The mayor of Kayonza district, Jean Claude Murenzi has told IGIHE that the cows will be auctioned on Friday 25th July 2019.
“There are 158 cows impounded in the previous two weeks. Everyone is welcome to buy cows. It is done for the first time since the advisory committee took the decision,” he said.
Consultations from three districts in the neighborhood of the barracks including Nyagatare, Gatsibo, and Kayonza held last year, came up with the decision of impounding cattle grazing in the precincts of Gabiro military barracks, auction them and keep the money in public coffers.
The decision resulted in a reduced number of herdsmen encroaching onto the barracks.
Recently, a pastoralist from Gatsibo district, Safari Steven, told the Minister of Local Government, Prof. Shyaka Anastase (who was on citizens’ outreach program in the area) that his 50 cows were impounded when the cow keeper grazed them in the restricted land against his will.
He pleaded to have his cows back saying it was the first time but Minister Shyaka said that he cannot change the decision taken by advisory committees from three districts.
He proposed tougher punishments to herders that fail to respect regulations.
“Stringent measures are meant to deter anyone intending to commit a crime. Some pastoralists graze 10 or 20 cows which are impounded and auctioned. Residents help them in restocking, surpassing numbers held before, but still, the same culprits encroach the barracks grassland again. We want to put a stop to such repeated offenses,” he said.
“We don’t want to cease your cows for auctioning again and pay fines. You can sell one or five cows if you have 50 to feed the rest other than taking the risk of encroaching the military barracks,” added Minister Shyaka.
He revealed that those who donate fined pastoralists will be punished too.
The Minister said apart from intruding into the restricted area, grazing cattle in the camp would spread Rift Valley Fever (RVF) among cows in the area.
So far a total of 831 cows from 35 pastoralists were impounded from the barracks land since the decision was taken.
Of these impounded cows, 493 are from Gatsibo district belonging to 18 residents and were auctioned, 180 cows from 13 pastoralists are from Nyagatare district while 158 cows belonging to 4 residents of Kayonza district will be auctioned on Friday.