Hundreds of Bamasaaba people turned out for this year’s Bamasaaba Cultural Festival and parade that took place in Mbale, Eastern Uganda.
Speaking during the cultural festival cum parade of Bamasaaba people from both Kenya and Uganda, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni appealed to Bamasaaba community to embrace education, health, peace and harmony in order for them to prosper.
“The major point that you should put in place as Bamasaaba is to ensure you embrace peace and harmony, if peace and harmony exist, you will prosper,” said Museveni.
He challenged Bamasaaba people to not only focus on eradicating war but also ensure there is no crime in their vicinity so as to attract investors.
“You have talked of attracting investors in your region and if you want to attract investors ensure there is peace and harmony because if crime prevails investors will not come,” he explained.
Touching on health President Museveni appealed to parents to advise their children to shun drug abuse and prostitution which he argued have negatively affected the lives of the youth.
“When you look at me I am seventy-three years and I am very healthy, in fact, if you have an issue with me, we just solve it from here because I am healthy, I don’t need to go home and prepare,” said President Museveni.
He added that it is only advisable for people who will work and achieve many things which are beneficial to them.
“I fought here with Amin’s soldiers and it’s like forty-four years ago, and we are still working. We have managed to implement so many projects because we are healthy, if we were unhealthy we would not have achieved anything,” he explained.
On education, president Museveni recalled the history of Bamasaaba revealing how they valued education citing immediate former Uganda High Commissioner Wapakhabulo among other Bamasaaba members who valued and pursued education to the highest levels.
He called upon the community to embrace education urging parents to continue emphasizing the importance of education to the children.
President Museveni who gave a speech until late in the evening appealed to Bamasaaba to carry out a census to find out how people are taking part in wealth creation adding that wealth creation should be given a preference as thought it people will be empowered economically thus improving the living standards.
“After ensuring that there is peace, harmony, education and people are health, the next thing will be wealth creation, in most of the parishes you find two thousand five hundred homesteads the question is how many of them are actively involved in wealth creation, income generation, we need to carry out a census to find out many are involved, how many are just there sitting,” wondered President Museveni.
The president offered to continue supporting cultural institutions promising to discuss with investors who will partner with Inzu Ya Masaaba to put up a five star hotel with conference halls that will generate income for Inzu Ya Masaaba to help in the running of its activities.
Speaking during the function, Bamasaaba King Omukuka Bob Mushikori appealed to President Museveni to help in building Bamasaaba Institution arguing that being the youngest institution in Uganda and Kenya, it needs to be supported strongly in order for it to stabilize.
He said as Bamasaaba leadership, they have always strived to ensure that Bamasaaba people are empowered economically and socially.
Omukuka used the opportunity to ask for support from President Museveni to enable him put up a palace on Mount Wanale which will have three sections one for President Museveni, the second one for Kenya`s President then another one for the Bamasaaba King.
In addition he appealed to President Museveni to remember Bamasaaba sons and daughters in government appointments promising to continue supporting his government.
Kenyan delegation was led by Bungoma County Government Chief Officer for Gender and Culture Mrs Sellah Mutsotso who thanked Bungoma Governor Wycliffe Wanangamati for facilitating the culture team to Mbale, Uganda to take part in the festival.
She applauded leaders from the government of Uganda including the president who spared time to grace the cultural event plus many others.
The Chief Officer called upon parents to instill culture in their children adding that it is only through that that culture will be passed on to successive generations.
“As Bungoma County officers and people at large, we have learned many things through this cultural event which we must ensure we embrace for us to preserve our culture,” said the Chief Officer.
Bungoma County Assembly was represented by among others the Minority Leader who is also the Member of County Assembly representing Kaptama ward Francis Maasai, Mihuu Ward Member of the County Assembly who is also the Chairperson of Gender and Culture committee in the County Assembly, Luuya-Bwake ward Member of the County Assembly, Rosemary Khisa.
The three emphasized on the need to embrace culture arguing that culture can be used and has been used to solve certain conflicts in the society apart from shaping the people by promoting ethics and morals.
They said as County Assembly Members, they will work closely with Bungoma people and the County executive to ensure they put in place policies that will promote and preserve culture of Bamasaaba, Sabaot, Tachoni, Abatura people who are inhabitants of Bungoma county.
Several members of Bamasaaba from Trans Nzoia County also attended the festival which started with a 5 kilometer race from Mutoto Cultural Centre to Malukhu ground where the main function took place.
Several artists performed with Kenyan Chapter being represented by Wanyonyi Kakai, known for his song Lukendo lwe Babukusu.
There was display of traditional attire with a section of women walking with their breast exposed as they only wore sisal skirts.
Those who performed well were feted by President Museveni before the end of the function.
The next cultural event among Bamasaaba of Uganda and Kenya is expected to take place in August 2018 during circumcision where they will start by converging at Mutoto Cultural Centre from early July for song and dance day and night before the real launch in August.