Involve Bamasaaba in current relocation of their people from landslide-prone areas

Bududa, (UG):- The persons being relocated from Bududa to other parts of the country must be counselled on post-migrational effects and equipped with the right skills on how to manage the compensation coming from the Government.

We encourage the government to involve various stakeholders like cultural institutions, the church and NGOs including the local governments and academic institutions or even academicians to educate and create a necessary mindset change in new places they will be relocating to.

Benching marking by actors such as cultural institutions is important, especially on the new lands where our people will be relocated too including ascertaining the characters of such new community members. We don’t want our people to be harmed as it happened in Kiryandongo.

Government of Uganda is in the advanced stages of compensating persons who live in landslide-prone areas like Bududa and other areas of Bugisu where each family will be given about shs10m to identify and buy land of their own choice in lowlands elsewhere.

 The idea of relocating our people is a welcome move considering that we lost thousands of people in the infamous landslides of 2010 and other subsequent floods in Sironko and Bulambuli. However, this time round we want all stakeholders to be meaningfully involved in the process of relocation. We don’t want the mistakes of 2010 relocations repeated again.

Many Government projects are always well-intentioned but because there is less involvement of stakeholders you find that midway they collapse because of being mishandled. In 2010, for example, when the landslides damaged the sub county of Bukalasi, and when it came to compensation with land and houses in Kiryandongo.

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There were many opportunists from far away sub counties like  Bududa, Bukigai, Bushika and others who ended being part of those on the list of compensation and yet, in essence, they were not among the affected persons. Majority of them sold this pieces of land and reverted to their homes technically minting money out of a calamity. 

It would make much sense if actors like those of the cultural institutions such as Inzuyamasaba are thoroughly briefed and involved in the program of relocation and compensation.

Many of our people unlike the Bakiga and Banyankole are not used to migrations or internal relocation from village to village or district to district especially in old age. Such persons may need counseling and education on post-migrational effects.

 Those migrating must as a matter of management priority be equipped with financial literacy skills on how to manage such huge cash, since many of them are not used to such huge payments and may misuse the funds thinking it will keep flowing on an annual basis. The allocated funds should not be used for purposes unintended by the government.

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Steven Masiga writer is a reasearcher from Mbale,  and a PhD student.

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