Putting some deep thinking into KCU, I remember to have been told that a good number of successful and potential fathers from our homeland are fruits of this “blessed” corporative union, but none of the figures who actually run KCU successfully to mould our fathers who later become potential and successful, before the union was frustrated to collapse, aren’t even on our homeland memoirs of “EMANZI”…… well I am not quite equipped as in who these I term to be “EMANZI” are since the birth of KCU, but if anybody among us has a reach to this valuable information, I suppose it would be of value for the team to know…..”

The masterminds “EMANZI” behind KCU formerly known as BNCU were the late Gervas Ishengoma (father of the well known IMMA Advocate, Protace Ishengoma), Omulangira-the late Gosbert Rutabanzibwa (father of Patrick, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Land and Habitats) and Sir George Kahama, the only instigator still living.  

The tale of our story starts here (I have attached the Certificate and a photo of one of my credible source of this history). Our grandfathers were facing severe challenges in marketing coffee produce. The coffee supply chain was too long, giving a vacuum for traders to dominate the central role. Moreover, grandfathers noted that the market margins were quite high compared to farm-gate price. This logically signifies supply chain inefficiency. Further to knowing these bottlenecks, our grandfathers realized the fact that appropriate interventions would require knowledge, expertise and skills which were beyond their inborn ability and possession. But contrary to WE who normally  contend  as modern, educated/learned people, but keep on singing problems and waiting for solutions to come from heaven, our grandfather decided to select three young boys and finance for their acquisition of bespoke and specialized knowledge on Cooperative Businesses Management (Do you remember J.K.N’s doctrine on education scholarships?). The boys were George Kahama, Gosbert Rutabanzibwa and Gervas Ishengoma. These were sent to a Scandinavian country (Sweden??-I don’t remember well!) to grip the living solutions (knowledge)  not voluminous papers and titles. None was appended the word “Dr.” neither “Prof.” nor ”Mh.” before his name on their return but today, the basis of our narration are the vivid tangible outputs of their knowledge, skills and commitment. Mind that, the honor “Sir” bestowed to George Kahama comes from a similar different story.

In early 1950s, the boys worked excellently to successfully establish Bukoba Native Cooperative Union (BNCU) now called KCU. They became founders with George Kahama as the first General Manager. Later, the late Gervas Ishengoma went on to establish the Balimi Education Fund (BEF) as an extension line of BNCU. The BEF major objective was to offer education scholarships to poor children of coffee farmers. It is merits bringing to your attention that this fund raised and nurtured academic talents which later became the icons of Buhaya and National assets. Just to mentions a few  beneficiaries, BEF financed education for Wilson Masilingi and the late Sebastian Lukiza Kinyondo, all these have served as MPs and Ministers at one time. There are many other elites like Justian Rweyemamu, the world renown Economist from Buhaya, but suffice to say, notwithstanding religious institutions' role in education, BEF had a significant contribution to Haya being called NSHOMILE.  

My records on the subject is still fragmented and incomplete. I don’t know how long did it took before Kahama joined the Government and Rutabanzibwa became our Ambassador in NY--on the seat once served by the fresh late Dr. Kyaruzi. But I know the passion of the late Ishengoma to uplift farming in Kagera did not stop. Few years before his death, he promoted an organization called Maendeleo Ya Wakulima, famously known as MAYAWA. This NGO which applies the Founder's Cooperative model focuses on promoting mainly Vanilla, Mushrooms (Ebituzi) and Paprika farming. The  initiative to promote vanilla came as a strategy to emphasize (remember vanilla has been planted in Bugabo-Kagera since 1947) an alternative cash crop in Kagera following the turbulence in the world coffee market.

January this year, some of BNCU masterminds were decorated with honors by the US-NGO known as Child Outreach and Community Empowerment (COCE). The honor was given in recognition of their outstanding efforts and performance to promote Cooperatives in Kagera region. This is now becoming the National taboo that recognition of our very own people is mostly coming from outside. However, I waste less time to wonder as this is biblical---Jesus was denied and crucified by people of his own origin! To make a good case, if you remember well, December last year, a few days after JK to award the incredible UHURU honors, the Kenyans conferred the Highest Command of the Moran honor to Amb. Mwapachu for his outstanding service at EAC. Amb. Mwapachu had and has never been in the honor mention of his own country! Is this not troubling your mind?

“My note is that, KCU supported our fathers in education, from junior to advanced levels, both in country and abroad, with money deducted  from our grandfathers’ coffee harvests, but I wonder what our homeland got back in return!!!”

We got the Buildings, employments, income, assured markets for coffee farmers, and most important the money for the Party (CCM) and the open basket for Politicians who once pull theirs, the KCU-General Manager also takes his unquestionably; leaving farmers at the standstill waiting for the God's grace termed by smart boys as "favorable world market price" or sometimes arrears. I do take life as a comedy. So don’t take my words seriously on this para!

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