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Wakiso District Seeks Help to Reclaim Gunda Forest from Encroachers

It is alleged that in April 2017, one Christine Namara Nabimanya took over the forest and established a farm after destroying trees. Wakiso District Chairman Matia Lwanga Bwanika says that Namara came after the cancellation of twelve land titles that had been illegally allocated to various people led by a senior army officer Brig Hudson Mukasa.
02 Aug 2021 17:07
Bwanika addressing the media in Waakiso

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Wakiso District authorities are appealing to the Environment Ministry to help them reclaim Gunda Forest reserve in Katabi Town Council from illegal occupants. The Forest, measuring 57 hectares was gazeted in 1932 and in 1998, it was categorised as a local forest reserve, owned and managed by Wakiso District Council.

But it is alleged that in April 2017, one Christine Namara Nabimanya took over the forest and established a farm after destroying trees. Wakiso District Chairman Matia Lwanga Bwanika says that Namara came after the cancellation of twelve land titles that had been illegally allocated to various people led by a senior army officer Brig Hudson Mukasa.

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Katabi Town Council chairman, Ronald Kalema said that the illegal occupation of Gunda Forest reserve started in 2016 with the titling of the government land by private individuals. He says that there was collusion among government officials at the district but when the titles were cancelled, another person was allocated the same land by the then RDC Rose Kirabira.

Indeed Namara confirmed occupying the land but denied accusations of illegality. She said that her occupation of the land is legal because it was approved by the authorities. According to Namara, the president took over the disputed forest land to establish an industrial park and she came onto it as a caretaker but could not keep it empty.

Namara insisted that she applied to take care of the land on the condition that she is allowed to carry out her activities. She said that anyone accusing her is part of the scheme that wanted to steal land meant for an industrial park. But, according to Bwanika, Namara has since extended her illegal farm by more than 20 acres after failing to honour an instruction to vacate the forest.

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His appeal comes barely a week after the cabinet approved the cancellation of all land titles issued in wetlands and central forest reserves, as a measure to restore Uganda's forest cover which has dropped from 24 to 12.4 per cent. State Minister for Environment Beatrice Anywar said that forests and wetlands have been disappearing at a fast rate, a trend which is likely to cause problems in the future.

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