Five people arrested for smuggling Tanzanian cattle into Uganda

Five people arrested for smuggling Tanzanian cattle into Uganda
Traders load cattle destined for Kenya. PHOTO BY GEORGE MURON

George William Ssenkubuge, the assistant Veterinary Officer for Rakai district in charge of Kabanda Sub County, has been arrested for allegedly conniving to sneak Tanzanian cattle into Uganda.

Ssenkubuge was arrested alongside four other people following a security operation on the unauthorized movement of animals in the districts of Kyotera and Rakai on Monday.

The others are cattle dealers identified as David Kyomuhairwe, Wilson Namara, Claver Manavule, and Nathan Katende Sserunjogi, the chairperson of Kamuli village in Kibanda Sub-county, Rakai district.

Ssenkubuge is accused of conniving with Katende and other chairpersons of villages located along the Uganda-Tanzanian porous border points to stealthily sneak Tanzanian cattle into Uganda without following due inspection procedures.

Greater Masaka Deputy Regional Police Commander Lameck Kigozi says they have also seized five trucks of cattle allegedly smuggled from Tanzania with suspicious movement permits.

According to Kigozi, their intelligence established that the veterinary officer has been fraudulently issuing cattle movement permits to the traders after bribing village council chairpersons to claim that they are bought from their localities.

The arrest comes shortly after the Ministry of Agriculture lifted the cattle movement quarantine in different parts of the country that had been struck by Foot and Mouth Disease.

The ministry accordingly issued regulations to veterinary officers to strictly inspect all animals for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD), before they are issued with movement permits as a way of averting similar outbreaks.

But police argue that Ssenkubuge has been conniving with village council chairperson and traders to bypass the system.


READ: Uganda police on the spot for escorting uninspected cattle


This arrest has also followed similar reports by Stephen Ssebunya, the Mutukula Town Council chairperson in which he complained to Police the continues movement on uninspected cattle in the area.

However, the arrest has sparked off protests from other cattle traders who accuse police of using operations to selfishly harass and frustrate their business.

These have now sought the intervention of Kakuuto county Member of Parliament Christopher Kalemba and his Rakai district counterpart Juliet Ssuubi to ask the Ministry of Agriculture to reign over the situation and have their contemporaries released.

John Kalema, one of the aggrieved cattle traders alleges that some Ugandan farmers had moved with their cattle into Tanzania in search for pasture and water, wondering why they are being restricted from selling their livestock yet they had been vaccinated back home.