Kampala — A section of MPs across the political divide yesterday criticised President Museveni for rejecting the Sugar Bill that was recently passed by Parliament.
Addressing the NRM Parliamentary Caucus retreat at Kyankwanzi on Friday, Mr Museveni said he refused to sign the proposed Sugar Bill in order to protect the sugar sector.
"The way you are behaving, you are antagonising our old sugar people and I don't know the relationship you have with small sugar people," the President said.
He suspects some MPs "have got a suspicious relationship with the small sugar people" and they were sabotaging his plan.
The plan, Mr Museveni said, was to convince 'the big sugar people' including Madhvani of Kakira Sugar, to refine some of their sugar to be used in pharmaceutical industry. Sugar is used as a sweeteners in pharmaceuticals and in the production of tablets.
But Bugabula South MP Maurice Kibalya (NRM), Butambala County's Muhammed Muwanga Kivumbi (DP), and Bujumbura County MP Fred Tiryamuhweza (FDC), who is also the Trade shadow minister, told reporters at Parliament that the President's decision was on purely personal grounds.
The three MPs have vowed to maintain their position on the Bill which was passed last year in which they outlawed the zoning of sugarcane markets.
Explaining what Parliament decision was, Mr Turyamuhweza said: "We wanted to avoid monopoly, protectionism so that market forces can play out, the Bill in its state is pro-people and we want to side with our people."
Mr Kibalya reminded the President that for many years, the manufacturers have balanced books on the backs of the poor farmers and implored him to reconsider signing the Bill into law.
The Sugar Bill is expected to be returned to Parliament to address Mr Museveni's concerns.