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West Nile Tobacco Farmers Protest Delayed Payment of UGX 9.7 Billion

Bayo, who is demanding Shillings 4.5m for the tobacco leaf he supplied to the company, said it is unfortunate that the government is only talking about the farmers in Bunyoro region leaving them out.
An unidentified disabled Tobacco Farmer displaying a protest placard infront of Continental Tobacco manager Peter Waigera at Wandi.

Audio 4

More than 100 members of West Nile Cooperative Union Limited have staged a peaceful procession in Wandi-Terego district protesting the delayed payment by Continental Tobacco Company.  

The affected are part of 1500 other farmers are demanding more than Shilling 9.7billion from Continental Tobacco Company since 2018. Carrying placards with different messages, the protesters forced their way through the gate of West Nile Cooperative Union Limited and stormed the offices of Continental Tobacco Company.       

//Cue in: “We need our money      

Cue out:…we are vulnerable,”//       

Luiji Bayo, one of the affected farmers, said that they have waited for so long, which forced them to protest and compel the government to act on Continental Tobacco Company.

Bayo, who is demanding Shillings 4.5m for the tobacco leaf he supplied to the company, said it is unfortunate that the government is only talking about the farmers in Bunyoro region leaving them out.     

“All this time no one is thinking about us yet we are suffering. I lost my son recently, and I was forced to borrow money for his funeral. Now people are hard on me yet Continental Tobacco Company is holding my money. I want the government to force them to pay me now,” Bayo said. 

Justo Ezati, another farmer and leader of the aggrieved tobacco farmers, said that it has become hard for him to pay fees for his children because the company owes him Shillings 22million. //Cue in: “These farmers are very    

Cue out:…happy with continental,”//    

Magdalena Ozuru, a widow who is taking care of her 9 children, said that Continental Tobacco Company has made life very hard for her since 2018 she supplied them tobacco leaf. 

She is demanding Shillings 1.4 Million from Continental Tobacco Company and wants President, Yoweri Museveni to intervene and have them paid. Richard Andama, another Tobacco farmer, says that they have lost hope in West Nile Cooperative Union Limited because the Union officials are not fighting for their rights.

//Cue in: “There is no structural.....     

Cue out:…we need new structure,”//     

Peter Waigera, the West Nile Area Manager for Continental Tobacco Company apologized to the farmers for the delayed payment, which he blamed on lack of business.  

//Cue in: “First of all, I would like to apologize...    

  

Cue out:....we can pay all of you sooner,”//     

It took the Company Manager more than an hour to convince the angry Tobacco farmers to calm down, saying they will pay them before the end of the year.

Some of the farmers threatened to seek legal redress should the company fail to keep its promise to pay them.