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Kadaga courts Buganda parliamentary caucus on sugar bill

FILE PHOTO: Rebecca Kadaga

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has urged the Buganda Parliamentary Caucus to support the people of Busoga in opposing clauses in the Sugar Bill that are not in the interest of sugarcane out growers.

Kadaga is opposed to the proposed zoning of cane growers, which according to President; Yoweri Museveni will ensure a sustainable, harmonized and competitive sugar sector to meet national and international standards.

Recently, President Museveni returned the Sugar Bill and asked MPs to include among other clauses, zoning.  However, Busoga kingdom argues that zoning will exploit small out growers because it makes them sell their sugar canes to specific manufacturers and yet they should be free to sell to whoever offers the best price.

Kadaga has now made an appeal to the Buganda Parliamentary Caucus to support the interests of the sugar cane out growers.  She took the opportunity to lobby the Buganda MPs when they paid a courtesy call on her, to welcome her back following her month absence from parliament because of ill health.

Kadaga says the issue at hand is the sugarcane out growers and the main battle is in Busoga and other regions are not that affected because they don’t have many small out growers.

She added that she talked to President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday morning, urging him not to rush the Sugar Bill. “I told him that he has listened to millers, those involved at the large scale. I pray he listens to the out grower farmers,” Kadaga added, “They [out growers] should tell you about the industry”.

Kadaga has now urged the Buganda MPs to support her quest for the Sugar Bill to provide for the interest of all sugar cane out growers across the country.

The Kabula County MP, James Kakooza and Nakaseke North MP, Syda Bbumba say President Museveni resolved during a meeting with the NRM Parliamentary Caucus to suspend the consideration of the Sugar Bill after meeting strong resistance from the MPs.

Kakooza and Bbumba say that the Bill that has now been shelved for a month for further scrutiny, was rejected by most MPs after they heard Kadaga’s concerns when she received a petition from Busoga Kingdom officials on Monday.

Iganga Municipality MP, Peter Mugema who also attended the meeting assured Kadaga that the Buganda MPs will support their Busoga counterparts to protect the interests of out growers.

Mugema interjected the Buganda caucus Chairperson, Johnson Muyanja who was telling Kadaga that he will deliver a cow to her home in Kamuli.

Muyanja who is also Mukono South MP, told Kadaga that the caucus has recognized Mugema as Muganda who belongs to the Monkey clan because he is friendly.

Muyanja spoke on behalf of the 50 MPs from National Resistance Movement, Democratic Party and Independents who attended the meeting.

The MPs who joined their chairperson to the Speaker’s boardroom, signed on a vase with red roses, while Ssembabule Woman MP, Anifa Kawooya and Syda Bbumba presented a basket of flowers each to Kadaga.     Buganda Parliamentary Caucus has 103 Members who include ex-officios.

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