The rampant cattle quarantines slapped in various parts of the country have raised questions, with MPs alleging that army Generals are using quarantines to push Ugandans out of beef and milk business.
Taking to the floor of Parliament Tuesday, Hilary Lokwang (Ik Kabong) tasked the Ministry of Agriculture to explain when the quarantine that was slapped on Kabong would be lifted because the move has left the locals economically incapacitated to meet their basic needs.
“They have closed all cattle markets, we can’t slaughter any animals and the ministry has never taken drugs to the people to treat their cattle,” Lokwang said.
Vincent Bagiire, Minister of State for Agriculture told Parliament that it is known whenever there is an outbreak especially disease which are contagious a quarantine is slapped and the quarantine would only be lifted after a review is undertaken.
However, John Baptist Lokii (Matheniko County) in Moroto district also rejected the Minister’s statement saying there are districts that have had quarantine for many years and castigated the Ministry officials for being unprofessional.
“You slap quarantine and you aren’t vaccinating. We give money to the ministry of agriculture we see outbreaks.”
Speaker Rebecca Kadaga also quashed the Minister’s response arguing that it is becoming customary for quarantine in certain areas.
“How can it be that as government you can’t know there is going to be an outbreak so that you vaccinate?” she said.
Aruu County’s Odonga Otto pleaded with Speaker to prevail over the Ministry of Agriculture and direct the officials to table before Parliament a comprehensive statement on all quarantine since 1997.
“Generals declare some districts have quarantine so they leave business for few generals then they lift the quarantine. We want to know these people who are doing business,” he said.
Alex Byarugaba (Isingiro South) proposed to have the committee of agriculture to carry out a thorough investigation before Parliament takes a final decision.
However, his proposal was rejected by Robert Migadde Ndugwa (Buvuma Islands County), who said the Ministry has been in the know about the matters but instead paid a deaf ear to the plight of cattle keepers in preference for dogs.
“When I was Vice Chairperson Agriculture committee, we brought up the issue that there is more vaccination of stray dogs than cows. Actually the dogs are vaccinated and released on the streets for more vaccination.
The issue isn’t that people aren’t able, those who are able can’t get vaccines, it is an issue of availability. The Minister has to explain why they are more interested in stray dogs where we don’t earn anything,” he said.
Kadaga told Bagiire to present the statement because the endless quarantines are violating Ugandans’ rights to an economic activity.
“I find it totally of unacceptable that people are condemned to poverty year after year. We want a comprehensive statement on quarantine and we also want to know why you have failed to vaccinate the animals,” Kadaga said.