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Rwot Acana Faults Local Leaders for Abetting Environmental Destruction

Rwot Acana described the local leaders whom he didn’t mention by names as the worst people dragging the region backward through their acts of assisting in cutting down trees.
Acholi Paramount Chief David Onen Acana II Speaking during an interview in Kitgum Municipality.

Audio 2

The Acholi Paramount Chief Rwot David Onen Acana II has faulted local leaders in the region for fueling the rising cases of environmental destruction.

Rwot Acana says local leaders from the village level up to the District are actively engaged in issuing receipts, movement documents and authorization orders to environmental degraders in the region.

His statements come in the wake of the growing charcoal and timber trade that has seen vast tree covers in the region cut down.

Rwot Acana described the local leaders whom he didn’t mention by name as the worst people dragging the region backwards through their acts of assisting in cutting down trees.

He warned that such leaders engaged in the vice should voluntarily back off from aiding the destruction of the environment.

Luo

//cue in: “Lutela wa en…

Cue out:… acel keken ni.”//

Translation

“…our leaders ranging from LCI up to LCV Chairpersons are the ones killing Acholi because they are the ones who issue licenses and collect revenue. How were they collecting the revenue in the past yet these trees have been in existence for many years?  This means that people have become lazy, they don’t want to use their heads but use easy ways of getting money, and this revenue collected what value it is adding to people. So these leaders should stop voluntarily because their acts are endangering many people’s lives,” Says Rwot Acana.

Rwot Acana says the vice is also being precipitated by greed for money that has made leaders in the region lose the sense of protecting the environment for the future. 

He says cultural leaders at the Acholi cultural institution will soon embark on discussions whose resolutions will then be forwarded to the respective leaders in the region for the enactment of a bylaw that comes with penalties for environmental offenders.

Luo

//cue in: “Wan kacoke wa...

Cue out:…turu dong Akaka.”//

Translation

“… in our meeting that we shall hold soon, we will take the resolutions to our leaders so that it's enacted into a bylaw in Acholi that gives out penalties for environmental offenders and penalties for parents who will be found with pregnant young girls and perpetrators of defilement. These are issues we shall discuss to curb the problems. Currently, Acholi is like a flood that flows without control, everyone does what pleases them yet there are laws in place,” He said.

  Late last month, the police arrested a cultural chief in Agago District for allegedly cutting down several endangered shea nut tree species for charcoal production. The suspect identified as Jimmy Olum was picked from Kuywee trading centre in Kuywe Sub-county and detained at Wol Police Post.

Environmentalists in the region however say environmental crimes are jointly being abetted by local leaders and security personnel in the respective districts in the region. 

Arthur Owor, the coordinator of the environmental justice pressure group “Our trees we need answers” and Director of Center for African Research told URN in an earlier interview that for long security personnel have been involved in the logging and charcoal trade.

He says their investigations conducted in hot spot areas of logging and charcoal businesses implicated top security officers involved in the vice.

In May this year, the Deputy Inspector General of Police Maj Gen Paul Lokech while addressing mourners in Orom Sub-county accused Resident District Commissioners and District Police commanders of their involvement in charcoal and log trades. Gen Lokech warned the security personnel whom he didn’t name to desist from the vice or face arrest and imprisonment.

Forest covers in the region have been steadily declining over the past years due to high demand for timber and charcoal despite several interventions put in place by the central and local government to curb the vice. The most targeted tree species are shea nut trees and Afzelia Africana which have lucrative markets.