Local leaders in Mpatta Sub County in Mukono district have raised concern over a group of people clearing part
of the land belonging to Kifungwe central forest reserve without their consent.
The land measuring about 40
acres is part of the 200 acres under the National
Forestry Authority-NFA. It has been idle for some years following the depletion of the forest cover resulting from illegal charcoal burning and lumbering. More
than 100 residents from Sozi and Bugigi villages have been
using the contested land to grow food
crops such as banana, cassava, potatoes, cabbages, yams, maize and beans.
However, local leaders say
a group of unidentified youths have since pitched camp on the land purportedly
to plant trees. The leaders say that the youths who are armed with machetes, hoes
and clubs have become a security threat because they are also clearing crop
gardens belonging to residents.
the Bugigi LC I chairperson, says that the youths have declined to reveal the
identities of their superiors or provide their contacts. He says that the group
first pretended to be interested in planting trees, but they are instead
clearing land to plant ginger, tomatoes and maize.
//Cue in: “Lukyabukya nolaba...
Cue out: ...byasanyizidwawo,”//
Amos Wambede, a local councillor in Sozi village, says the decision of the group to slash resident’s
crops is likely to fuel food theft.
//Cue in: “Twali lumu ku...
Cue out: ...byebibira,”//
Florence Nanfuka, a resident of Bugigi village, whose husband is disabled following a motor
accident, says that she teamed up with her three
children to grow more crops to get
school fees and other requirements but they have all been destroyed.
//Cue in: “Natuuse munimiro...
Cue out: ...bakasenzewo,”//
Julius Kabugo, another resident says they
have severally tried
convincing NFA to involve them in the process of restoring the forest by
planting trees while using the land for cultivation in vain. He, however,
says that they were surprised to see non-residents taking up the land.
Jacob Kulunya, the Mpatta Sub County LC 3 Vice Chairperson accuses NFA of contracting people with bad intentions of destroying
the forest. He says that NFA issues licenses to developers to plant trees but they instead resort to
//Cue in: “Kubanga mwalimu...
Cue out: ...abekyalo,”//
Aisha Alibahi, the NFA Spokesperson says that the forestry land in Mpatta was allocated to private developers to grow
trees. She says those complaining about
the destruction of there are encroachers.