By Saasi Marvin
I watched a video of Gen. Museveni calling Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga a liar because Mayiga criticised Government’s move to require #Coffee farmers to have licenses. M7 claims that coffee farmers will just be “registered” but not “licenced”. I have had the opportunity of studying the National Coffee Bill 2018, and I can confidently say that M7 is the LIAR in this national conversation. Here’s why:
Clause 26 (1) of the Bill provides that the National Coffee Authority ‘SHALL register all coffee farmers’ in Uganda. This literally means that unregistered farmers will be growing coffee ILLEGALLY. Clause 1 defines a coffee farmer as ‘a person who grows coffee for commercial purposes.’ How many people have really been growing it for domestic purposes?
Clause 26(2) says that a person can only be registered as a coffee farmer IF, among others, the Coffee Authority has evaluated the land on which the coffee is to be grown and found that land suitable for that purpose. In other words, no person will be allowed to grow coffee unless they have a licence to grow coffee on a particular piece of land.
Clauses 35(1)&(3) say that the Authority shall issue a ‘coffee buyers’ licence, and that no body shall buy coffee without that licence. This means that even if you may grow your coffee illegally without Government’s approval, no body will be allowed to buy it from you without that person having a licence. Having that licence, by extension, also means that a coffee buyer will be breaking the terms of the licence if they purchase coffee from you the ‘unregistered’ farmer.
Clause 54 (1)(j) makes it an offence for any person to deal in coffee “for internal marketing” [whatever that means] without a licence. If caught, he/she is liable to a fine of up to UGX 960,000/=, or 2 years in prison, or both. In short, dare grow coffee without Government’s approval and you’ll see fire .
The mistake Gen. M7 keeps making while addressing the nation is that he imagines he is addressing the docile, unthinking and unquestioning lot that his cabinet is. The earlier he realises we’re not in 1986 anymore, the better for him. Liar. Gambler. Thief!