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Minister Rwamirama intervenes in Sembabule quarantine row

State Minister for Animal Industry Bright Rwamirama (in brown) with Sembabule leaders where he rushed on Thursday

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT  |  Bright Rwamirama, the State Minister in Charge of Animal Industry has intervened in a dispute on the enforcement of livestock quarantine in Sembabule district.

Rwamirama and Dr Rose Ann Edmund, the Commissioner in Charge of Health and her Assistant, Doris Kiconco on Thursday were in Sembabule district, to resolve a stalemate between herdsmen and law enforcement agencies.

Their interventions came days after the police arrested the Lwemiyaga County Member of Parliament Theodore Ssekikubo, accusing him of mobilizing farmers and traders to defy quarantine restrictions.

During a stakeholders meeting convened in the district council hall, Rwamirama laboured to convince the irritated pastoralists. They accused police of selectively enforcing the quarantine by shielding a few political bigwigs dealing in livestock at the expense of the local people. 

Rwamirama instructed for a total quarantine restriction for livestock and all related products for a period running for 14 days, to allow for a comprehensive vaccination exercise against Foot and Mouth Disease-FMD virus, after which an assessment will be conducted for possible opening of all markets.    

He adds that government is also looking for 12 billion shillings to procure an extra 3 million dosages of FMD vaccine that will cater for general vaccination in other parts of the country.

Rwamirama, on the other hand, noted 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.  

But Jolly Kasande, the Sembabule LCV female Councillor representing Mijwala Sub County, challenged the minister to stand by his instruction and as well order Police to ensure adherence to the quarantine.

Ssekikubo also agreed to retract his decision of mobilizing farmers and traders to defy the quarantine and open the cattle markets in the area. 

He says they have given the minister a benefit of doubt and challenged him to fulfill the pledge of delivering the vaccines to Sembabule.   

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