Moroto District local government has halted plans by the National Forestry Authority-NFA to harvest the timber in Elipas forest on top of Mt. Moroto in Tapac sub county until the community is consulted.
The District LC V Chairperson, Andrew Napaja announced the decision on Wednesday evening following protests by angry Tepeth community members.
The Tepeth led a procession through Moroto Town on Wednesday protesting proposals by NFA to harvest the trees, saying this will compromise their livelihood.
Last month, NFA published adverts calling upon interested firms to submit bids for harvesting pine and eucalyptus trees from Elipas forest.
According to the February 27th 2017 bid notice, interested firms are required to submit their bid applications by March 15th.
The move drew protests from residents, saying they were never consulted.
Napaja says it was an oversight on the part of NFA to take such a move without consulting communities, whose livelihood depends on the forest.
While meeting the LC V Chairperson on Wednesday, James Lokol, the LC 1 chairperson Etimingoro village, said close to 1400 people derive their livelihoods from Elipas forest directly through grazing their animals, cultivation and shelter.
He explained that cutting the forest means ending the lives of several Tepeth community members.
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The Moroto Resident District Commissioner, Peter Ken Lochap blamed the problem on lack of coordination between the various authorities.
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Michael Okot, the Karamoja sub region NFA manager, says there are no clear guidelines providing for the consultation of the community on such activities.
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The successful bidder will harvest 5185 pine and eucalyptus trees most of which were planted in 1956. The contested forest covers 10 hectares.