Uganda: Butchers Reject Order to Move to Shs65m Abattoir

Meat sellers in Buikwe District have defied orders by the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) to quit a 20-year-old slaughter house for a new one government built at Shs65m.

Mr Abubaker Kakaire, the officer in-charge of cattle slaughtering, told Saturday Monitor yesterday that Njeru Municipal Council authorities are to be blamed for the butchers shunning the government facility for two years now.

"Instead, they should assist us to improve on what we are comfortable with other than forcing us to relocate to a place where some services are not available," Mr Kakaire said.

He added on average, they pay Shs3,000 to council daily, and between five to 10 cows and goats are slaughtered every day.

The new abattoir

In 2019, the government constructed an abattoir for Njeru municipality at a cost of Shs65m, which was allegedly done without consulting the butchers as the principal beneficiaries, who would later allege that it was poorly constructed.

Ms Jane Frances Kagayi, the Buikwe RDC, during a routine inspection of government projects at last weekend, directed Njeru officials to ban all slaughtering places and force the meat sellers to use the one that was constructed by the government.

"This is an unhealthy place for slaughtering animals; let the council use the law to ensure all animals are slaughtered in one place where health and veterinary officers can inspect the meat to determine whether it is safe for consumption," she said.

However, the meat sellers say the facility is 'far' as it is located at Bulyankuyege, Nyenga Division, yet it was meant to cater for the three divisions of Nyenga, Wakisi and Njeru Central in Njeru Municipality.

Mr Abdallah Bogere, the chairperson of Njeru Butchers and Cattle Traders' Association, said they are in the process of acquiring land to construct their own abattoir because the two divisions are far away and cannot easily access the government facility.

"Even if council improves the poorly-constructed abattoir, it will not favour the majority of the meat sellers because there will be an increase in the price of meat to recover transport costs, which buyers will not accept, hence our business will die," Mr Bogere said.

He warned the council against undertaking developments in an area without consulting the beneficiaries.

The old abattoir

Mr John Kiwanuka, the veterinary officer at Njeru Municipal Council, said the old abattoir lacks some basic amenities.

But he said they are working on them to improve the standard of the old abattoir.

Mr Philip Sserunjogi, the principal health officer of Njeru Municipal Council, said their effort to enforce the law and see butchers vacate the sub-standard abattoirs is being challenged by politicians, especially the councillors who are protecting their voters.

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