By Titus Kakembo
President Yoweri Museveni did not spare National Forest Authority (NFA) the barbs for their failure to protect the environment and re-crop the depleted reserves.
This was during the launch of the National Tree Planting campaign by the Youths Go Green organization at Mandela National Stadium, Namboole Stadium on Tuesday.
“I cannot believe we are losing 9200 hectares of forest every day,” said Museveni while summoning NFA spokesperson Gilbert Kadilo to the spotlight. “These youth are so ambitious to plant one million trees during this exercise. This implies 10,000 hectares re-cropped.”
“What have you done?” he asked in rhetoric. “Salvage our swamps and forests.”
In a repentant tone Museveni said after decades of mismanagement, government has been focusing on improving; the security, the infrastructure and availing electricity to rural and urban dwellers.
Museveni advised Ugandans to style up if they are to cop with the fast changing times.
“I told the Bagisu some time back to stop harvesting malewa (Bambo shoots) from Mount Elgon. They declined and have since suffered fatalities that could have been avoided,” The President said.
He said swamps in Budaka, Ntungamo and Kasese are being encroached on by rice farmers who deny the earth a breather.
“The price paid is national,” stressed Museveni. “You reap what you sow - goes the old adage.”
More than 70 Corporate organizations attended the function and planted trees along the Northern By Pass. Braving the sweltering noon heat, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) spokesperson, Jossy Muhangi, said conservation is the way forward for enlightened Ugandans.
“As birds are our latest tourism product, stressed Muhangi. “We need to conserve their habitat jealously. There are species that live in swamps, forests and mountains. By destroying their habitat we are killing our global attraction of 1062 species.”
It was revealed that a bird watcher spends $5000 during his two weeks expedition in Uganda for two weeks.
“Uganda needs the national parks, the forests and swamps since they habitats for reptiles, birds and animals.”