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Tour Operators, NFA Oppose Kalangala Forest Land Degazzettment

The Chairperson Ssese Islands Tourism Development Association, Joyce Kikomeko opposes the degazettment of the forest reserve since it preserves many tourism sites including the Henry Stanley and John Speke sites.
Part of the Lutoboka Forest reserve land where government constructed a docking pier and a fishing village

Audio 5

Tour operators in Kalangala District have expressed reservations on the proposed degazettment of Lutoboka central forest reserve. In 2012, Kalangala District requested Ministry of Water and Environment to degazette Lutoboka Central forest reserve so as to create more space for tourism development.

They argued that the forest was hindering the expansion of Kalangala town council. Lutoboka fishing village, beaches and the MV Kalangala docking pier have already encroached on the central forest reserve. The 9th Parliament approved degazetting 14 forest reserves in the urban council to pave way for development.

Kalangala's argument for the degazettment is to facelift Lutoboka bay, the custodian of most tourism sites in the district. The forest according to the district chairperson, Willy Lugoloobi would be exchanged for a bigger portion of land on Bunyama Island.

He says the portion available for exchange with NFA land is 40 hectares bigger. The district wants 173 hectares of Lutoboka Central Forest Reserve degazetted. 

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However, Thomson Ouma, the chairperson Ssese Tour Guides Association, says although degazetting the forest is important, the land might end up with land grabbers. He also indicated that the forest reserve is still important for tourism since many guides take people through it for nature and forest walks. 

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The Chairperson Ssese Islands Tourism Development Association, Joyce Kikomeko opposes the degazettment of the forest reserve since it preserves many tourism sites including the Henry Stanley and John Speke sites. 

The National Forestry Authority - NFA Spokesperson, Aisha Alibahi says well as the process to the degazette forests reserve is handled by the Ministry of Environment and Parliament of Uganda, NFA seeks to protect all forests in Uganda.

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The Environment Minister, Sam Cheptoris told URN that government has completed consultations into the degazettment process and will soon present its findings to cabinet and parliament. 

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