President Yoweri Museveni has warned Uganda Wildlife Authority and National Forest Authority officials against harassing and destroying people’s property through evictions.
President Museveni was speaking to the officials from NEMA, UWA, NFA, Ministry of Water and Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, and Office of the Prime Minister at his home in Rwakitura on Wednesday.
Several people have been evicted from prohibited areas especially those living illegally in parks or NFA reserves. The president said that instead of carrying out harsh eviction exercises, they should intensify sensitize programmes 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,” Museveni said.
Museveni urged leaders to sensitize and explain to the population living near or in the Uganda 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 favor. It is for survival. The population will fail to know that animals and forests are useful to human beings, for the good of the people. We will be remembered for what type of leadership we give our people. Don’t allow people to destroy catchment areas,” he said.
Leaders from Karamoja sub-region and members of the multi-disciplinary technical team were yesterday presenting their report at his home in Rwakitura, Kirihura district. The task of the team was to analyze land use rationalization between natural recourses 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.
The First Lady who is also the Minister for Karamoja Affairs Mrs. Janet Museveni assured the officials that 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.
The meeting was attended by the Minister of State for Karamoja Affairs Ms. Oundo Nekessa, Daudi Migereko of Lands,Housing and Urban Development, Maria Mutagambwa of Tourism and Wild Life, Adolf Mwesigye of Local Government, Bright Rwamirama for Animal Industry, all the MPs, RDCs and LC 5 Chairpersons from Karamoja sub-region.