Mbale, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Police posts and sub-county headquarters operating on the premises of primary societies under Bugisu Cooperative Union-BCU face eviction. Nathan Nandala Mafabi, the BCU Board Chairperson, says that they have resolved to evict the police posts and sub-county headquarters because they operate on the premises free of charge.
He told hundreds of farmers at Bududa primary school on Monday that the respective primary grower’s societies accepted to host the police posts and sub-county headquarters temporarily as they look for their own premises. Nandala, however, said that some of them have occupied the premises for over twenty years.
John Musila, the BCU Board Vice-chairperson listed the premises of Magale primary society in Lwakhakha zone in Namisindwa district, Bubolo primary society in Bugitimwa sub-county in Sironko, Tandiga primary society in Butandiga sub-county Sironko district and Mala primary society in Mufutu town council among others as those occupied by police posts and town councils respectively.
He also noted that some lower government administrative units like Butandiga and Mutufu town councils are operating on the premises of primary societies. According to Musira, the town councils owe the primary societies over Shillings 5 billion in rent. According to Musila, both the police posts and lower administrative units have to pay up or vacate their premises.
Isaiah Sasaga Wanzira, the Director of Sironko Valley Zone, says that their decision to reclaim the premises of their primary societies is meant to boost the supply of coffee to the union. He says that they are targeting to export over 4 million kilograms of coffee next year and the only way to full fill their target is to ensure all the 277 primary societies are fully functional. Wanzira also says that they have severally given time to the districts and police to vacate their premises in vain.
Peter Weduku, a farmer from Tandiga primary society Sironko valley zone, says that since the premises of their primary society have been occupied by Butandiga police and Butandiga town council they have nowhere to store their coffee before taking it to the main milling center in Mbale. He says that most farmers have opted to sell their coffee to middlemen or competitors as a way of getting quick money.
Weduku welcomed the decision by BCU to reclaim their premises, saying that this is going to increase the amount of coffee supplied to BCU for export. Rogers Taitika, the Elgon Region Police spokesperson, has asked the BCU board to first initiate a meeting with the top police leadership before coming up with such decisions.
He explains that it is the community that requested police posts in their areas and offered primary society buildings to accommodate them so it will be bad for BCU to evict them, saying it might spur insecurity. Jackson Wakwaika, the Namisindwa district LC V chairperson, says that the government currently can’t afford to pay rent to BCU for the new administrative units operating in their primary society buildings.
He asked BCU to allow them more time as they wait for the government to construct offices for the new administrative units.