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.