By Yosia Baluku-Fort Portal
The KRC organized Kasunga leaders’ retreats have continued to gain momentum with the recent Kasunga 9 that was held at Kalya Courts hotel Fort Portal Municipality on the 15th to 16th August 2019. This was held under the theme “Securing Common Ground for Rwenzori Region Development”
The 2 days leaders retreat that attracted ministers, members of parliament LC5 chairpersons, RDCs of the Rwenzori region, Religious leaders, security personnel, academia, civil society organizations, and several stakeholders among others discussed key and critical issues of the Region.
Key among others were the upcoming Fort Portal tourism city and the opportunities therein, the AGRILED project that will be commencing soon, the peace and harmonious leaving agenda in the Rwenzori region, the upcoming 2021 general elections to mention but a few.
Addressing the participants in his opening remarks the Executive Director of Kabarole Research and Resource Centre Mr.Julius Mwanga welcomed all invited participants for having honored the invitation to turn up for the Kasunga9 leaders retreat. He also said that the region has experienced good changes such as Fort Portal-Kasese road, Fort Portal-Bundibugyo road, improved water and electricity among others. He further said that the Rwenzori region and a country as a whole is still experiencing challenges like climate change and corruption and that the levels of unemployment were still high with most youth being affected. He highlighted that Uganda is listed 149th corrupt country out of 175 countries according to the 2018 corruption index by transparency international and that it was a challenge to the leaders to deal with corruption elimination.
The Area MP (Fort Portal Municipality) Hon.Alex Ruhunda commended the work of the last 8 Kasungas and said it has continuously improved from the first to present. Hon.Ruhunda emphasized the issue of idle youth who seat just along the roads without adding value to themselves. He also said there is need to develop skills that can address the development challenges of the region irrespective of whatever tribe one was because tribe is not a priority but the technology that can bring solutions for instance to farming. Ruhunda emphasized unity and harmony within the region.
Hon.Peace Mutuzo the state minister for gender in her address also emphasized peace and said that the Rwenzori mountain brings us together as a people of the mountain and that whoever speaks whatever language on the mountain everyone understands which is not the case to other regions like mount elgon where their languages and completely not related and can’t hear each other easily. She emphasized on development and majorly looking at the tourism potential of the region.
The Hon.Minister of Local Government Col.Tom Butime who was also the chief guest implored the leaders to continuously work together and that Kasunga will never cease to exist since each kasunga has had a number of issues discussed. He emphasized on the AGRILED project that funds were already availed at the ministry of Finance to kick start the project in the financial year 2019/2020. He further said he was very sure the project was going to be successful so long as very competent and genuine people were selected to manage it.
A number of papers and presentations were discussed by several panelists during the retreat that were later developed into a communique that would be signed by the leaders that attended the Kasunga 9 leaders retreat.
Key among the issues in the communique were;
- Financing and operational procedures for AGRILED to be popularized
- Working on a correlation of Linkage between districts budgets and national budgets-and how the ministry of finance will channel funds under the AGRILED
- Sensitization of technical and political leadership to understand AGRILED
- The Regional/District independent implementation teams for AGRILED projects be harmonized and spear-headed by a Regional think tank which shall inter alia;Profile all AGRILED projects in the Region and the Delivery mechanisms, in terms of community participation, ownership and sustainability of AGRILED initiatives
- The region to support Fort Portal Tourism city as a spring board for regional tourism –and to serve the entire region irrespective of tribe or any sectarian leaning
- Leaders to lobby government to support the establishment of the Tourism Training Centre to help train service providers in the tourism sector within the region.
- Coming up with mechanisms to Protect endangered tourism fauna and flora species
- Development and implementation of Rwenzori Tourism marketing Plan
- Instituting a five member technical team comprising a team of nine Districts and Mr Curthbert Baguma, a leading consultant in providing technical guidance
- Profile the existing District based Tourist attractions in the entire region and many more others.
Kasunga 10 leaders retreat was scheduled for 2020 next year.