Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Bufumbira North County Member of Parliament, John Nizeyimana Kamara is on the spot for allegedly intimidating tea nursery bed operators in Kisoro District from joining their colleagues in Kigezi and Ankole regions to sue the National Agriculture Advisory Services-NAADS for nonpayment.
On November 21st, 2013, president, Yoweri Museveni wrote to the then Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Minister, Tress Buchanayandi to liaise with NAADS to implement the Tea nursery bed projects in Kigezi, Ankole and Tooro regions, Mityana, Mubende and Hoima districts as a way of boosting tea production.
At least 842 tea nursery bed operators from nine districts in western Uganda were contracted by NAADS to supply tea plant lets under the project. But the operators accuse the NAADS secretariat for failure to pay them Shillings 842 billion for the tea plant lets they supplied for the last three years.
As a result, the Nursery bed operators have resolved to sue NAADS, the Attorney General and Local Governments where they operate from for breach of contract because of none payment. The Nursery bed operators have already issued a notice of intention to sue to NAADS. The farmers have been meeting under the leadership of Frank Byaruhanga, the Chairperson South Western Region Tea Nursery Bed Operators to share ideas on how to go about with their suit.
However, on Monday, John Nizeyimana Kamara the Bufumbira North Member of Parliament mobilized all Nursery bed operators in Kisoro district and warned them not to dare meet Byaruhanga, saying whoever does so risks being arrested and prosecuted.
He also warned them against any attempts to gang up with Byaruhanga to use government, saying they don’t have capacity. Kamara’s threats haven’t gone down well with the nursery bed operators. John Tumuheire, the Chairperson Tea Nursery Bed Operators in Kisoro district wonders why Kamara is intimidating them.
Tumuheirwe says they will not abide by Kamara’s directives, saying he was part of them but switched sides without clear reasons. He says NAADS owes Nursery Tea operators in Kisoro district more that Shillings 11.7 billion, adding that there is no way they can stay away from the suit to push for their pay because of the legislator’s threats.
Fideris Kanyamunyu, a tea nursery bed operator in Rubuguri town council, says they have reliable information that Kamara is being influenced by some top officials in the NAADS Secretariat to scare them from the suit. He however, says they are not ready to bow to any intimidation by the legislator because of his selfish interests.
Abel Bizimana, the Kisoro District LC V Chairman, says it was unnecessary for Kamara to make radio announcements warning tea nursery bed operators against attending the meeting organised by Byaruhanga.
He asks Kamara to leave the operators to pursue their pay since they are the ones with problems. Frank Byaruhanga, the Chairperson South Western Region Tea Nursery Bed Operators wants Kamara to apologize to tea nursery bed operators for interfering in their affairs.
Byaruhanga wonders why Kamara has resorted to intimidating the tea nursery bed operators instead of fighting for their payment.
Byaruhanga also claims that they have reliable information indicating that Kamara and some legislators are pressurizing NAADS not to release money in order to keep the nursery bed operators poor so as not to get capacity to challenge them in 2021 polls.