The move by the Kingdom has attracted negative sentiments from the public who say that the destruction of the forest which is a habitat for over 600 chimpanzees and migratory corridor for large mammals like elephants is dangerous to the country’s environment. The forest is a prime conservation and tourism destination.
The Prime Minister for the Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom, Andrew
Byakutaga has said that the land leased out to Hoima Sugar Limited is
not part of the 41,000 hectares of Bugoma Central Forest Reserve.
Byakutaga together with other Kingdom officials were
on Tuesday meeting eight European Union (EU) Ambassadors who are currently
on a joint mission in Western and Northern Uganda to assess and discuss
environmental conservation matters in the country.
Following their Monday interface with environmental
activists at Jungle Lodge at Bugoma Central Forest Reserve, the ambassadors led
by the EU Head of Delegation Ambassador Attilio Pacifici, interfaced with
Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom officials over the 21.54 square miles (5779 hectares)
leased to the Sugar Company to cultivate sugarcane. The lease period is 99
The move by the Kingdom has attracted negative sentiments from the public who say that the
destruction of the forest which is a habitat for over 600 chimpanzees and
migratory corridor for large mammals like elephants is dangerous to the
country’s environment. The forest is a prime conservation and tourism destination.
Attilio Pacifici, the EU Ambassador questioned whether
forests like Bugoma which are part of the Kingdom heritage should be part of
the future or need to be discarded.
“Investments should be blessings…they should not
become a liability or a curse. They should be bringing about a better way of
living. They should not be bringing about problems or misery. How do you strike
a balance out of these well-meant investments?” he asked. Pacifici appealed that the forest is reserved for the
benefit of the Kingdom and the country.
//Cue in; “is that really…
Cue out…little bit confused.”//
Rudi Veestraeten, the Belgian Ambassador also
emphasized the need for a balance between economic
development and conservation of natural resources.
//Cue in; “it is also…
Cue out…can work together.”//
Mathias Schauer, the Germany Ambassador equally
appealed to the Kingdom officials to take long-term decisions and not short
term development gains so that the forest is conserved. But Byakutaga said that statements made by
the ambassadors insinuated that the Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom is not interested in
conserving the forest.
He told the delegation that the land in question is
owned by the Kingdom and not part of the forest reserve. He said that the land
borders Bugoma forest and that the only grey question is on the boundary
between the forest and the land.
//Cue in; “and this particular…
Cue out…and the forest.”//
Byakutaga says that the Kingdom main issue is
establishing where the boundaries are since they are not interested in the
destruction of the forest.
The Minister of State for Environment, Beatrice Anywar on Monday said that next week, a group of officials from her Ministry and that of Ministry of Lands were going to embark on opening up boundaries of the forest. Ambassador Pacifici said that the EU delegation would
have a follow on the matter with further discussions regarding the forest