Communities neighbouring Queen Elizabeth National Park are
demanding for compensation their property damaged by wild animals.
Last year, President Museveni assented to the Wildlife Act 2019. According
to the Act, compensation will be given to a person who suffers bodily injury or
is killed or suffers damage of his or her property by wild animals. This will
be effected when the person’s legal representative submits a claim to the
wildlife compensation verification committee.
The committee shall verify a claim and submit it to the board together
with its recommendation.
Hakim Kimbogwe, the Rutooke Farmers’ Cooperative chairperson who
lost over 10 acres of maize to elephants last season says the animals have destructed
many farmlands affecting their income.
Kimbogwe wants UWA and government to expedite compensation.
//Cue in Gov’t etwale obujunanizibwa…
Cue out: ...haija kubaho kimu.”//
Jackson Bwabasaija, a resident of Rutooke village indicates that failure
by government to fully operationalize the law means, it has less commitment to
compensate persons that are affected by the wildlife animals.
//Cue in: “Gov’t tekuganya hali…
Cue out:… hanyima sengenge ehwe.”//
John Kyaligonza, whose tomato garden was destroyed, argues that
UWA has been slow to push for implementation of the new law.
Kate Nanyonjo Kate a mother of five says that she is worried on
how she will pay back her loan after her 2-acres of cotton in Rutooke were
destroyed by elephants last month.
She notes that with no form of compensation, she will be forced to
sell off some her household items to clear the debt.
//Cue in: “Mudwaliro Nzudeyo nawe...
Cue out: …nebirema bwe bityo.”//
Patrick Bushendunchi, a lawyer working with Queen Elizabeth
National Park says that the Minister of Tourism and the UWA board have not yet
come out with the regulations to guide on compensation.
Bushendunchi says the compensation clause requires the presence of
the wildlife verification committee which has not been in place at the moment.
//Cue in: “But it is true…
Cue out: …have not been identified.”//
Pontious Nzuma, the Chief Warden Queen Elizabeth National Park,
says that they are erecting an electric fencing project across the national
park. The fencing will run nearly 21km from Kasese to Kikorongo.