Why i chose to retire honourably from politics – EFOTI’s Atukunda


Northern Uganda Minister Grace Freedom [L], Atekunda Edwin [2nd from L] and other leaders excitedly hold green tea last month. File photo.

By politicians embracing tea, and growing it intensively, they are sure of a comfortable life after politics, Mr Edwin Atukunda Beekunda says.

Gulu – 21, January 2021: Politics is becoming a lucrative ‘trade’ in Uganda and many are now opting to invest in it.

Politicians at parliamentary level are primarily elected to legislate, carryout oversight duties, and pass national budget, among others.

Because they (parliamentarians) decide on their monthly pay and other benefits, even at lower levels (offices), many people are leaving public offices to join this ‘lucrative trade’.

With elections taking place after five years, voters are tasked with a prime mandate of either retaining or dishing out their leaders for another term.

Elections

After 2016 elections, voters took notes on their leaders for five years until, first 14 January 2021 when presidential and parliamentary elections took place.

On 14 January, save for the presidential elections, MPs (both new and old) were reelected and elected for the next five years.

By 8pm or earlier that day, some old politicians were already voted out because their mandates (actions) for five years didn’t convince their constituents. Some lost shamefully, while others had merrymaking.

Same way, new ones won and some lost before final results were officially announced.

Sharing his experience with this digital newspaper Monday, Mr Edwin Atukunda Beekunda, the former LC5 councillor in Mitooma district asked politicians to accept a honorable retirement.

Mr Atukunda says while he was a district councillor, after two years in office, he told himself never to seek reelection (2nd term).

“After two years I had resolved not to seek for reelection and that’s why I left for Kamwenge to introduce tea growing in 2013/14,” he said.

Out of politics, Mr Atukunda has ensured tea growing, especially in Northern Uganda is embraced and funded by the government.

After his successful tea introduction in Kamwenge, nearly four years now, he left for northern Uganda and established the first tea mother gardens and subsequently tea nursery beds at Lugore prisons farm).

Mr Atukunda told TND News years ago that he had to leave for Zombo district where tea growing was already practised, but had to be abandoned by farmers due to lack of support and technical knowledge.

“I got to Zombo with support, and invitation from northern Uganda state minister, Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny who is a serious tea farmer. But like other farmers whose gardens were doing badly, the minister’s was one and I had to save it,” the Edwin Foundation Tea Initiative (EFOTI) director, with over 30 years of experience in tea industry said.

“It’s very true tea fits northern Uganda soils as per our research, I want to ask my brothers and sisters in politics – especially district councillors, MPs to become tea farmers today,” says Atukunda.

By politicians embracing tea, and growing it intensively, they are sure of a comfortable life after politics, he adds.

The EFOTI director believes that in the coming financial year of 2021/2022, government will invest more in agriculture, and that tea subsector will benefit immensely.

While government recognises tea as country’s third export earner, she’s yet to invest heavily in it.

“First of all, with president Museveni reelected, I do hope he (government) will support tea project especially in northern Uganda,” Atukunda says.

 


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