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Cooperative fight over assets Spilled into public view

Enock Rusibika, the chairman and his co-executive leaders of Rubaya Cooperative Society Ltd, are battling very damaging accusations of selling the cooperative’s truck registration number UAJ 9791W in March without consulting members.

Speaking during a crisis members meeting convened last Friday, Godfrey Katebarirwe, the head of the society, said the nine-member executive committee headed by chairman Rusibika sold the lorry.

The angry members want the lorry back.

Katebarirwe said the chairman and his colleagues need to explain how they sold the truck, which was bought specifically to transport farmers’ milk from the farm to their dairy cooler in Rubaya Sub County in the western district of Mbarara.

“You remember how we suffered before procuring that truck. We bought that truck at about Shs 20 million but surprisingly I heard that they sold it for only Shs 7 million. If that is the case where is that money and why were we not informed,” Katebarirwe said.

He said the dairy society has had a leadership vacuum for the last six years after some founding members died.

“When most of our founding members died there were misunderstandings within the society, which led to its collapse. It is no longer active. When leaders realized the collapse they took advantage and started stealing its property,” Katebarirwe said.

Some of its assets include; two acres of land, a milk cooler, over 150 milk cans, and rentals. Katebarirwe said the society has been dormant for the last four years.

Constance Begiza, another member demanded to know the processes followed in selling the milk truck.

“Before selling our car they would have first called a meeting then we agree whether to sell or not instead of deciding amongst themselves without consulting us,” Begiza said.

“We were overthrown, we don’t even know how much they rent our land and worst of all now they sell our lorry without our permission. But we were manipulated during a time when an outsider came in to become our chairman,” she added.

“As concerned members, we want to know how our property was mismanaged and how we can recover it. As authorized members, we are asking where is our lorry? We want to first sort out this then other issues can come later,” Herbert Rwanchwende said.

“When you join a society and members entrust you with the leadership it doesn’t mean it belongs to you to start making decisions that go against members,” Eric Tihwayo said.

The members elected a temporary executive committee to follow up on the matter.

They later lodged a complaint of theft of vehicle Reg. N0. UAJ 9791W at Rubaya police post under SD 09/26/03/2021.

Interviewed for confirmation, Rwizi region police spokesperson, Samson Kasasira said the case has been filed and serious investigations are ongoing.

Interviewed for a comment, Enock Rutsibika, the chairman, said; “We had our truck, which had mechanical problems and was not moving for the last four years. Equally the society has also been dormant for the last four years. Members kept asking why we don’t sell off the truck and put the money on a fixed account, which we eventually did instead of remaining with an abandoned vehicle at police where it has been parked for many years.” 

The said vehicle had an engine problem, which forced the society to park it at Rubaya police post after members failed to raise funds to repair it, Rutsibika said.

The chairman confirmed that the executive resolved to sell off the truck at Shs 7 million and deposited the money on the dairy’s account.

“We wouldn’t wait for the damaged truck to get completely written off as we looked on,” he said.

David Katanaka, the society’s long-time treasurer, said most complainants are not fully registered members of Rubaya Dairy Co-op Society Ltd.

“I want to tell you that Katebarirwe and his gang are not fully registered members. They have never paid their membership fee. And now I am wondering how a person who is not a member becomes a rightful complainant of the society,” Katanaka said.

He called for peace and harmony and urged members to restore the society to its original glory of producing 100 litres of milk per day.

“We decided to turn that vehicle into money in the bank such that it can help us when we revamp our society. We also wanted to call the general meeting and explain to our members but Katebarirwe started damaging our reputations,” Katanaka said.

“We want people to understand that their assets are still secure,” he added

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