Following an invitation by the Acholi Kingdom leadership after hearing about the brilliant idea to establish an Agriculture and Cooperative Bank in Uganda, Rtd. Lieutenant Magufuri Moses Mugisha and his team sought their way to Gulu, under guidance by The Deputy paramount chief Martine otinga Otto yai and one Lapyem Thomas Awany – a former guild President of Gulu University.
In their historical and heroic seating on Wednesday 30th April 2023 at Gulu Paramount Palace HQ in Gulu, Magufuri explained the vision behind Agriculture and Cooperative Bank, and how the Bank will sustainably revive the glory of Acholi in particular and Uganda in general through improving house hold incomes and production via accessing finance that supports agro-processing at minimum interests not like commercial banks.
The Acholi Prime Minister, Oola Ambrose, warmly welcomed the team to the palace where he observed that the desire to establish an Agriculture and Cooperative Bank in Uganda was a long awaited intervention in the region, noting that the region still has lots of assets that were owned by cooperative unions.
This means that the move to establish a bank that respects the intentions of farmers and cooperators in Acholi will bring back the glory of Acholi.
He added that absence of such an intervention has given some people an opportunity to grab Acholi land under disguise of developing it, yet the communities have ended up getting displaced.
Out of concern, he noted that much of the land grabbing in the country has been largely attributed to lack of agriculture-friendly credit to farmers to enable them develop their land in the most productive manner.
Council members representing all Chiefdoms in Acholi Sub region supported the submission terming Magufuri as a great thinker, Pan-Africanist, whose ideas are nationalistic and in line with their mission as Acholis to protect their land from foreigners.
The chiefs also appreciated their Paramount Chief for permitting such resourceful persons to meet them and said if such a Bank was formed ten years ago, Uganda wouldn’t be begging the evil whites who are at the verge of destroying their (African) cultures because of their (whites) money, citing that Uganda annually collects 20 trillion only as compared to the proposed budget of 49 trillion, which they termed as unfortunate.
The Deputy Paramount Chief informed members that, for him he stands for Development of Acholi, unity and peace as enshrined in President’s Manifesto; and no reason why he could refuse Rtd Lieutenant Magufuri’s ideas because they are indeed necessary for the Development of the entire Acholi and Uganda at large. He called for Government to listen to Magufuri’s ideas for the good of Uganda. He, however, cautioned Magufuri to expect resistance has he spreads the Bank gospel, equating him to the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis 37: 5 ff. nonetheless, he was opportunist that all will be well.
After the meeting, the Deputy Paramount Chief introduced Magufuri to the Acholi King Rwot David Onen Achana II who pledged to take the matter to the different stakeholders in Acholi that include the Acholi Parliamentary Coccus which was due to meet the following day at Ker Kwaro Acholi Palace. Reliable sources in Acholi have confirmed that the meeting was held and the matter was among the issues discussed. Similar efforts were to be extended to the Kings subjects at the village level as well. It is worth noting that this endorsement is in addition to that of the Bunyoro – Kitara and Buganda Kingdoms that received the message and subsequently welcomed it.
It should be remembered that the Acholi is among of the most organized cultural institutions in Uganda, given their significant role played to end Kony insurgency in their region and to re-mobilize their people for reconciliation and commencement of agricultural production, but their main challenge has been limited Agro Financing and Value Addition. This has been worsened by the limited funding options available, majority of which are foreign owned with little concern for the agriculturists as evidenced by the high commercial interest rates charged. This, therefore qualified the proposal as viable in a sense that it will rejuvenate the agricultural sector that had suffered for a long time.
According to Magufuri, he says he has done what he can, having petitioned the Right Honorable Speaker of Parliament to put in place a framework that will govern the operations of the said bank. He calls upon all state and non-state actors to be vigilant and embrace the idea since it is the most viable option that will enhance household income holistically, not the PDM alone as it has been grossly claim
He noted that household income (Y) = PDM+APFs+RIPs+RIICs+UMs and CCIs.