MP Ssekikubo threatens to stage demo over delayed cattle vaccination

Tuesday February 18 2020

Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Ssekikubo

Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Ssekikubo addressing his supporters after securing bail from Masaka Magistrates Court on January 16, 2020. PHOTO BY AMBROSE MUSASIZI 

By WILSON KUTAMBA

Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Ssekikubo and a section of livestock farmers in Sembabule District have given government one week ultimatum to carry out mass vaccination against Foot –and –Mouth Disease (FMD) in the area threatening to stage a demonstration.
Sembabule District, like many other cattle corridor districts has been under quarantine since last year, something that has crippled the livelihoods of residents in the district who are predominantly cattle keepers.

According to Mr Ssekikubo, State Minister for Animal Husbandry, Mr Bright Rwamirama on January 16 promised livestock farmers in the district that government would vaccinate their animals in two weeks but this is yet to be done.
“The two weeks promised by the Minister have already elapsed and there is nothing like vaccination against FMD in the district. The information we are getting is that the ministry is still in the process of procuring the vaccines. Why did the minister lie to us if he knew the vaccines were not available?” he asked during an interview on Monday.

Mr Ssekikubo revealed that some government officials and highly connected individuals have continued to engage in cattle trade despite the imposed quarantine in the area.
Mr Ezekiel Gumisiriza, the chairperson Kabukongote Parish Malongo Sub County Sembabule District told Daily Monitor that many residents have failed to take their children to school this term due to lack of money for school fees.
“It’s two weeks now since the new school term opened but some of us are still stranded with our children because we have nowhere to sell our cows and get money,” he said.

During his visit to Sembabule District last month, Mr Rwamirama, said FMD was still a real threat in the district and the cattle quarantine would only be lifted after carrying out ring vaccination in the affected areas. Ring vaccination is a strategy to reduce the spread of a disease by vaccinating only animals which are most likely to be infected.
According to Mr Rwamirama , some key benchmarks for fully lifting FMD quarantine have to be fulfilled , and these include ;the district giving the date when the last case of FMD was registered , level of enforcement of compliance for enforcement of the ban on the movement of animals and other dairy products and assessment of the level of vaccination compared to the number of animals in the district.

Meanwhile, Mr Ssekikubo is Tuesday expected to appear at Masaka Magistrates Court on charges related to mobilising residents to oppose the imposed quarantine and other charges including; unlawful possession of fire arms, engaging in acts calculated to cause death and inciting violence, and causing physical injuries to voters. The legislator is also accused of engaging in acts of destruction of National Resistance Movement (NRM) property, obstructing Mr Stephen Okwi Okedi, the Sembabule District Police commander, and his junior, Mr Idi Kigenyi, who were on duty. The offences were reportedly committed during the ruling NRM party primaries on August 02, 2010 when Mr Ssekikubo was contesting against Mr Patrick Nkalubo.

editorial@ug.nationmedia.com

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