Bunyoro Women Seek Audience with Museveni over Bugoma Forest Giveaway

The women want the President to spare time when he campaigns in the region in two weeks, to explain why he has remained silent regarding the giveaway of the forest
Some of the women demanding Action against destruction of Bugoma Forest.Photo by Emmanuel Okello.

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Women in Bunyoro want to meet President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni over the giveaway of Bugoma Central Forest Reserve to Hoima sugar Limited for sugar cane growing.  

The women want the President to spare time when he campaigns in the region in two weeks, to explain why he has remained silent regarding the giveaway of the forest.  

Hoima Sugar Limited leased close to 22 square miles of the contested Bugoma Central forest reserve land from the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom for sugarcane growing for 99 years.

However, the National Environment Management Authority -NEMA found that 13 of the 22 square miles, unfit for a sugar plantation and recommended their preservation since it’s a wetland and forest reserve.   

As a result, NEMA allowed Hoima Sugar factory to cultivate sugarcane on the remaining 9.24 square miles covering the grassland, establish an urban center on 1.26 square miles, an eco-tourism centre on 1.97 square miles and restore 3.13 square miles of the forest reserve.  

They also recommended the preservation of another 0.156 hectares for the cultural site and 6.17 square miles as a natural forest.   

Ramurah Asasira a resident of Nyirongo village in Kikuube district says as women they are too much concerned that if the forest is destroyed, they will be greatly affected since it provides them with firewood, medicine among others and therefore they want the President to stop any illegal activities in the forest.

//cue in;”Message yange ni…

Cue out:…Kubaho Mulingo ki.”//

Peninah Ruhindi, a resident of Kigaaga in Buseruka sub-county in Hoima district says that the President should not consider the interest of investors who want to destroy nature that is critical during this time when the Albertine and the country at large will be undergoing production phase of the oil and gas.

//cue in;”Nka hura nsasire…

Cue out:…Kibira Kya Bugoma.”//

Oliver Tibaita from Hoima district says that the forest attracts rainfall that boosts agriculture in the region and therefore its destruction must strongly be condemned by all stakeholders including President Museveni.

//cue in;”Nkujumirira abo bona…

Cue out:…Kyatu Bugoma forest.”//  Jennifer Nakitende from National Association for women’s Action in Development-NAWAD says there is fear that oil and gas activities taking place in the Albertine Graben will increase climate change effects through increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and argues that forests such as Bugoma are needed to act as carbon sinks of the emissions to avoid or mitigate the negative impact of climate change.

//Cue in: “so many women…

Cue out: “…and everything.”//

Sostine Namanya, from National Association of Professional Environmentalists-NAPE, says Bugoma forest has a lot to offer to humanity, and therefore its destruction will negatively impact on the people settling adjacent to it especially the women.

//cue in: “Part of this…

Cue out:…from the forest.”//

The Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom has always maintained its position that the land that was leased to Hoima Sugar is not part of Bugoma forest but the Kingdom’s Ancestral land that is adjacent to the forest reserve.   

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