OPINION: Why a Secure Kasese is Economically Critical for Uganda

A security official guards the Rwenzururu palace gate

By: Brian K Katabazi

Kasese is a district located in the region of western Uganda. It is approximately 433 kilometres by road North-west of Kampala the Ugandan capital city.

It was curved off Tooro under the provincial administration in 1974. Kasese was part of the areas that formed the greater Tooro kingdom. These included Bundibugyo, sales Kyenjonjo, stuff Kabarole and Kamwenge.

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In 1918 Nyamutswa began a liberation movement against Toro Kingdom and the colonial rule in search of re-establishing the Kingdom under Kithasamba and thereby have a separate district from Toro.

In 1962 The Bakonzo and Bamba declared a separate Kingdom of Rwenzururu from Toro, on 30th June and Mr. Muhindo Murahya raised the first Flag and put the announcement over the Colonial Radio in Uganda.

The Bakonzo and Bamba had resisted the Buyonyoro kitara and Tooro establishments in the rwenzururu land.

Inhabitants include the tribes of Bamba, Bakonjo, Batuku, Basongola, Banyabindi, Bakiiga among others, with a population of 702,029 (Census 2014) people occupying the Kasese land. Bakonjo form the majority of the natives in the district.

Kasese is endowed with potential tourist attraction holding a very rich natural heritage of water bodies, wildlife and attractive scenery like rift valley and mountains with half of Queen Elizabeth national park located in the area. This makes the district a strong hold for tourism and adventure for Uganda.

After UPDF defeated Allied Democratic Forces’ rebels (ADF) and peace restored in the Rwenzori area, tourism started to take shape again and an influx of tourists stormed the area once again. The number of tourists visiting Kasese rose to 30,000 annually as per the 2001 report.

In 2014 the number of tourists visiting the country increased to 1,266,046 from 1, 206,334 in the previous year. As per the financial year 2014/15, tourism contribution was 6.3 billion from 5.6 billion in the previous year. This growth attributed to the country’s economy by 9.9 percent contribution to gross domestic product compared 7.6 percent in 2013/14 financial year.

In 1995, Allied Democratic Forces rebel group waged a war against Uganda. The instability between ADF rebels and government of Uganda negatively impacted on the  economic activities of which tourism was not spared.

This brought a down fall of economic activities that were then booming in the area. People fled the area for the fear of their lives and tourists could not risk stepping in Kasese.

With Uganda Peoples Defense Forces defeating the Allied democratic forces rebels who had terrorized the Rwenzori area, economic activities started to boom once again.

Kasese had become secure again until recent when militia groups started terrorizing the area again.

These militia groups have caused many natives to lose their lives and almost made the area a no go zone.

The miltia groups are believed to be associated with the Rwenzururu kingdom. This has since put the tourism industry in Kasese at risk. Tourists cannot risk their lives in visiting an area that is insecure.

This also applies to investors who have potential businesses to establish in the area. This will automatically affect the tourism sector which portrayed growth according to statistics and eventually the tourism economic contribution to the country will dwindle.

The government of Uganda must devise all means and bring back peace to Kasese by flashing out all the fights and the miltia groups that are terrorizing the area.

Youth Leader, Rukungiri District.


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