Uganda: VP Ssekandi's Rival Blocked From Distributing Coffee Seedlings

Kampala, Uganda — A rival of Vice President Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi has been blocked from distributing coffee seedlings to the electorates of Bukoto Central Constituency.

Godfrey Sseremba, who intends to contest against Ssekandi, was restrained by the police from supplying the seedlings to farmers in the area, on grounds that he was using the program to market his bid against the vice president.

According to residents of Biya Village in Kyesiiga Sub County, officers attached to the local sub-county Police Station intercepted and impounded the truck which was transporting the seedlings before arresting the driver.

Mike Ssegawa, one of the eyewitnesses says that arrest was allegedly orchestrated by Ssekandi's supporters led Mudashiru Bbaale, who doubles as the Kyesiiga sub-county speaker.

Sseremba says that the truck and seedlings were later released to him last week, but with instructions not to proceed with his program.

Sseremba, who also operates tree nursery bed at Bukeeri village in Kabonera Sub County, argues that his intervention was prompted by the demand in the community for quality, wondering why he is being blocked despite the public embracing the program.

Sseremba, however, indicates that he is not moved by the threats against the program. He says following the incident, the farmers have resorted to picking the seedlings by themselves from his nursery bed.

Abdu Kareem Waliggo and Mathias Kaweesi, some of the residents in Kyesiiga sub-county who were eager of benefiting from the seedlings are castigating the local authorities for selfishly blocking the program, which they say would relieve them of the poor quality supplies under the Operation Wealth Creation program.

But Bbaale argues that Sseremba did not meet the procedures before undertaking to roll out the program in the area.

He argues that coffee seedlings supplier failed to present certification documents for the Coffee Development Authority-UCDA which raised suspicion about the quality of his seedlings he was distributing.

Major Baker Matovu, the OWC coordinator in Bukoto Central Constituency has declined to comment on the matter and instead referred us to police.

Lameck Kigozi, the greater Masaka Regional Police spokesperson says he needed time to study the reports.

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