Olanya says that he has received a letter from the Ministry of Wildlife, Tourism and Antiquities indicating that they have received a directive from the President to allow the bridge works to continue.
The wildlife from the Kidepo Valley National Park strayed Wednesday and Thursday nights destroying the maize that was just ready for harvest. The destruction comes at a time when the region is struggling to cope with a threat of hunger and food insecurity where green belts such as Karenga, Kaabong, and parts of Kitido Nakapiripirit among others are the region’s food basket are also thrown into food loses due to prolonged drought and problem animal.
Now, after close to two months with the sanctuary under lock and key, the wildlife body has announced the reopening in a joint statement issued by the UWA Executive Director Sam Mwandah and Charles Joseph Roy, the Managing Director of Ziwa Rhino & Wildlife Ranches.
The two are locked in a land row over location of the site for district headquarters that is under construction in Kidepo Town Council. The site is allegedly situated inside part of the 956 square kilometres set aside as Karenga Community Wildlife Management Area, a protected area managed by Ateker Safari LTD, formerly known as Karamoja Safari LTD following an agreement with UWA.
The two bodies are locked up in a dispute over ownership of over 10 acres of land where the site for Karenga district headquarters is situated. UWA claims the land hosting the headquarters that are still under construction is a gazzeted area and part of Kidepo National Game Park. Late last year, UWA asked the district authorities to halt construction and demolish the structures but the district has remained adamant saying the land for district headquarters at Nakidiir, in Kidepo Parish belongs to the community.
The move follows a plea by State Minister for Mineral Development Sarah Opendi earlier in September, to the Parliamentary Commission to get rid of Marabou storks around the precincts of Parliament saying they pause a health threat to the MPs.
“Even someone who had planned to come say in November it might be very hard to do so because their economies have been largely affected. What this means is that things of tourism become secondary to them. The priority shifts to survival other than leisure,” Hangi said.
Pontious Nzuma, the Chief Warden Queen Elizabeth National Park, says they are set to continue with the work in a few days’ time. He says some sections will be erected to cross rivers and landscapes characterised by hard underlying rocks.
John Magunda, a fisherman in Buwooya sub county notes that the crocodiles hide under stones during the evening hours and often attack them forcing them to abandon their boats. He says the crocodiles do not only scare them from accessing the lake, but they also destroy their fishing nets.
Now, a security guard at the construction site says unidentified people carried the iron bars from the site on Monday and took them to Adjumani district. He explains that the men who were backed by armed personnel vowed to collect the remaining material and transfer it to Adjumani district.
Uganda Wildlife Authority on December 15, embarked on the eviction of over 780 people from 60 square km of Moru Alokwangat game reserve which straddles Abim, Kotido and Napak districts. The encroachers are reportedly from neighbouring Teso districts.