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International activists tour Mabira Forest

By Vision Reporter

Added 15th October 2007 03:00 AM

INTERNATIONAL conservationists have visited Mabira Forest and supported the campaign against de-gazetting it.

INTERNATIONAL conservationists have visited Mabira Forest and supported the campaign against de-gazetting it.

By Gerald Tenywa

INTERNATIONAL conservationists have visited Mabira Forest and supported the campaign against de-gazetting it.

The conservationists, from the World Wildlife Fund for Nature led by David Duli, also received a lecture by Leo Twinomuhangi, the manager of the forest reserve.
“We have been impressed by the advocacy campaign to save Mabira,’’ said John Salehe, a member of the group.

“It was a successful campaign, which should be expanded elsewhere.’’

Salehe is the leader of the Eco-region for Coastal Forests in Tanzania.

Other members of the group were Hugel Bruno of the WWF based in Goma in the DRCongo, David Maina of the East African Regional Programme of WWF based in Nairobi and Robert Ndetei, the coordinator of the River Malewa Conservation Project.

Duli said the forest is an important catchment area for Lake Victoria and Kyoga and the Nile and Ssezibwa rivers.

“Mabira is important in East Africa since the other countries also face similar challenges. It was important for us to come and learn from the experiences of the managers of the forest,’’ he said.

Twinomuhangi said the media played a leading role in creating awareness about the importance of Mabira.

“Without the media and particularly The New Vision journalists who camped in this forest and told the World the truth, it would not have been saved.’’

The Government has been engaged in running battles with advocacy groups opposed to the destruction of Mabira.

It appointed a third inter-ministerial committee in May to review a proposal of expanding sugarcane cultivation into the forest by the Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited (SCOUL).

This was after a demonstration against the forest give-away turned violent and three people, including an Asian, were killed.

The new committee is yet to submit a report to Cabinet. Two earlier reports by different committees had recommended that SCOUL increases the productivity of its land or seeks land elsewhere.

International activists tour Mabira Forest

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