Butchermen operating in the city have threatened to sue Kampala Capital City Authority KCCA for the loss they incurred since the authority announced that the meat sold in the market is unsafe.
In the meeting held yesterday (Tuesday) at City Hall attended by the Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago and KCCA health officials, the butchermen challenged them to prove that they use formalin, toxic chemical to kill the insects and prevent them from contaminating the meat.
“The formalin chemicals are very expensive and deforms meat and when it cook it loses taste. Also, we cannot contaminate the meat with chemicals because our families eat the same meat, we sell to the public,”Hassan Kato, a butcher operating at Kibuye market, argued.
The butchermen under their association, Uganda Butchers Association, have hired a private lawyer firm to file the case, if KCCA don’t come up with the report within 14 days pinning them on selling contaminated meat.
“If not, KCCA officials should apologise to us for inciting the public and the damage cause to their livelihood,” stated Abbey Mugumba, of the leaders of the association.
The association also instructed its lawyers to appeal against the sentence its members are serving at Luzira Prison.
“You cannot sentence them , in this case when you don’t have the report pinning them. But our lawyers are handling them the matter,” Mugumba explained.
Last week on Thursday, the City Hall Court sentenced six men to 8 months in Luzira prison for spraying harmful chemicals on meat and fish.
The presiding Grade One magistrate Beatrice Khainza, while sentencing them ruled that their actions put the lives of innocent members of the public in danger and therefore deserved a long custodial sentence to deter other would be offenders.
That convicted include Erias Kafumba, Isa Ssenoga, Isma Mutebi, Umar Kalyango, Baker Mulondo and Ibrahim Ssekitto who pleaded guilty to the offense of causing a nuisance by spraying harmful chemicals on the meat and fish that they sell to the public.
Ever since KCCA launched an operation on selling unsafe meat, meat traders have been complaining of making losses.
In its routine inspection, KCCA Public Health Team and KCCA enforcement officers, found a number of butcheries in Nakasero, Mpelerwe and Nalukolongo markets in very insanitary conditions.
This prompted KCCA to close off and arrested butchers whom , the authority said were using chemicals to preserve their meat.
The operation which is being carried out in the city markets, aimed at maintaining minimum health standards within the business. Several meat traders were also arrested during the operation.
KCCA speaks out
Speaking at the meeting Dr Emilian Ahimbisibwe, KCCA supervisor of Animal Production, who is spearheading the operation told butchers that they took the meat to laboratories, to be examined.
“Once, the examination is done, we shall give you the report. But for us, we shall continue closing the butcheries not meeting the standards,” he added.
He also accused them that they are arresting butchermen that fall short of minimum standards to enable city dwellers obtain safe meat.
Lukwago cautions butchers
In his remarks, Lukwago cautioned the butchers to follow the Meat Ordinance 2006, which provides for licensing, control and regulation of slaughter houses and butcher shops by KCCA.
“I encourage you the butchery operator to always meet required quality standards,” he said.