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Saturday, October 1, 2022

Opinion: Allan Tacca Missed a point on the Nile Perch Exportation issue by going personal

I read an article that The Sunday Monitor columnist Allan Tacca wrote.  Mr.Tacca went on a rant about the proposal to ban Nile perch consumption in Uganda. He blamed the president and tried to paint a picture that the president is the one who was behind the proposal. Allan also called Ugandans idiots and also made some sectarian remarks.

Tacca should have been informed that the people who made the proposal were exporters under the Uganda Fish Processors and Exporters Association. These are exporters and businessmen who are in the private sector, and not the government.

He should also be aware that the proposal he is so bitter about was withdrawn by the association.  In a statement read by Mr. Philip Borel De Bitche, the managing director of the Greenfields Uganda Limited, the association apologized for the statements made.

‘We would like to extend our sincere apologies to all stakeholders and the Ugandan public at large in respect to the comment to the media after our submission to the parliamentary committee,’’ part of the statement read.

It was a misunderstanding and was clarified that the ban was to be focused on overfishing of the species since it was almost extinct a few years ago.

Tacca’s article was misleading and he let his hate of the government cloud his judgment. Politicizing a proposal from the private sector and trying to shift the blame to the government is taking advantage of a bad situation and making it worse. It seems Mr. Tacca is trying to incite violence in the public but the senior columnist should be versed with the consequences of these acts.

While critiquing the government isn’t a crime, making baseless accusations is called libel and Mr. Tacca should be well aware of this. Implying that the president was behind the Nile perch ban proposal was at the very least ill informed and at the very worst libelous.

It also didn’t sit well with me when the columnist implied that Ugandans were idiots and docile. To try and reduce the nature of Ugandans to idiocy is in itself something to be wary about.

It’s true that we are a peace loving nation and that shouldn’t be weaponized to make us feel like we should fight about everything, let alone nonexistent proposals. Trying to take our peaceful nature and using it to incite acts of violence is a new form of low and shouldn’t be taken lightly.

The writer also tried to create a division between the people from Ankole and the rest of the country. He stated that the ‘ Nkore’ do not eat fish but the ‘rest of Uganda does’ which is in fact untrue because many people from Ankole enjoy fish and some people from different parts of the country do not eat it for different reasons.

As a social economist, what Mr. Tacca, should have concentrated on was the government policies that prevented the extinction of Nile perch in Uganda. In 2016, the fishing sector realized a decline in Nile perch due to illegal fishing. In 2005 Uganda had 36,61480 tons of fish which garnered $147,618.24 million but it reduced in 2016 to 10,476 tons reducing revenue to $58,334.99 million.

To prevent Nile perch extinction, President Museveni gave a directive to have the army patrol Lake Victoria and combat illegal fishing in 2017. This led to increased numbers of not only Nile perch but also tilapia in the lake. By 2020, the exported tons of fish had risen to 461,000. Today the fisheries sector contributes over $153 million thanks to the efforts of the president and the army.

The revenue that comes from the fisheries sector helps in social economic transformation. Roads and schools are constructed thanks to the 3% GDP contributed by the fishing industry in Uganda. The economic growth boosts the life of all Ugandans.

It should also be noted that the fishing industry employs over 1.5 million Ugandans, so if the government doesn’t put up policies to control illegal fishing, over 1.5 million Ugandans will be out of work.

The statements made by Mr. Tacca are not only dangerous but also detrimental to Uganda as a whole as they seek to cause division and disrupt the peace of the country.

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