KINTU MOSES: Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs); A big threat to our economy

About  three weeks ago, I was shocked when I read an article from a colleague of mine advocating for the legalization of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) in Uganda the Pearl of Africa. The Bazzukulu generation (omulembe oguva mubalwanyi) must be extremely thoughtful to champion the approach of prioritizing what is good for Uganda and rejecting any potential threat to our country.

During the liberation struggle of 1981-86, the world could either take sides with the Eastern or Western block politically. Our heroes headed by their CHC then and now President HE Yoweri K Museveni (Ssabalwanyi) stood unique by taking the approach of appreciating and welcoming whatever was good for Uganda from the two blocks. What I am trying to bring to the understanding of the Bazzukulu deep in science and agri-business, is that not all what the other part of the world promotes is good for us.

The whites have a saying that “not all that glittering is gold” meaning, man has to be cautious to examine or understand deeply any matter before making a decision, and that is the strength of the National Resistance Movement (Gavumenti yabalwanyi).

According to the World Health Organization, Genetically Modified Organisms can be defined as organisms (plants, animals, or micro-organisms) in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination. Take the example of maize seeds that are bred in the laboratory by the scientists. Indigenously, our methods have a window for preserving such maize seeds. We could eat some and reserve as well for the next planting season

I recall Muzee Nadduli (omulwanyi) informing me about “Kasooli omunandi” maize from the Nandi people in South Africa. Such maize seedlings could be carried from South Africa to other countries and likewise, the Pan-Africanists could interest in good-yielding crops from across the different parts of Africa. I agree with the scientists’ contribution to ensuring food security by inventing fast-yielding and resistant GMOs but examine the danger posed to the future of Uganda.

Food in Uganda is produced by only 5 million families farming 17.2 million acres of the 40 million acres of Uganda that are suitable for crop and livestock farming (Housing Census, 2004). I prefer referring to those farming families as patriots because out of their efforts, are continuing to feed a fast-growing population of the Bazzukulu now 48 million people where 39% are still living in poverty (obwooro/ obwavu) despite the widespread of the Musevenomics gospel to make all Ugandans wealth creators.

These GMOs are patented by manufacturers who own all rights for manufacturing and supplying them to the market. Why would we surrender the wealth of Uganda, East Africa, and African farmers to entrepreneurs in Europe or elsewhere? Whereas I am sure that, under the leadership of Jajja Ssabalwanyi HE Yoweri K Museveni such mistakes cannot happen, I get worried about the future of Uganda where would-be leaders like my colleague occupy key positions for decision-making. Singer Ronald Mayanja has a song “Ani agula ensi kuba tugitunda” which translates, who buys the world because we are selling it.

Legalizing GMOs would imply surrendering our economy since agriculture contributes the highest percentage to the owners of these companies. More so to simplify this whole subject to the Bazzukulu, relate GMOs to AI writing tools which are taking away the power of thinking from man since they can write any kind of essay if provided with a theme.

World Health Organization cited GMOs with three main concerns for Human Health that they bring along; Allergenicity, Gene transfer, and outcrossing. Since colleague Kyeswa focused on food security, he did not check on the possibility of GMOs migrating into conventional crops or wild species. A country on its right development truck like Uganda should never risk accepting GMOs due to not only the danger mentioned above but also the high budget calls for further research they call for. We need to as well examine the effect of GMOs on human health in the USA and European countries where they are legally accepted.

What Uganda must do is prioritize the preservation of traditional farming knowledge, promote agroecological practices, and ensure the protection of farmer’s and environmental integrity.

I see a future where Uganda will turn into a tourism center for organic foods because the level of sweetness and richness in values in Uganda’s organic foods is testified to by consumers across the world. On the contrary, for the benefit of the Bazzukulu, environmental degradation to mention; reclamation of swamps, industrial air, and water pollution are also enemies if not attended to with seriousness, can risk us embracing the evil Genetically Modified Organisms.

In conclusion, I commend colleague Hakim Kyeswa for sharing his thoughts about GMOs, however request he and others with a similar line of thinking to pay attention to the risk of surrendering our economy to the minority multinational corporations who have control and ownership of GMOs, effect of GMOs to our youthful population. Finally, Uganda can produce enough organic foods for domestic and international consumption.

The author; Kintu Moses, is the Public Relations Officer at the Office of the NRM National Chairman (ONC)- Kyambogo