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Residents Neighboring Mt. Elgon National Park Face Land Shortage Ahead of Planting Season

The residents argue that Mt Elgon National Park rangers have continued to beat and extort money from them whenever they go to their land to cultivate.
Mt Elgon National Park

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More than 500 Residents of Busiriwa Sub-county in Bududa district have raised concerns about the lack of land for cultivation as planting season nears.

They argue that Mt Elgon National Park rangers have continued to beat and extort money from them whenever they go to their land to cultivate.

In 1936 the area was gazetted as a public protected area; it became a central forest reserve in 1968 and a national park in 1992.  In May 2017 the government conducted a survey but there is no report released to date about the status of the Park. 

The residents say they have waited for the report from Lands Ministry on alleged illegal pillars they planted on the land in 2017 in vain. 

Elia Namukowa said he has a family of 11 children but was left with only half an acre where he cannot cultivate food. Namukowa wonders how he is going to plant this season after over two acres of his land were curved inside the forest.

//Cue in: “ Luwendo nga masimikha…

Cue out: … omwana wa khubukuule”//.

Sam Namondo, another resident says that said he lacks a source of income since he lacks land were to cultivate crops for selling.

Peter Wamono wants the government to amicably solve the issue especially during this time when they need to plant.

Tanasi Futsa, claims that some UWA rangers have continued to mistreat them whenever they go to work in their farms. He adds that they demand as much as 300,000 Shillings before they are released from custody.

//Cue in: “ Babanu ba befe…

Cue out: …kale bakhuwangasakho bulamu”//.

Wilson Simuya, the LCI Chairperson Shibanga village in Buraba parish faulted UWA for demarcating the forest without involving the leaders in the area.

//Cue in: “ Nishelelo eshi enge… 

Cue out: … indufu niyeli taa”//.

Fredrick Kiiza the chief warden of Elgon National Park refused to comment on the matter when contacted.

John Baptist Nambeshe the Manjiya County Member of Parliament, says that they have written to the ministry of Lands, Planning and Urban Development and also copied to the President about the matter but there hasn’t been any response.

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