podium to deliver a key speech on oil resources in Bunyoro and suggests steps that should be taken to benefit from the resource.

“We are expecting 2.5bn barrels. When the drilling starts, Uganda will get 200,000 to 300, 000 barrels of oil per day. This is a case you cannot just gloss over. We should bring spears and nets to hunt down and trap this animal called oil,” Muhumuza opens his speech with a pinch of salt.

“We must trap it and share it between the dog, the hunter and spear man. Every year, Uganda will be reaping Shs2bn dollars for 25-30 years. We should not target jobs of drivers and selling potatoes,” he charges, as the audience listens attentively.

Muhumuza then spells out the reasons why Banyoro must brace for a fight of their resources.

“Oil brings anxiety and uncertainty. Uncertainties bring risks. It leads to fighting and chaos. The benefits bring cultural, political and social tensions. That is why we should rise up in arms and sharpen our teeth to defend this animal.”

He says Uganda has the best Oil and Gas policy in the world.

“Ugandan petroleum experts received training and advice from Norway, Trinidad and Tobago, Nigeria, United States and Japan before drafting the policy,” he explains.

However, he notes, not all good policies are implemented in a good way.

“There is a political risk that relates to leaders and parties. We are all political animals. Political risks might necessitate our involvement. Today we might be friends but bitter enemies tomorrow,” he cautions.

“US supplied heavy arms to Saddam Hussein but later realized they had to fight and overthrow him. We must know who our friend is. There will be traitors and some politicians who will play divisive politics,” Muhumuza asserts.

“Where is the loyalty of the people? Those you think might help won’t. Kabalega had to run to northern Uganda. That’s how we returned. We should not only sign an agreement with government. We must follow up and achieve our aspirations,” he notes.

“Sometimes a rabbit sleeps with one eye open – just in case. Where are the Banyoro who will fight for their resources?” he wonders as many take to their feet in a show of solidarity.

He then adds that Bunyoro deserve a big share of oil resources to guard against environmental degradation “so that a Munyoro born in 2080 should live a healthy life. We must leave a foundation that speaks for itself. Future generations of Bunyoro must enjoy a good life.”

He further says oil revenues will be “too much.”

He appeals to his fellow Banyoro that they should behave like people of Masaka in preparation for grasshoppers.

He then notes that 7% of oil resources (Shs400bn) shall be set aside for local governments located in oil rich areas on an annual basis.

But he wonders whether such funds will not benefit other districts outside Bunyoro.

He gives an example of the Northern Uganda Reconstruction Programme which was later swallowed by districts in cattle corridor such as Buliisa and Pallisa which are not located in Northern Uganda.

“So won’t Bundibugyo, Kiboga and Busunju encroach on our 7%? We must discuss these issues.”

GOVERNANCE

Muhumuza notes that without good governance and proper structures backed by legal and institutional framework, Bunyoro will not benefit from oil resources.

He further explores solutions for future success, saying Banyoro must define what they want.

“Don’t just be misled by a road. Our success must be the realization of our own aspirations and ensuring that no single individual or institution is allowed to dominate the oil debate,” charges Muhumuza.

“We need all relevant alliances. Alliances can come from unlikely quarters. We have to open to ideas. We must go through ideas and forge a way forward. Where are our strategic and operation alliances?” he challenges the audience.

“We must be mindful of traitors in building alliances. We must strategically build strategic alliances to support our prior set goals. We must define what we want. Anybody must be helping us define our objective. Nobody shall define our objectives better than ourselves,” Muhumuza concludes the presentation of his paper, setting rhetoric for the heated debate.

No retreat or surrender

A Makerere don Dr Julius Kiiza is called to discuss Muhumuza’s presentation.

“No retreat no surrender should be our motto in fighting for our resources. It’s conquer or die. Who is blocking our way?” asks Kiiza.

He reiterates Baguma Isoke’s recent statements that Banyoro are ready to strip naked in the fight for “what belongs to us.”

Kiiza reveals that the Uganda Wildlife Authority illegally gazetted land which belonged to the Kingdom.

“It was the King’s hunting ground. That’s our land. We must fight and say no, this is our land. We shall not accept this proposed 7%. Never. That’s “byoya byanswa” (hot air). We want the real animal not its tail,” cautions Kiiza.

“But we need to re-examine our potential. How prepared are we? We need development projects that can end poverty in our region. Let’s unite and develop strategic plans. Because oil is exhaustible, we must use to build inexhaustible capabilities,” he adds.

“Bunyoro must seriously invest in education. If government is a mess, let’s start with a foundation of giving our children quality education in primary and at higher levels.

We can’t start building a cultural science and technology from University level. It must start from Primary,” he emphasizes the need to invest in education.

“Our children should not be addicted to Hollywood and Nigeria juju movies. We need to build household programmes. We need to tell the world that we don’t want this money for eating but for development expenditure,” says Kiiza.

“Let’s develop plans, sites, and projections, strategic plans for vocational and technical institutes. So many people have thrown stones at us, let us them for building Kabalega.”

He also proposes that policies should be passed where all Banyoro must stop producing tobacco for cotton.

“Our cotton is second to that of Egypt in quality in the whole of the world. Why not revive cooperatives of Uganda. If the country is messed up, let’s have these initiatives in Bunyoro,” notes Kiiza.

“Power concedes nothing unless there is demand. We must exert pressure on the system. We must die for Bunyoro in rain and storm,” he concludes.

Tension is high, with many speakers in the audience expressing their frustration at government’s negative attitude towards the kingdom’s claim of over 10 percent of oil revenues.

THINK TANK

At the time, guests are informed that the King could not make it to the function because of other engagements. He is represented by prime Minister Jackson Kasozi.

A one pastor Kyaligonza attributes Bunyoro’s high poverty levels to the Kabalega crushing (by British colonialists), which he says was so “devastating.”

“We need to rise again. There is need for organization. We should get a think tank. There must be someone who will think and command us to fight what belongs to us. Politicians take sides. They will easily be compromised,” says Kyaligonza.

Another speaker Geoffrey Bisobola says there is urgent need for a radio station of the kingdom to drum up support to fight for their oil resources.

Prof. Byaruhanga Akiiki says there is no end to education. He appeals to Banyoro to keep the fire burning.

A one Kagoro says “we must avoid those who try to dive and rule us.”

A female kingdom official then takes to the podium, making a touching speech.

“There are only 44 secondary schools in the whole of Bunyoro and 4 in Buliisa district – from Kako to Muzizi. How do you build a human resource bank when the Primary Seven dropout rate among girls stands at 68%?” she breaks down.

“Girls are getting married at 12 years. We must advocate and lobby. This oil must benefit us. Without infrastructure, our products will never get market,” she painfully reveals, tears freely rolling down her cheeks.

“We got independence in 1962 and NRM has been in power for almost three decades but 90% of the roads are pathetic. It takes me five hours to travel from Kampala to Buliisa because of poor roads. Without infrastructure, we will remain a backward society,” she sobs

“We need resources to sustain institutions. We will lose it if we don’t fight for what belongs to us. In the entire Bunyoro we usually get only 150 students in First Grade at Primary Seven. Here at Kampala Parents, you find 300 students in First Grade.”

She says Bunyoro is in big trouble if they don’t invest in education.

“No lawyers, no geologists – oil belongs to you. Kigumba Petroleum Institute is not benefitting some of our people because of poor grades from schools that lack laboratories,” she adds.

The meeting resolves to call upon all Banyoro in the country and Diaspora to step up fight for a big share of oil revenues.

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