Uganda National Meteorological Authority partners with Kiboga district to give weather updates to farmers

Precious Naturinda and Edison Ndyasiima

Peter Makubuye, a small holder farmer from Kakoora village in Kibiga sub county Kiboga district has had rough time dealing with unpredictable weather conditions. According to Makubuye, his main source of livelihood is growing maize, beans, coffee and banana plantations.

However, he says the erratic rainfall and extended dry spell has over time left him in losses. He says weather conditions have increasingly become unpredictable as opposed to olden days when they would use indigenous knowledge to predict.

“Whenever I would experience much heat, I would tell that the rains are around the corner and start preparing the gardens but this is no longer the case. These days we are taken by surprise. The rains come and disappear at a time you least expect. I put in a lot of money and get low yields,” said Makubuye.

It is against this background that Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) has partnered with Kiboga district local government to ensure that farmers get updated weather forecasts to help farmers plan accordingly.

The Authority started with training at the beginning of this month (September) of district technical officers from climate sensitive sectors – agriculture and water departments- and farmer group leaders on climate resilient measures.

Abubaker Kalema, a Senior Meteorologist at UNMA says the authority will be sharing early warning weather information with the farmers using mainstream media and WhatsApp groups.

He says Kiboga district, whose population predominantly relies on rain-fed agriculture, has been affected by unpredictable weather. He, however, notes that farmers have been lacking timely and accurate weather information. He says weather information sharing is key to build climate resilience at local level.

Makubuye, who was one of the beneficiaries of the training, says there has been a big gap in sharing information directly to farmers who are affected by the weather patterns from the UNMA. He says the partnership will make weather information dissemination to farmers easy.

According to information from Kiboga district agriculture department, the district experiences challenging unpredictable weather conditions of erratic rainfall and extended dry spell during the March-June planting season.

This has resulted into poor crop yields for annual crops such as maize and beans, horticultural crops like tomatoes, cabbages and also inadequate pasture and water production. The district authorities fear that this may lead to low future supply of agricultural commodities, moderate food availability supply and high prices.

Extreme weather conditions are increasingly frequent and severe across African region including Uganda.

According to Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN 2021), Uganda is ranked 10th most vulnerable country to the impacts of climate change and the 35th least readying in teams of preparedness for the climate change effects.

Court of Appeal starts hearing of the case against Hoima Sugar Limited

The Court of Appeal in Kampala has started hearing of the case that National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) and Water and Environment Media Network (WEMNET) filed for cancellation of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) certificate of approval issued to Hoima Sugar Ltd (HSL).

AFIEGO, NAPE and WEMENT are some of the members of the Save Bugoma Forest Campaign (SBFC). The appeal, which was filed in May 2021, is against Hoima Sugar Limited and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). Despite protests from Bugoma forest host communities, Kikuube district local government, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and civil society members, NEMA issued Hoima Sugar Limited with with an ESIA certificate of approval for the company’s Kyangwali Mixed Land Use Project in August 2020. The certificate allowed HSL to grow sugarcane, set up an urban centre and engage in other degrading activities in Bugoma central forest reserve.

Open the link to read the full statement of the Save Bugoma Forest Campaign. https://www.greenradio.ug/download/press-statement-on-hearing-of-bugoma-forest-case-appeal/

CSOs PETITION NCBA BANK OVER HOIMA SUGAR LIMITED ABUSES

Two environmental and human rights organisations in Uganda have petitioned NCBA Bank to stop financing Hoima Sugar Limited which they claim carries out its activities in a manner that contravenes environmental laws and disregards the rights of the host communities.

The two organisations, National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE)-Friends of the Earth Uganda-and Strategic Response on Environmental Conservation (STREC) presented a petition to NCBA Bank Uganda Limited on 3rd July 2023 signed by 1,678 people directly impacted by Hoima Sugar Limited in the Bugoma Forest area.

In the petition addressed to Mr. Mark Mayobo, the Managing Director of NCBA Bank Uganda Limited, the CSOs and host communities accuse Hoima Sugar Limited’s Kyangwali Mixed Land Use Project of severely threatening the wellbeing and livelihoods of local people in the area.

