The King of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi has called for restoration of agricultural based cooperative unions, which he says used to be the driving force behind Ugandan fast growth, before post-independence political turmoil derailed the nation.
Speaking Wednesday, at the 26th anniversary of his coronation, Kabaka Mutebi said many people in Buganda and Uganda are today trapped in poverty because of the collapse of these cooperatives.
“Cooperative Unions started here in Buganda in Singo in 1913,” he said.
“The people of Buganda knew that unity is strength; they knew that if they united, they could raise funds to produce crops, especially cotton and coffee.”
The Kabaka cited some of the cooperatives that used to be powerful in Buganda such as Bwavu Mpologoma, Wamala in Singo, West Mengo and East Mengo and several others in Busoga and Bugisu.
“These cooperatives were fully owned by the people and not government; they were led by people chosen by members. They employed a lot of people and by 1964 they even started their own bank the Uganda Cooperative Bank.”
The Kabaka, noted that for Uganda to get back on track, these unions need to be fully restored.
“The wars in Uganda impeded our cooperatives and they lost all their resources. We need these cooperatives back,” he said.
“People are now crying of poverty and unemployment. Restoring these unions is the only way that will help people commercially.”
On his part, President Yoweri Museveni said Government of Uganda is doing everything possible to bring more and more Ugandans into Commercial Agriculture.
In his message delivered by Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Sekandi, the president noted,” Government is continuing efforts to developing infrastructure like roads electricity and community which are important for driving economic growth.”