Speaking at the meeting, Kabale LC V Chairperson Patrick Besigye Keihwa, who also doubled as steering committee chairperson for the research noted that ever since the government evicted the Batwa from Bwindi, Mgahinga and Echuya national forests, it has done nothing to resettle them.
leaders in Kigezi region have implored the government to resettle the Batwa
following their eviction from national parks in the 1990s. The leaders were
speaking during the release of a study by Mbarara University of Science and Technology-MUST
dubbed “Understanding the Marginalized Batwa
people of South Western Uganda” at Kanungu social center.
researcher, Dr. Viola Nilah Nyakato, said the study was aimed at understanding
the lives of the Batwa and ways of improving their livelihoods.
Speaking at the
meeting, Kabale LC V Chairperson Patrick Besigye Keihwa, who also doubled as steering
committee chairperson for the research noted that ever since the government
evicted the Batwa from Bwindi, Mgahinga and Echuya national forests, it has
done nothing to resettle them.
He called upon
the government to compensate the Batwa and resettle them in areas near the
forest since it is their lifestyle.
//Cue In: “Twahira…..
The Kisoro District LC V Chairperson,
Abel Bizimana supported the proposal. He accused the government of joining forces
with the indigenous population to make the lives of the Batwa difficult by
denying them the basic necessities of life.
On his part,
the Kanungu District LC Vice-chairperson Gard Byomuhangi said the government
ought to provide land to the Batwa, incorporate them into the Operation Wealth Creation
program and other government programs to improve their lives.
He, however, noted
the need to work on the change of the mindset of the Batwa if any progress is
to be made.
//Cue in: Ekizibu….
Cue Out:.. mutwa,”//
the Executive Director Batwa Development Organization, says that as Batwa, they
want representation in the local leadership structure. They also want to be
resettled near forests and get fertile land for agriculture.
Findings of the study show that80% of the Batwa do not own land and live as squatters
or pieces of land provided by non-governmental organisations without any legal
The Batwa, also known as Twa people are pygmies. They are scattered in Kanungu,
Kisoro, Rubanda and Kabale districts. They were the original inhabitants of the
Bwindi forest where they are believed to have stayed for more than 300 years.