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Baryomunsi accuses BATU of blackmail

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By NELSON WESONGA

Posted  Thursday, April 3  2014 at  19:43
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KAMPALA.
Kinkizi East Member of Parliament, Chris Baryomunsi, has claimed British American Tobacco Uganda (BATU) is blackmailing him to drop the Tobacco Control Bill.

He said the company had written to him saying it would stop supporting tobacco activities in Nyanga, Kihiihi and Nyakinoni - all in his constituency. Though the company acknowledges writing to him, among many other people, it denies the claim that it is threatening him.

“It is not true that BATU wrote to threaten him,” states a recent press statement issued by BATU.

“Neither is it true that BATU is suspending operations from Kanungu area to punish any one as alleged by Dr Baryomunsi.” Dr Baryomunsi on Wednesday claimed BATU thought by withdrawing from the area, it would cost him votes.

“They think it will cost me votes. They expect people to blame me. They should know this is not about being in Parliament but rather what you do for the people,” said Dr Baryomunsi at a workshop on the Tobacco Control Bill in Kampala on Wednesday.

BATU, however, said the suspension from the Kanungu area is “purely a business decision”.

“[It is] driven by the economics of growing tobacco in the area, as well as the uncertainties presented by the upcoming legislation on tobacco.”
BATU said it is giving the farmers hybrid maize seeds as well as to ease the pain of farmers since they will no longer be cultivating tobacco.

The Bill seeks to regulate the use of tobacco and its products, however, it neither bans the cultivation nor the sell of tobacco.

The Tobacco Control Bill seeks to regulate the use of tobacco and its products to protect people from cigarette smoke, which causes lung cancer.

The Bill, however, bans neither the cultivation nor the sell of tobacco.

According to the Tobacco Control Journal (2013), without more action by African nations to discourage smoking, the percentage of smokers will increase to 30 per cent by 2030.

The tobacco bill
The Bill seeks to regulate the use of tobacco and its products, however, it neither bans the cultivation nor the sell of tobacco.
According to the Tobacco Control Journal (2013), without more action by African governments to discourage smoking, the percentage of smokers is likely to increase to 30 per cent by 2030.