NTUNGAMO. The leader of Boona Bageigahare Nyekundeire Group that is promoting onion growing in Kigezi and Ankole sub-regions, Ms Peace Rugambwa, has accused the Minister of State for Labour and Industrial Relations, Mr Herbert Kabafunzaki of sabotaging the project in Rukiga county in Kabale District.
Ms Rugambwa claimed on Friday that she had received threats on her life after she stopped Mr Kabafunzaki from owning the onion seeds project in order to access onion seeds under Operation Wealth Creation programme from the National Agricultural Advisory Services (Naads) secretariat.
Mr Kabafunzaki is also the Rukiga County MP.
“I have been promoting onion growing since 2006 and many farmers have had breakthroughs. But since I refused Mr Kabafunzaki’s attempt to own the project, he has tried to dismiss me from Rukiga and is trying to hurt my life too,” Ms Rugambwa said while addressing community members at Kayonza in Ntungamo District recently.
She added: “He wants to be the landlord of Rukiga, that everything that does not pass through him does not work.”
Ms Rugambwa also claimed that Mr Kabafunzaki had publicly declared that he would harm her and break her legs if she ever stepped in Rukiga again to distribute onions, and that she had twice escaped attempts on her life since their conflict emerged last year.
Ms Rugambwa wants Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda and President Museveni to prevail over the minister.
However, when contacted about the accusations, Mr Kabafunzaki said he has had no personal engagement or threatened Ms Rugambwa. He, however, accuses her of conning residents.
“She has been asking residents to pay Shs12,000 as membership fee to her organisation and that if someone doesn’t pay, he or she does not benefit from the onions supplied by government. To be realistic, more than 90 per cent of the people in Rukiga can’t afford that money, they are poor and vulnerable,” Mr Kabafunzaki told Daily Monitor on Saturday.
He said the onion seeds being distributed by Ms Rugambwa and her group should be free because they are supplied by government free of charge.
Onion growing is one of the most lucrative agricultural enterprises in Rukiga and Rushenyi counties in Kabale and Ntungamo districts, respectively. It is grown thrice a year, with high yields from even small pieces of land.