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
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
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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
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.
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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.
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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.
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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