The Forum for Democratic Change(FDC) party secretary general Secretary party, Mr Nathan Nandala Mafabi, has been re-elected unopposed as the chairperson of Bugisu Cooperative Union (BCU) for the fifth term.
Mr Nandala, who is also the Budadiri West Member of Parliament (MP), has been the chairperson of BCU since 2008.
Mr Nandala and the entire board were elected unanimously by the delegates at the weekend during the 59th annual general meeting held at the union headquarters in Mbale City.
The delegates, also extended the term of office for the nine-member board from two to four years in order to give them sufficient time to deliver.
Mr Peter Weduku, a delegate from Tandiga Growers Cooperative Society, said Nandala's leadership has brought sanity to the union.
Mr Weduku said the team has also opened and registered a Savings and Credit Co-operative ( Sacco) for farmers as a source of affordable credit facilities to its members.
"They have established for us a radio station with educational agricultural programmes and they also pay us well and on time. We will keep re-electing him unopposed as long as he delivers," Mr Weduku said.
While giving his acceptable speech, Mr Nandala applauded the delegates and pledged that his leadership will ensure that BCU becomes a model cooperative in Africa.
"This can be achieved through promotion of social economic welfare of the union members through value- addition and marketing of our coffee," he said.
Mr Nandala asked the government to consider compensating the union for its property lost during the liberation war.
"We request the government to compensate BCU because other cooperatives have been handled," he said.
According to the auditor's report the union registered a decline in the first six month of this year due to coronavirus pandemic that left the union with a liquidity deficit of Sh2.4b.
The board revealed that it is looking at borrowing money from the microfinance support centre to fix the financial gaps.
Mr John Musira, the vice chairperson of BCU, said the union is digitizing its operations to ensure transparency and accountability.
"Such systems allow key stakeholders to monitor the union transactions wherever they are as long as they have Internet access," he said.
Daily Monitor has learnt that the union is also grappling with a high exodus of farmers, who prefer to sell their coffee to multinationals.
The assistant commissioner in-charge of Saccos and cooperatives, Mr Robert Mpakibi Waiswa, urged cooperative societies to embrace information technology for improved service delivery.
Mr Mpakibi also asked leaders of cooperatives to sensitise and encourage youth to join cooperatives in order to fight poverty and unemployment.
"I want to urge BCU zonal directors to mobilise youth to participate in the activities of the union in order to understand how cooperatives work," he said.
The State Minister for Cooperatives, Mr Frederick Ngobi Gume, asked leaders to improve on internal management to avoid making losses.
"The union is running well but needs to improve on internal management; supervision of the staff members to avoid making a lot of losses," he said.
ABOUT THE UNION
Bugisu Cooperative Union is owned by coffee farmers, who are organised in primary societies. Each primary society keeps a register of its fully paid-up members who elect a committee, which manages society's affairs.
Each primary society is represented by two delegates at an Annual General Meeting.