By Andrew Besi.
There are parts of this Kasese whose soils are sandy. I first noticed this on my first trip to Kasese some years ago. However, it is only on this trip that I noticed the true nature of these soils as a comrade and I took a stroll through Kasese town. We opted to take this stroll as a way to converse with the diverse groupings of people in Kasese town.
Our conversations majorly centered on the August 18th Busongora South by-elections in which the National Resistance Movement’s Mr. Gideon Thembo Mujungu is battling 5 others, for the right to sit on Parliament’s green benches as his constituents representative. We opted for this stroll to dispel Dr. Besigye’s unfounded allegations that the police and our Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces now own Kasese’s streets. And indeed, our 10 day stay in Kasese has been peaceful. Even the Sun’s gentle rage on the landscape has not blighted the tranquility and peace of Kasese and its people.
This is not the Kasese that, some claimed, was ready for Revolution when His Majesty Wesley Mumbere - son of Isaya Mukirania - sometimes remembered as Kibazanga 1- and 200 of his Royal Guard were arrested in 2016 on charges of planning to begin rebellion against the State of Uganda. The people here have moved on from this sad chapter and, as indicated in the victory of president Museveni and the National Resistance Movement in the last electoral cycle, they are fervent supporters of the NRM and its agenda to transform our Country into a modern, prosperous one.
The Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu (OBR) - is now a peaceful institution that has been asked by the Honorable Kabbyanga Baluku Kiime - State Minister at Ministry of Information, Communication Technologies and National Guidance, to remember Isaya Mukirania’s plea to his people - “the time for war is over, now is the time for the pen.” Indeed, as I found out just the other day from Dr. Nathaniel Walemba, Kasese has had primary school education since 1912 when Mukunzu Primary School was set up in what is now the constituency of Bukhonzo East. I am convinced, as indeed is an elderly gentleman - Mr. Fortunate Byakatonda - who operates a thriving grocery shop on Rwenzori road - that it was a deliberate colonial policy to keep many of the Bakhonzo in the subsistence agricultural sector.
Perhaps this is why, at our Independence on October’s 9th day in 1962, there was no Secondary School in Kasese. But I digress! The sandy soils on which we trod today reminded me of a phrase that I first heard of many years ago - Sands of Time. I have the author Sidney Sheldon to thank for this phrase. It was his book, of similar title, that I read as a fresh faced 13 year old in the library of my alma mater Ntare School that opened my eyes to what “Sands of Time” actually means.
The sandy streets of Kasese town - in great contrast to the fertile soils of the Rwenzori mountains and in the Savannas of Busongora - sometimes gently coerce one to put their pride aside and remove shoes to allow their feet to feel the caress of the soil. It is as Sidney Sheldon put it, “pride has never been a virtue.” This land! This Kasese - I am enthralled by it. Its diversity of peoples - yes, I did meet a Muhororo at Kabiirizi yesterday, are also enthralled by it. These people are determined to become significant players in shaping the economic and political agenda of our Uganda. As well they should, theirs is a place teeming with hope.
Their hope to produce leading academics, their hope to see the Kilembe mines once again becoming active, their hope to grow their agriculture from the garden and the grazing lands into full processing, their hope to break bread with Mukirania’s heir this christmas is all only possible when they rally behind those whose political ideology guarantees the creation of “a modern, integrated, independent and self sustaining economy” built on a strong “democratic and Pan African agenda.” Only one party guarantees this.
Only one party understands the desires of the diverse peoples of Kasese and its constituency of Busongora South - the NRM. Perhaps, then, that is why Dr. Besigye and the opposition prefer deceit? Reader! The support of the people of Kasese to the National Resistance Movement is a county mile ahead of FDC or NUP’s support. Perhaps, as one of the antagonists from Sheldon’s Sands of Time avowed: rather than the lies spread by Dr. Besigye and others this is one “occasion on which it is wise to keep quiet.”
The writer is a Social Political Commentator, and a member of Campfire Ideological Study Group