Buganda kingdom can raise Shs 33bn internally per annum and save itself the burden of carrying the begging bowl to external donors every now and then, Mukono municipality MP Betty Nambooze, in her concept paper, outlines how such a feat can be achieved.
In her 1,678-word concept paper, Nambooze outlines how Mengo, the official seat of the kingdom, can raise this money by establishing what she has calls the "Voluntary Buganda Kingdom Annual Commitment Fund."
The money, for the fund, shall be raised from an estimated five million Baganda, if one is to go by the 2002 population census. Nambooze hopes that the Buganda cabinet which meets today, Wednesday, for a special retreat, will read her proposal and where possible, make adjustments.
"What we all want is for Buganda to be financially strong so that it cannot be easily manipulated by external sources," Nambooze said today.
Nambooze's proposal comes after Buganda MPs, in a stormy meeting at Parliament last week, questioned Buganda's unending fundraising drive for the reconstruction of the royal Kasubi tombs that were destroyed in a March 2010 fire.
They urged the kingdom to find ways of becoming financially sustainable as opposed to constant fundraising. Denis Walusimbi, the kingdom's spokesperson, said it "sounded like a good idea because it is aimed at bringing money to the kingdom."
He was quick to add though, that the kingdom would have to first look at the proposal before any steps are taken.
To raise the Shs 33bn, Nambooze proposes that four types of foolproof certificates be printed by Mengo, to be sold to various ages and economic groups. Effective 2014, she proposes, each existing Muganda will be expected to buy one of the four cards and if one misses out that year, he/she before buying the one for 2015, will have to buy the previously missed card first.
The money shall be paid annually, for those who can afford. For instance, she says the Ssuubi Lya Buganda certificate should target children aged between one and 12 and be sold at Shs 3,000. The Nkobazambogo certificate will be sold to youths aged between 13 and 18 years at Shs 6,000.
Those aged 18 years and above will purchase the Awangaale Ssabasajja certificate at Shs 12,000 and for the well off Baganda particularly those in diaspora, they would purchase the Ekitiibwa kya Buganda card for Shs 120,000. The Baganda in the diaspora and others in the middle class would be handled by a special committee.
She proposes that the cards be sold at Mengo in bulk to interested persons at wholesale or recorded and given to Masaza (county) leaders for onward distribution to the grassroots leaders.
"Children aged three years should be encouraged by parents to do some work and earn money, save from their pocket money or money earned through gifts for the ticket instead of passing over the tax to parents. This will in a way cultivate a spirit of responsibility in young Baganda," she writes.
She writes that a register to capture all details of buyers will be issued to each card seller so that Buganda concurrently captures data of her loyal subjects. In it, each buyer must sign and his card number recorded. A central computer system will be established to record all buyers.
For the project to succeed, Nambooze says, a massive mobilisation and sensitisation campaign be undertaken by the kingdom through community meetings, radio programmes, youth groups [Nkobazambogo, Bangawa, Baana Ba Kintu, Ssuubi lya Buganda, etc], clan heads and aboogezi ku mikolo to spread this card gospel so that it becomes part of the kingdom such as the slogan Awangaale Ssabasajja (long live the king).
She anticipates that if a million cards for children are bought per year, it will translate into Shs 3bn. A million cards for the youth will fetch Shs 6bn while a same number for adults will garner Shs 12bn.
In addition, if 100,000 cards for those in the diaspora can be sold, this too will fetch Shs 12bn. The total will be Shs 33bn. Interesting as the proposal sounds, the tricky part could be its implementation, the logistics needed to set it into motion and its future administration.
Already, Mengo sells certificates to the public but they do not turn in enough money to sustain the activities of the kingdom. Nambooze told us there needs to be a strict mechanism of enforcement if the fund is to succeed.
She said: "We shall set a scenario whereby all people going for kwanjula (introduction) functions must produce the ekitiibwa kya Buganda card before being allowed entry into a home, a minimum of [Shs] 10 millions will move into Buganda's treasury every week given the number of kwanjulas that take place every weekend."