By STEVEN KARUTI
BUSHENYI – Bushenyi District was previously referred to as the model district of Uganda. Over time, there have been some issues of sharp social economic differences, sectarian tendencies relating to region, personal ego differences and lack of strategic focus on big-picture economic development.
I have been watching and analysing one of the promising leaders, Mrs Katusiime Annet Mugisha who, to me, appears to measure up to the challenges facing my District – Bushenyi. I now discuss her capability statement in some of the strategic focus areas where Bushenyi has challenges:
1) Unifying qualities: our Bishop Johnson Twinomujuni of West Ankole Diocese (WAD) has been at the fore front, preaching “love that unites” mantra. This effort is meant to address sectarian tendencies based on religion.
Mrs Mugisha Annet Katusiime has demonstrated that she espouses this concept of unity. Over the last 5 years, Mrs Mugisha, through her Bamugisha Community Welfare Ltd (a not-for-profit organisation) has supported development projects across all divides of religion without discrimination. Given that she is a protestant by birth and a Catholic by marriage (among others), gives her unfettered ability to know that religion has its protected role in spirituality development but should not distract other intents of economic development, democracy, fair dealing and welfare economics.
2) Socio-Economic Development: Mrs Mugisha, through her foundation, has supported setting of saving groups for women and men at every village in the District. She has also supported the youths and local leaders to set up saving groups at parish and sub-county level. This structured approach is aimed at inspiring mindset change among the communities. Like H.E the President, has often indicated, economic empowerment at household level is a key driver of wider national economic development. Mrs Mugisha is good student and strong proponent of the President’s household economic empowerment ideology. She has done this on the ground through practical experiments and actions.
Her strategic objective is to create good recipes for working capital mobilisation through a strong saving culture so that subsequent household business enterprises can easily start-up.
Mrs Mugisha is looking at household enterprises like poultry, goat rearing, piggery, commercial farming like tea, banana, vegetables etc. All these require some form of working capital. Mrs Mugisha believes that if this network of saving groups can be linked to a SACCO at the District, the communities will have an enhanced sense of belonging, make it easy for government to support those groups through financial facilities and increase confidence with development partners to support the structures.
3) A peace maker: Mrs Mugisha is a simple woman that transcends egoism. She believes that respect starts and grows with the way you respect others. Mrs Mugisha will not find it difficult to kneel and greet elders, with respect. She does not discriminate protagonists: she believes that inspiring change requires encouraging healthy debates and forge a consensus through presentation of facts and negotiation. Mrs Mugisha believes in teamwork, while cognizant of different individual levels of understanding. She believes that good ideas has no colour, no religion, no tribe etc.
4) An excellent family woman: Mrs Mugisha believes in stable families and good parenting. She is happily married to Eng Dr Silver Mugisha and they have been married for 27 years. God blessed them with five children.
Her key message to the children and even those in her neighborhood is to always be humble, respectful, responsible and instill a culture of continuous learning because the world is always changing in terms of needs and challenges.
5) Education background: Mrs Mugisha has a degree in Social Development and Counseling (Upper Second Class) of Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi. She is currently pursuing a masters in Business Administration (MBA) at the same University.
This education background, together with a long history history in teaching and Business, has helped to sharpen her skills and competences in community engagement, stakeholder penetration and negotiation.
The writer Mr. Steven Karuti is Chairman LC3, Central Division, Ishaka-Bushenyi Municipality and Chairman, Bushenyi Sub-County Local Goverment Leaders Association.