Abubaker Omboko: Museveni mourns Kakira sugarcane out-grower

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Abubaker Omboko: Museveni mourns Kakira sugarcane out-grower
The late Abubaker Omboko David Ojwang

David Ojwang Omboko was a man who was addicted to football but one who made a fortune in sugarcane farming

TRIBUTE | President Museveni has paid tribute to one Kakira Town Council's most enterprising businessmen, Hajj Abubaker Omboko, describing him as a "dependable and reliable mobiliser" who helped unite sugarcane growers.

The late Omboko was the chairperson of Busoga Sugarcane Growers Association and one of the biggest suppliers to Kakira Sugar Limited mill.

“The NRM leadership regrets such a big loss because the late Hajj Abubaker Omboko has been a good, dependable and reliable mobiliser not only in matters of financial growth of the people but also in politics," Mr Museveni said.

Omboko, 66, died on Monday from Nile International Hospital in Jinja City. He was laid to rest on Wednesday in Budondo Subcounty, Jinja District.

President Museveni, in his April 17 tribute, said he had learnt of the passing of Omboko from Mr Richard Gulume Balyaino, the regional whip of residence district and city commissioners of Busoga.

Mr Museveni extended his heartfelt condolences to the family and the NRM fraternity of Busoga, most especially the out-growers, upon the loss of their "chairperson and good leader".

"Such leaders are always cherished, and such legacy should be emulated by the youth and those he has been leading,” added the President, who paid Shs10 million for the funeral arrangements.

A man of his roots

Growing up in Kakira in the 80s and 90s, you would not miss the name Omboko in sports circles.

A former star of Kakira Football Club, Omboko kept his boots on from the stands even post-retirement. If there was a football match Kakira ever played in the estate that Omboko missed, then that match did not take place.

Along with the late Mawazi Menhya, Omboko's name was more famous in Kakira than even for the footballers he led as a team manager.

If there was anyone who had never heard of the name Omboko in Kakira and the surrounding communities, they probably did not know Kakira itself either.

Usually researched, football was one of those things that could get Omboko worked up. Like in the 90s when he charged at referee Ssebugwawo ruling out his Mawoito vilage team's goal for offside.

Even with Kakira FC long in the cemetery, Omboko's passion stayed up. He regularly attended StarTimes Uganda Premier League games played in Jinja.

In the late 90s, Omboko was one of the brokers who formed Torino, a club whose rivalry with Kakira was so intense that the grass on Kakira main ground tasted bullets and blood from it.

Torinowas  disbanded after a violent derby outcome in which one of their players was shot in the leg on the pitch. Omboko retreated to his quiet life and business - but kept his passion checking on Jinja's football teams.

David to Abubaker

The person holding the name Omboko had arrived in Kakira as one of the many migrant workers in the 1960s as David Ojwang Omboko.

He was from across the borders in Busia but like many migrant workers to the sugar estate, settling in and around was the unwritten law.

For Omboko, there would be no choice from the moment he let his love for Kakira fuse into his veins.

He started out trading in molasses. The sugar mill was producing tonnes of the byproduct and crude distillers had mushroomed around the estate and beyond.

By the 90s, Omboko was one of those who filled lorries of molasses and stored in Polota, a trading centre near the sugar mill. These would be sold to distillers in smaller quantities or per drum.

By the time Madhvani realised that the thick, brown sugary substance they were selling at giveaway price was the best byproduct for gin and whiskey, Omboko had long expanded his wings into sugarcane farming.

He had acquired one acre of land after another in Busoga, growing his own production range into one of the biggest out-grower farmers in Busoga.

With one of his homes sharing a boundary with the mosque, yielding to the adhan from muezzin (call to prayer) happened naturally and David Ojwang became Abubaker.

But Hajj Abubaker kept his new faith for himself, leaving his children to remain the Allan and Hilda they were born.

Butembe has always produced NRM leaders from Victoria Sekitoleko in the 1994 Constituent Assembly to Daudi Migereko who led represented the County in Parliament from 1996 to 2016.

NRM's Nelson Lufaafa led for one term after Migereko before David Livingstone Zijjan, also NRM-leading independent, won the seat in 2021.

President Museveni says it is because of the efforts of the late Omboko that the NRM has enjoyed political mileage in the constituency whose size is not down to just Kakira and Busedde town councils.

He said the country has lost Omboko at a time they needed his input in matters concerning wealth creation in Busoga region.

Busoga, once the food basket of the nation, has been wallowing in poverty as sugarcane farms replaced most of the land acreage in the sub-region.

Government programmes such as Emyooga and Parish Development Model are being used to alleviate poverty in the region.

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