BUTIMBA VILLAGE COMMUNITY MEMBERS SEEK GUIDANCE ON LAND GRABBING THREATS

Community members of Ijumangabo, Butimba Village, Kiziranfumbi Sub-county, and Hoima District have sought guidance from the Hoima Resident District commissioner (RDC) over Land grabbing threats received from Reserve Force Veterans coordinated by Sergeant Peter Bagonza who claim ownership of part of their land.

In a letter addressed to the RDC with a subject line “RE-VISIT TO IJUMANGABO RESERVE FORCE POLITICAL WING SCHEDULED FOR 25TH AUGUST 2107”, signed by Sgt. Bagonza Peter indicates that the purpose of the visit to the land located in Kiziranfumbi Sub-county by the Reserve Force Veterans on 25th August 2017 was to solely check on the Force’s projects, talk to the people settling on and around it then start utilizing it for their Projects.

Butimba village, being near the proposed site for the oil refinery is a hotspot for land grabbing.  Butimba LC1 Chairman Samuel Tugumisirize says Ijumangabo area has no Local Council Chairperson though the letter is duplicated to Ijumangabo LC1 and the land in question was only functional in the 1990s when the Police hired it to carryout trainings locally known as “Muchaka-Muchaka”.

Reverend Fred Musimenta the Butimba sustainability village community Educator said that the RDC hadassuredthem that the Reserve force Veterans have no legal ownership of Ijumangabo area land.

“The RDC told us that as Butimba residents we surround anyone who trespasses and we call him to take action.

The Hoima Resident District CommissionerStephen Ekom confirmed to have received Objection from Butimba community members about the Ijumangabo land grabbing threats by Reserve Force veterans advising them on how to handle the matter if there are more actions by the perpetrators but refuted claims of having any knowledge about the said visit in a letter addressed to him.

“There is no area in Butimba village reserved for any Government project as claimed by Reserve Force Veterans Coordinator Sgt. Peter Bagonza, he is only duping people but I advised the residents on what to do” Nyakahuma clarified.

Sgt.Bagonza when reached for a comment said its true Ijumangabo has part of the land bordered by Ijumangabo River supplied by River Wambabya in Butimba village “political wing” which was hired for “Muchaka Muchaka” in 1990s but remained in the hands of Government he was silent about the next date of the planned visited, he still stood on his point of Government project start up on the said land.

This acts as a milestone for NAPE since Butimba village in Kiziranfumbi Sub-county is one of NAPE’s Sustainability school program area of Advocacy,the Sustainability School Program initiated by NAPE as one of its project, advocates for strong Communities that fight for their rights.

Story by Dorcus Drijaru

NATIONAL FORESTRY AUTHORITY INTRODUCING COMMERCIAL TREE PLANTING PROJECT IN PROTECTED FOREST RESERVE AREAS OF BUNYORO SUB-REGION

Five thousand Nine hundred thirty (5,930) hectares of land in protected forest reserves of Bunyoro Sub-Region ranging between 5-50 hectares are up for grabs through competitive bidding in private tree planting project with the aim of increasing forest cover and conserve the natural forests.
The National Forest Authority (NFA) Range Manager for Bugoma systems, Stuart Maniraguha while speaking to Community Green Radio said the project dubbed “Community tree planting project” is aimed at giving out free tree seedlings to locals starting next planting season April 2018 after government providing the required financial.
Maniraguha says NFA is currently accepting applications for individuals and institutions who may wish to invest in first phase planting trees in 13 forests and do eco-tourism (apiary and quarry) in two forests totaling to15 protected forest reserves.
The protected National Forest Reserves are located in Hoima, Masindi and Greater Kibaale respectively Kasongoire, Ibamba, Kyamugongo, Mpanga in Hoima, while Fumbia, Sirisiri, Sekuro, Nyakunyu, Kitonya are for Masindi area and Greater Kibaale has Kanaga,Ruzaire, Kijuna and Nyabiko
“The demand for wood/fuel is high and rates of deforestation are alarming therefore Masindi districts planting trees can help in reducing pressure that is exerted in the natural forests like Bugoma, Budongo and others” elaborates Maniraguha .
NFA quarterly report of June and August 2017, indicates that over 1,000 pieces of timber were impounded which is an indicator that the pressure on forest reserves is still high.
National Forestry Authority has teamed up with the district natural resources department and the office of the Resident District Commissioner to ensure that they team up to protect the forests from people with selfish interests.
NAPE’s Officer in-charge of Forests and Bio-diversity David Kureeba, supports the idea but says some tree Species like Pine and Eucalyptus are semi-autonomous which is dangerous because after clearing them at maturity, the land is left bare causing adverse climatic change since their purpose of planting is commercial.
“The tree planting project should be of sustainable species which will help conserve the Environment by constantly keeping the soil covered not species that are cut after maturity and leave the land bare” eludes Kureeba.
Story by Dorcus Drijaru