The Kampala Capital City Authority- KCCA technical wing has come under fire from city councilors for alleged failure to monitor and regulate the meat industry.
It comes only a few days after several butchers were picked up in an operation led by the KCCA Public Health Directorate, Uganda National Bureau of Statistics, National Drug Authority and Ministry of Agriculture for selling meat laced with formalin and hydrogen peroxide to the public.
Both chemicals are harmful to humans. Now, KCCA councilors argue that the fact that KCCA had to wait for the media to first report on the problem is indicative of the failure by technocrats to do their job.
On Thursday, Dr. Dickens Okello, the Acting KCCA Public Health Director, told council that nine people were picked in connection to the use of the harmful chemicals. He said two of the suspects pleaded guilty and paid fines of Shillings 100,000 each, adding that six others have also pleaded guilty and were due for sentencing.
However, the councilors noted with concern that KCCA has failed to supervise the meat industry. Kennedy Okello, the Nakawa Councilor, said it is the mandate of KCCA to regulate and supervise all food products sold in the city.
The KCCA Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago accused the authority of failing to enforce the Kampala City Council Meat Ordinance of 2006 that provides for the licensing, control and regulation of slaughterhouses and butcheries.
The ordinance mandates KCCA to license all butchers. It says the applicant must produce a certificate from a medical officer of health stating that the premises in respect of which the license is required meets the requirements such as availability of sufficient water and good sanitary condition of the building to prevent any contamination of the meat. The ordinance also stipulates that the building to be used as a butchery must have a “fly proof repository of a size and design approved by the Council, for the storage of any meat not required for immediate sale.”
However, Lukwago argued that the KCCA Public Health Directorate has not been implementing the ordinance. Okello told council that the use of harmful chemicals is being treated as a public health concern that requires serious intervention, saying it will not be business as usual.