Over 1000 residents evicted from Mount Elgon national park remain stranded to-date after they were forced out of the area by Uganda Wildlife Authority. Several investigations by Uganda Human Rights Commission indicate that though government said they would resettle the people who were evicted, it remains to be seen when the exercise will be done.
Officials from the commission say the most affected areas are Kortek sub-county in Bukwo district, Bumba and Tsekululu in Manafwa district.
Stephen Basaliza, the Acting Chairperson of the commission says other areas where people have continued to raise issues of human rights concern included Benet and Kapsekek, Ndoboros and Yatui all around mount Elgon. Basaliza sys as a result of failure by government to compensate and resettle the affected communities, they have remained in a state of helplessness. He says the commission has already asked government to address the issues raised so that the affected people can live decent lives;
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The commission has also challenged Uganda Wildlife Authority to sort out the issue of boundaries to avoid further conflicts with the neighbouring communities.
Uganda Wildlife Authority howver says they have no issues to sort out. Simplicious Gessa, the Public Relations Officer of Uganda Wildlife Authority says the authority only enforces what the government has gazetted. He says those who had been living inside the park were evicted as mandated by the UWA act. He says there are seven cases before the courts of law on the issue of boundaries and UWA is waiting for them to be disposed of;
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He says it will be wrong for the organizations to respond to issues that are being handled by the courts. UWA has ha d a string of conflicts with neighbouring communities over park boundaries. Some of the notable places include East Madi Game Reserve and a host of game reserves in western Uganda.