KAMPALA – The Commissioner Animal Health at the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Dr. Anna Rose Ademun Okurut has denied knowledge of any quarantine on the closure of Lwemiyaga cattle market slapped on by Government.
Ademun made the revelation while appearing before Parliament’s Agriculture Committee that is investigating claims that there are arbitrary and unlawful blocking of cattle markets by both police and the Minister for Security Gen. Elly Tumwine.
In her submission to Parliament, Ademun told MPs that even before the list of cattle markets slated for closure in Lwemiyaga was submitted to her office over foot and Mouth Disease, there were already running battles between the policemen and residents in Lwemiyaga, but the markets in Lwemiyaga weren’t condoned off.
During the investigation, MPs discovered that there was no genuine reason to impose quarantine in Lwemiyaga because the area didn’t fall within the 20Km radius, prompting the Committee to summon the Commissioner for Animal Health to appear with the veterinary officers from Sembabule district to explain why there was unlawful quarantine slapped on Lwemiyaga markets.
The MPs argued that there was no reason whatsoever why Lwemiyaga markets wouldn’t operate and called on Government to explain the arbitrary arrest of residents who were protesting the unlawful quarantine.
It should be recalled that last month, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga directed the Parliamentary committee on Agriculture, to investigate the alleged claims from cattle keeping communities in Sembabule, Isingiro, Karamoja reason that some top officials in the army are using quarantines to frustrate the sale of cattle in preference of their own cattle.
The development saw Lwemiyaga cattle farmers threaten to storm Lwemiyaga cattle market to sell their cows in total violation of a ban that was imposed by Government last year on grounds of outbreak of foot and mouth disease within the region.
Indeed, the leaders led by Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga County) MP stormed the markets as promised, accusing Gen. Tumwine, Minister for Security of ordering for the closure of this market on allegation of foot and mouth disease yet the said disease is 36kilometers away from mitima village where the FMD has been detected.
Ssekikubo also revealed that whereas Lwemiyaga cattle market is being closed off from operation, other neighboring cattle markets including; Burunga, Rwemikoma in Kazo, Kyaahi and Maddu in Gomba, Kashagama and Kyemamba in Lyantonde and Butawaka in Mubende are left open.
It should be recalled that on 20th August 2019, the Commissioner Animal Health Dr. Anna Ademun ordered the closure of Kyemamba Lugusulu and Rumegyere market due to outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) in Mitima Subcounty, Sembabule District.
Residents in Lwemiyaga petitioned Speaker Kadaga arguing that the directive from the Ministry of Agriculture were emphatic on closure of 3 markets and there have never been any orders for closure or quarantine of Lwemiyaga market.
Sssekikubo alleged that Gen. Tumwine has personal interest in blockade of Lwemiyaga market since he deals in cattle sales so as the buyers go to markets where he sells them in form of a black market.
During the protest, Police descended on Lwemiyaga residents and arrested the protesters including Ssekikubo who is now facing charges of attempted murder, accusations dating back in 2010.