Police probe flower firms over poisoning, sexual harassment

Police spokesperson, Mr Andrew Kaweesi says convictions do not reflect the police institution as rotten. File photo

KAMPALA- Police have launched an inquiry into the operations of flower firms in Uganda due to rising cases of poisoning and alleged sexual harassment.

Mr Andrew Kaweesi, the Police spokesperson said all flower firms in the country are under probe because of workers’ outcry regarding alleged unfavourable working conditions.

“There have been a couple of complaints which we have not been following and we have now realised it is part of a bigger problem. Workers have complained of sexual harassment, forced labour and non-payment,” Mr Kaweesi said told journalists on Monday in Kampala.

Last week, over 80 workers at Royal Van Zanten flower firm in

80 workers poisoned at flower farm

Various workers at Royal Van Zanten flower farm are undergoing treatment over various health complications following alleged exposure to poisonous chemicals at their place of work.

after complained of various health complications following alleged exposure to poisonous chemicals at their place of work.

A source at the Special Investigations Unit intimated to Daily Monitor that the manager of Arizona Flower Firm in Wakiso District on Monday recorded a statement after nine of the firm’s workers were taken to hospital after suspected poisoning.

 “We are going to use these poison claims as a case study to investigate all those involved in the flower business. It seems there is a lot of mismanagement. We shall make a detailed inquiry,” Mr Kaweesi said.

This comes hours after women lawyers and trade unionists petitioned the Netherlands government over the allegedly poisoning of workers of Royal Van Zantel where total of 102 employees of the firm inhaled toxic chemicals.

“We call on the Dutch government to summon the firm [Royal Van Zantel] to account for it actions that has led to workers’ rights,” Ms Irene Ovonji, the executive director of the Federation of Uganda Women Lawyers (Fida), said.

Meanwhile, Mr Kaweesi said police are investigating numerous cases of kidnap. Citing a police constable who went missing in Entebbe last week, Mr Kaweesi said some people “intentionally go missing” due to personal challenges.

“Our officer was reported missing but the information we have shows he was scared of facing his wife who had learnt that he was planning to wed another woman,” Mr Kaweesi said.

He, however, said they are still looking for the officer adding that they cannot rule out suicide since he left behind a cheat telling his new lover that they would meet in heaven.

Mr Herbert Muhangi, the Flying Squad Commandant, two weeks ago revealed that cases of kidnap involving children and were soaring as a result of parents leaving children alone at home and permitting them to move alone on roads.

He said infidelity and business deals gone bad are the major reasons why adults are kidnapped.  

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