By Jumah Nsubuga
The chief of defence forces Gen Katumba Wamala has dismissed allegations that army officers connive with some people and participate in trading immature fish.
Gen Wamala revealed this on Wednesday when he appeared before parliamentary committee on agriculture chaired by Kakuuto county MP Mathias Kasamba.
Gen Wamala confirmed to MPs that so many people are involved in illegal fishing while using names of top army officers. He said that there is no any army officer involved in the illegal fishing adding
that the army will never be part in the promotion of illegal fishing and trading immature fish.
He cited out Rwakataka who is participating in trading immature fish pretending that he is working for top army officers saying that no any army officer dealing with Rwakataka in this matter.
“I want to clear the air that we (UPDF) are not involved in illegal fishing. There are no orders from about to promote the illegal fishing and trading immature fish. We cannot promote this kind of activity.
Some people like Rwakataka and others use the names of army officers to intimidate enforcement officers at the fishing cites that they deal with army officers which is not true and we shall deal with them” He said
He further told MPs that the only way of stopping the trading of immature fish and preventing illegal fishing is to block all the exitpoints to fishing cites and stop the markets where they sale immature
“If we can manage to control of all exit points from the fishing cites, the trading of the immature fish will also stop” He said adding that even the markets where people sale immature fish must be blocked.
Meanwhile MPs appealed to Gen Wamala to deploy UPDF to stop the illegal fishing. He said that the issue of illegal fishing is not an area where military must intervene adding that military cannot stretch everywherehowever advised them to work together with relatives ministries to curb the illegal fishing.
The MPs also pinned Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) for conniving with people in illegal fishing by allowing the importation of poor illegal fishing nets to enter in the country. “URA because they want VAT, they allow poor quality nets from China which has contributed to illegal fishing” Said Yumbe district woman MP Huda Orelu.