KAMPALA – The State Minister for Animal Industry, Lt Col (Rtd) Bright Rwamirama, has announced a total ban on the sale and movement of livestock in Sembabule district in a bid to contain Foot and Mouth Disease.
While meeting farmers and district leaders at Sembabule District Council Hall on Thursday, January 16, Col Rwamirama said the quarantine, which has been imposed on all cattle markets, will last 14 days, to allow for a comprehensive vaccination exercise against Foot and Mouth Disease-FMD virus.
The minister’s announcement comes after farmers accused police of selectively enforcing the quarantine by shielding a few political bigwigs dealing in livestock at the expense of the local people.
Last week, police arrested the Lwemiyaga County Member of Parliament Theodore Ssekikubo, who had mobilized farmers and traders to defy quarantine restrictions and forcefully open a cattle market.
The minister said during the 14 days of quarantine, the ministry will conduct vaccination exercise against Foot and Mouth Disease-FMD virus.
Col Rwamirama also said that Ministry is also working on a very tough policy which will layout severe punishments to persons caught involving in activities aiding the spread of FMD in any parts of the country.
Ssekikubo said they have given the minister a benefit of doubt and challenged him to fulfill the pledge of delivering the vaccines to Sembabule.
About two weeks ago, cattle traders and residents of Lwemiyaga County led by Ssekikubo went to the Parliament protesting what they called the unlawful and arbitrary blockading of Lwemiyaga cattle market.
The residents handed over the petition to the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, and called for investigations into the role of security minister Gen Elly Tumwine in the market blockade.
The petitioners also stated that while the commissioner Animal Health, Dr Anna Ademun ordered the closure of Kyamamba, Lugusulu and Rumegyere markets, citing the outbreak of FMD in Mitima Subcounty in Sembabule district that posed a high risk of transmitting the disease to neighbouring district, she has never ordered the closure or quarantine of Lwemiyaga market.
“…in a clear case of discrimination and highhandedness, the market of Lwemiyaga market is blocked while those in the neighbourhood namely, Kyaahi, and Maddu in Gomba, Burunga, Rwemikoma, Kazo in Kazo, Kashagama and Kyemamba in Lyantonde, Butawata in Mubende remain operating normally,” the petition read in part.
“…in a further display of double standards, the instruments ordering for the closure of Kyemamba, Lugusuulu and Lumegyere markets dated August 7th, 2019 and another of August 2019 issued by Dr Kiconco Doris and Dr Anna Rose Ademun specifically prohibit in the affected area. At Mitima village itself, there are over 4 together with other milk diaries and coolers operating and processing milk in the area and butchers,” petition further stated.