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Bunyoro County Chiefs Protest Giveaway of Bugoma Forest Reserve

The county chiefs are also questioning the circumstances under which 22 square miles of the forest reserve land was leased out for 99 years to Hoima sugar at only shs 3 billion.

Audio 5

Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom County chiefs are protesting the giveaway of Bugoma Central forest reserve to Hoima Sugar Limited. 

The county chiefs are also questioning the circumstances under which 22 square miles of the forest reserve land was leased out for 99 years to Hoima sugar at only 3 billion shillings.   

All the Eighteen County chiefs that represent Bunyoro Kitara subjects from the eight districts of Hoima, Buliisa, Masindi, Kibaale, Kagadi, Kiryandongo, Kakumiro and Kikuube say they will not allow anybody to destroy the forest reserve at the expense of sugar cane growing.

They have vowed to mobilize the Kingdom subjects to violently protest the giveaway of the forest reserve for sugarcane growing.  

Gerald Baleke, the County chief for Buhaguzi County in Kikuube district wants stringent action taken against all those individuals who illegally leased out the forest land.

//Cue in:” Habwokuba Obwire bunu… 

Cue out… Bugoma tikya temwa.:”//. 

Suleiman, Bwangirwa, the County chief for Buruli in Masindi district, says Bugoma forest is too crucial in attracting rainfall in the region and therefore its destruction could cause adverse climatic condition to the people of Bunyoro and Uganda at large. He challenges the Banyoro to stand firm and strongly oppose the giveaway of the forest reserve.      

 //cue out:” Okutema Bibira tikwe…  

Cue out:… ngu titwine njura.:”//.  

Mariko Balyesiima, the County chief for Bugahya in Hoima district says conservation of the forest reserve is paramount given its important role in protecting the Ecosystem. He wants all those few individuals who participated the giveaway agreement of the forest reserve singled out to face the wrath of the law.   

 //cue out:” Bugoma Forest nyowe…

Cue out:…Kyona Ki kareho.:”//.  

Pascal Kwesiga, representing Mparo division in Bunyoro Kitara Parliament [Orukurato] rallies all the Banyoro who think Bugoma forest is paramount to come on board to protest its giveaway.

//Cue in:” my position personally… 

Cue out:…current land use.:”//.    

Nyabongo Ochaki, the Member of Parliament for Kahoora division in Bunyoro Kitara parliament says there are some important cultural sites in the Forest reserve that need to be preserved.

//Cue in:” We should preserve… 

Cue out:…Birugireho twakubaire  nka:"//.     

 

Bugoma Central Forest Reserve, covering 410 square kilometres of a protected area, and a stretch of forest measuring 40 kilometres, is a tropical forest in Kikuube district, gazzeted in the 1930s and taken over by the National Forestry Authority in 2003.       

 

It is endowed with a high Biodiversity with 24 species of mammals, 465 species of trees, 359 species of birds, 289 species of butterflies and 130 species of moths. The mammals include monkeys, chimpanzees, buffaloes, Uganda Kobs and at times elephants.         

A 2012 Chimpanzee census discovered that 10 per cent of Uganda's Chimpanzee population was in Bugoma forest.        

     

Last month, the High Court in Masindi last month dismissed a move by the National Forestry Authority-NFA to block a planned takeover of the forest by Hoima Sugar Limited. The company intends to use up to 22 square miles of the Forest Reserve, for sugarcane growing.   

    

NFA had sued Omukama of Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom, Solomon Iguru Gafabusa, Hoima Sugar Limited and the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) for alleged encroachment and degradation of the forest reserve.

However High Court Judge Wilson Masalu Musene ruled that the land in question does not belong to NFA.            



 

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