President Yoweri Museveni has directed Uganda Wild life Authority (UWA) and those of National Forest Authority (NFA) officials who carry out eviction exercises to stop harassing and destroying the property of Ugandans, but to intensify sensitization and ask them to leave prohibited areas peacefully.
“Just talk to people, the burning of peoples’ manyattas and destroying of their property must stop. Anybody doing so will be held accountable,” he warned.
The President made the directive while meeting leaders from Karamoja sub-region and members of the multi-disciplinary technical team who were presenting their report at his home in Rwakitura Kirihura district.
The team, led by the Director of NUSAF 2, Dr. Robert Limlim, was constituted by the Minister of Karamoja Affairs, Janet Museveni and comprised of officials from NEMA, UWA, NFA, Ministry of Water and Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Members of Parliament and those from the Office of the Prime Minister.
The task of the team was to analyse land use rationalization between natural resources conservation, settlement and agricultural development in Karamoja sub-region, following an outcry by communities in the region of harsh eviction by UWA from game reserves and demands to government to de-gazette some land under the protected areas.
President Museveni, who commended the multi-disciplinary technical and political team for the job well done, further urged leaders to sensitize and explain to the population living near or in the game parks the importance of conservation, as animals and forests are useful to human beings.
“The first point is to guide our people. It is not just conserving animals and forests as if you are doing them a favour.
Mr. Museveni noted that the people of Karamoja sub-region were very lucky as they could, do agriculture and also benefit from tourism.
Earlier, the Minister for Karamoja Affairs, Janet Museveni noted that the peace and security the NRM government restored in the region, coupled with the drive to increase production for food security, led to the outward migration of communities to their previous homes or to new areas for agriculture.
She added that the general outcry from many communities in Karamoja on the activities of UWA especially in the PIAN-UPE game reserve, led to the constitution of Dr. Limlims’ team whose findings will help in the search of a lasting solution to the problem of rationalizing land use in Karamoja sub-region.
Leaders from Karamoja region accepted proposals and recommendations made by Dr. Limlims’ team except for the area of Loporokocho that requires further consultations in order to reach a win-win situation.
The recommendations mainly call for the expeditious rational distribution of land earlier de-gazetted in 2002, sensitization of the communities and containment of existing settlements inside the reserves and discouragement of further encroachment.
The meeting was attended by the Minister of State for Karamoja Affairs, Oundo Nekessa, Daudi Migereko (lands) Maria Mutagamba (tourism) Adolf Mwesige (local Government) Bright Rwamirama (agriculture0 area MPs, RDCs and LC 5 Chairpersons from Karamoja sub-region.
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