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Ministry of Lands to Reopen Boundaries on Disputed Land in Kasese

Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA and residents of Kahendero have been embroiled in a row over land measuring over 9,000 acres neighbouring Queen Elizabeth National Park. In May residents accused UWA of demolishing their structures to take over their land.
Ministry of Lands has okayed the process of opening boundaries between Queen Elizabeth and Kahendero Sanctuary

Audio 4

The Ministry of Lands has started reopening boundaries on a disputed piece of land in Muhokya Sub County, Kasese District.

Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA and residents of Kahendero have been embroiled in a row over land measuring over 9,000 acres neighbouring Queen Elizabeth National Park. In May residents accused UWA of demolishing their structures to take over their land.

The boundary re-opening activities kicked off on Tuesday with a meeting held at Muhokya Sub County Headquarters.

Last month, Vincent B Byendaimira, the Permanent Secretary constituted a joint technical committee to reopen the boundaries.  The committee comprises surveyors from the lands ministry, officials from UWA, local leaders and members of the community.

According to the Lands Ministry, the re-opening exercise is meant to verify the current boundary pillars placed by Geomaps and ascertain whether they are in the correct position as per the cadastral maps from the Surveys and Mapping department.

Ezuma Pontious, the chief warden at Queen Elizabeth says re-opening of boundaries is likely to end human-wildlife conflicts.

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Hakim Kimbugwe a resident of Kahendero says that he is happy that the community has been involved in the exercise. He adds that they earlier rejected survey reports because the community was not involved.

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Juma Alube, the LCI Kahendero Village said they have welcomed the resolution to end the dispute that has dragged on since 2003. Alube also wants UWA to compensate families whose houses were demolished last year. 

The Kasese District chairperson Eliphaz Muhindi says the prolonged human-wildlife conflicts have affected the developments of communities neighbouring the park.

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David Mugara head of Governance and policy at Kabarole Resource Centre-KRC a local NGO that has been mediating between UWA and the community, says that opening of boundaries will give a ray of hope and its incumbent upon the two parties to agree on the outcome of the exercise.

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