Uganda police on the spot for escorting uninspected cattle

Uganda police on the spot for escorting uninspected cattle
Ministry of Agriculture Animal Check Point at Rakai-Kyotera junction, but cattle keepers argue that many uninspected animals bypass such points and end up on market

Police officers at Mutukula border in Kyotera district have come under fire from local authorities for allegedly aiding the movement of uninspected livestock.

In February this year, the Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Ministry lifted the cattle movement quarantine in some of the districts that had been affected by Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), for close to three years.

The ministry also issued strict instructions directing that all livestock being moved in the district be inspected thoroughly for the highly contagious FMD to avert a similar outbreak.

However, herdsmen and local leaders in Mutukula and Kakuuto Sub Counties in Kyotera district are accusing police personnel of violating the guidelines by shielding those transporting uninspected animals to markets.

Mutukula and Kakuuto Sub Counties have four known cattle loading sites. Herdsmen claim that some unscrupulous livestock dealers are sneaking in uninspected animals from Tanzania, some of which could even be infected.

James Kabwiga, one of the herdsmen in Koza village in Kyebisagazi parish, says some cows are sneaked into Uganda from Tanzania through the porous borders especially at night before they are loaded on trucks without being inspected.

He says they are afraid that these animals could already be infected because there is no certainty that were vaccinated.

Stephen Ssebunya, the Kakuuto Sub County LC III Chairperson, says they have registered similar reports but their efforts to fight the habit are frustrated by security personnel who scare away village council leaders and concerned cattle keepers.

He says they are afraid that the area may suffer another outbreak like the case was in the recent.

Lameck Kigozi, the Greater Masaka Region Police Commander, says they are still treating the accusation as rumors.

He asked the community formally present them to allow Police authorities take appropriate action.

Dr. Godfrey Kimbugwe, the Kyotera District Veterinary Officer, says their field teams are closely following the reports and will tighten their systems to address the problem once identified.

He however, says some of the suspicious animals could be for Ugandans who had crossed to Tanzania in search of pasture and waters.