Sheema: Rukumbagaza re-elected Board chair of Kigarama People’s SACCO

Kigarama People’s SACCO has elected a new board to lead the SACCO for the next four years.

In a contentious Annual General Meeting [AGM] that had earlier been challenged in court by the then board Chairman, Grace Rukumbagaza.

The AGM was finally held on Wednesday at Bugarama H/S in Kanyeganyegye trading center in Masheruka town council Sheema district.

According to Allan Buhanda, the District Commercial Officer [DCO] Sheema, the long-awaited AGM since 2019 was finally attended by 160 delegates out of 200 delegates from six branches in Buhweju and Sheema who were elected during the November pre-AGM.

Compared to the previous AGMs, Kigarama people’s SACCO held a peaceful election as Rukumbagaza and most of his board members were re-elected unanimously for the next four years.

Other re-elected board members include; Mauda Maureen [treasurer], Didas Francis [secretary], Jenipher Tibenda, innocent Asiimwe, Citrus Barigye, Silvester Mugisha, Saviano Mbugane, and Winfred Nabada who replaced Godwin Arikwera as the Vice Chairman.

After the elections, the Chairman-elect pledged to ensure quality services for the smooth development of Kigarama People’s SACCO.

“During this term of office, we shall review the policies, construct and improve the head office. I want to encourage you to ensure quality services as well as strengthen the mobilization of members,” says Rukumbagaza

According to Buhanda, some of the delegates who were at log heads with the Chairman boycotted the AGM.

“This time round there was no race, the Chairman was just unopposed because nobody showed any interest for the Chairmanship position,” says Buhanda

The District Commercial Officer [DCO] encouraged the new leadership to reconcile with their adversaries if they are to restore the SACCO’s lost glory.

“We all need each other for the good of the SACCO” said Buhanda

John Muhabwe, one of the founding members said he could not attend an election AGM where the Chairman is alleged to have bought all the delegates to retain his seat.

“It would be a wastage of time to stand with someone whose term of office expired in 2018 but bought all the delegates in advance to keep himself in power as you’ve seen,” said Muhabwe

“Can you believe that all the eight board members were unopposed out of more than 10,000 able-bodied women and men in Kigarama SACCO. This shows you the level of greed of the Chairman and his board” Muhabwe adds

Godwin Arikwera, the former Vice Chairman was uncomfortable that the Chairman had personalized the SACCO that was established in 2005 by courageous men and women to financially support the welfare of their households.

“Look, during the Covid19 lockdown, the Chairman bought a Shs142 million car and also opened two SACCO branches without any AGM approval. This contradicts the cooperative principles that anything to be done must be resolved by the members,” Arikwera said

He says most of the members have now abandoned Kigarama SACCO and plans are underway to start a new SACCO.

“So far we now have about 100 registered members and by the end of December we shall have hit our target of 300 members to open a new SACCO and leave Kigarama SACCO to Rukumbagaza,” Arikwera explained

Osbert Amanya said the lawyers will ensure that the Chairman pays the court costs in a matter he lost to the former registrar of cooperatives in October 2021.

“Starting a new SACCO does not stop Rukumbagaza from paying court costs, our Lawyers are pursuing the matter to ensure he pays all the costs incurred in the matter,” says Amanya

He adds that after forming a new SACCO, they will still remain members of Kigarama People’s SACCO by shares.

“We have no chances of selling our shares because the bylaws do not allow so we shall remain as members until Rukumbagaza leaves the SACCO” says Amanya

Frank Kyerere, the Resident District Commissioner [RDC] Sheema blamed the leadership struggle in the SACCOs on the capital accumulations and benefits.

“You know SACCOs are rich, they work like a bank for instance a SACCO like Kigarama running about 20billion somebody leading it gets a lot of benefits that’s why they don’t want to leave,” Kyerere said.

The RDC also appealed to Kigarama people’s SACCO top leadership to reconcile with the members for the betterment of their financial institution.

“The board should reconcile with the members; I also ask the members not to leave the SACCO, they should remain calm and continue running their SACCO” says Kyerere.

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