Police chiefs fought against my police SACCO initiative, says Gen Kale Kayihura.

Police chiefs fought against my police SACCO initiative, says Gen Kale Kayihura.
Kale Kayihura

Former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Gen Kale Kayihura, has disclosed that he faced resistance from a group of police chiefs when attempting to establish a vibrant police SACCO similar to the successful Wazalendo, which is currently managed by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF).

Kayihura, speaking for the first time about the underperformance of the Police Exodus SACCO, attributed its challenges to the top leadership's actions.

During the 18th Wazalendo Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at Gaddafi Barracks in Jinja City on Monday, Kayihura praised the UPDF leadership for elevating Wazalendo to great heights.

He also revealed that when he introduced Exodus SACCO to the police force, he encountered opposition from a faction of police chiefs, whom he claimed were the primary beneficiaries.

"I attempted to introduce it to the police force, but I faced significant opposition," Kayihura stated without providing further details.

As one of the key architects of Wazalendo SACCO, Kayihura explained that the cooperative strategy was initiated in 1988 to address the welfare concerns of soldiers.

"The most significant challenge, due to limited resources, was family welfare. Before that, we faced no problems because we didn't have families or the pressures that came later, whether during the Bush War or the initial years in government when we weren't earning any salary. However, gradually, the pressures emerged," he explained.

In his address, the outgoing Deputy Chief of Defence Forces, Lieutenant General Peter Elwelu, cautioned the Wazalendo SACCO leadership and its members against complacency despite their current successes.

"Guard against the syndrome of arrivism. This is the time when you must work even harder because the devil can easily disrupt us. So, now is not the time to rest! This is when certain elements may try to take advantage of our celebrations. Many empires have collapsed due to that syndrome, arrive," warned Lt Gen Elwelu.

He emphasized that the Wazalendo leadership had not yet arrived and urged members to continue working diligently, ensuring the happiness and trust of all members. Lt Gen Elwelu acknowledged the challenging beginnings of Wazalendo but commended its growth.

"Mobilizing people was extremely difficult because they had lost trust in the army's leadership at the time. Soldiers and junior ranks had lost confidence in the leadership due to the constant misappropriation of their food and salaries. No soldier trusted us," Lt Gen Elwelu recalled.

He also praised the late Gen Aronda Nyakayirima, former Chief of Defence Forces, for spearheading the formation of the SACCO.

"I express my gratitude to the late General Aronda for bringing a new perspective to leadership in the UPDF. It was because of him that everyone agreed that we had a new leadership and cadre ship that returned to the original values of the NRA. Now, we have a remarkable SACCO, not only in Uganda but in the entire continent, thanks to General Aronda's leadership," Lt Gen Elwelu acknowledged.

CEO Col Freddy Joseph Onata highlighted Wazalendo's impressive achievements, including a membership exceeding 100,000, a share capital of 240 billion, savings totalling 445 billion, a loan portfolio of 737 billion, and an overall asset base of 959 billion.

"For the year ending 2023, we recorded a surplus of 73.3 billion, and we will distribute 40% of it to the members. We have also decided to partially open the common bond to allow other organizations to join the SACCO," Col Onata stated.

He expressed confidence in achieving their target of becoming a one-trillion-asset institution, stating, "According to our strategic plan, Wazalendo SACCO should be a one-trillion-asset institution by 2025. If everything goes well, I can guarantee that we will achieve this milestone in 2024."

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