Divisions and smear politics among leaders have been identified as a key factor in Bugisu’s slow social-economic progress and mega share of the national cake.
The lack of unity of purpose among leaders has affected the region’s bargaining power for the national cake and in terms of strategic positioning.
This was revealed during the first Bamasaba strategic planning meeting held in Mbale.
Bugisu is one of the regions that have supported the NRM government for decades.
A number of interventions have been made by the government in terms of safe water coverage, roads, education, health, and rural electrification.
However, locals believe that Bugisu is not where it ought to be in regard to service delivery and social-economic progress.
This they attribute to lack of common vision, malice, and selfishness amongst their own both at the local and national level which has negatively impacted the region’s bargaining power.
“The problem we have in Masabaland are the political leaders themselves, they are always antagonizing each other, they lose the morale, their services on the ground are too thin, as a result, the common people start looking for weaknesses other than what government has done.”
The leaders and senior citizens subscribing to the region converged in Mbale for the first Masaba strategic planning meeting aimed at setting a new development agenda.
The stakeholders also came up with a memorandum of understanding to inform the region’s priorities and as a strategic political bargaining tool ahead of the 2021 elections.
“Of course, the president is on his campaign trail and as a zone we wanted to be focused, first of all, to pledge our support to him and to have a memorandum on what we want as a zone.”
The Energy and Mineral Development minister and Manafwa woman MP, Mary Goretti Kitutu-led-initiative also seeks to resolve internal contradictions and rally the people of Masabaland around a common cause and to maximize their potential.
“The emphasis today was that let’s change and move as a body. Let us unite our voices to build each other and Uganda as a whole to support the government.” Sister Rose Nelima, cultural leader
Tackling poverty, the establishment of a regional disaster center, improved tarmac coverage, and the establishment of more district hospitals are some of the issues on the agenda.
The stakeholders have welcomed the initiative saying this has been overdue.
“I want to appreciate Hon. Kitutu and Welikhe Kafabusa for bringing all stakeholders together in Masabaland after a long time. We were able to articulate what will make Madabaland a strong entity, to identify what the government has done and what it has not fulfilled in Masabaland,” Nelima said.
The question that remains is whether the new formation will rise above political inclination to rally all Bamasaba along with a common cause.