“The project, which includes a sugarcane plantation along with other infrastructure developments has severely threated the well-being and livelihoods of local communities. The project has also resulted in the deforestation of natural, reserved forest and has violated several Ugandan laws,” the petition to NCBA Bank reads in part.

The petition follows a post by NCBA Bank on Twitter to the effect that it was providing asset financing to Hoima sugar limited enabling it to acquire transport vehicles and graders some of which have been used in degrading Bugoma Forest.

“The Bank’s support of Hoima Sugar links NCBA Bank to the various environmental, social and governance related issues associated with Hoima Sugar’s activities in Bugoma. This asset financing contradicts NCBA Group’s own commitment to “sustainable investment and community growth” the letter signed by Mr. Frank Muramuzi on behalf of NAPE and Cirrus Kabaale on behalf of STREC reads.

The petition was duly received by NCBA and the office of the Chief Executive Officer made a response.

“As part of our commitment to sustainable investment and community growth, we take the issues of environment, sustainability and governance seriously.

We are in conversation with our client, Hoima Sugar Limited and will respond conclusively to your concerns raised,” the response letter signed by NCBA Chief Executive Officer, Mark Muyobo, reads in part. Click on download below for the full petition.

NCBA BANK PETITION ON BUGOMA

Accept Compensation or Lose Your Land’ Government of Uganda tells Tilenga PAPs

The government of Uganda has issued a one-month ultimatum to Project Affected Persons-PAPs under the Tilenga project to receive compensation or forcefully lose their land.

Up to 623 people in Kasenyi village in Buliisa District in western Ugandawere affected when government acquired 320 hectares of land in Kasenyi village in Ngwedu sub-county in Buliisa to pave way for the construction of the Tilenga central processing facility-CPF.  The facility will be used to process crude oil produced from Buliisa and Nwoya districts to extract water, gas and other impurities, before being piped to the refinery in Kabaale, Hoima District.

In addition to the CPF that will process 190,000 barrels of oil and 700,000 barrels of total liquid per day, the Tilenga project needs land for 426 well pads; 160 kilometers of flow lines which will transport crude oil and water from the wells to the CPF among others.

However, some of the PAPs have up to date rejected compensation from the government, protesting what they see as low compensation rates for their land and other properties.

Some of the PAPs have been compelled to drag the government to court of law.   The PAPs also resisted government attempts to settle them in areas with worse or no social services.

Some of the PAPs were offered between 3.5 and 5 million Ugandan Shillings per acre of land in 2017 while others demanded between 10 to 20 million Ugandan Shillings per acre of land. 

Ruth Nankabirwa, the Minister for Energy and Mineral Development issued the one-month ultimatum on Monday, June 12, while officiating at the handover ceremony of 105 houses constructed for some of the PAPs at Kirama village in Kigwera Sub County, Buliisa District.

The minister warned that government has no other option but to forcefully take over the land should the PAPs reject the compensation money.

According to Nankabirwa, the government will not tolerate any delays in the progress of the oil and gas sector beyond July 31, cautioning all PAPs who have rejected compensation money due to various factors to cooperate with the government and accept to be compensated as per the compensation rate adopted by the chief government valuer.

She says beyond July 31, the government will forcefully access and establish oil-related projects on all the pieces of land acquired for oil developments in Buliisa and the entire Bunyoro sub-region. She says government will deposit the money for the PAPs who have rejected the compensation with courts of law and take over the land forcefully.

Nankabirwa said the PAPs can drag the government to court but it will not allow any frustration in the oil and gas developments.

She said that for the case of Tilenga, the government has failed to trace six project-affected persons while 27 other PAPs are embroiled in family wrangles on who exactly should get the compensation money.

Story by Uganda Radio Network

NAPE Raises Alarm on Superficial Celebrations, Ineffective Environmental Legislation

As Uganda joined the global community in observing World Environment Day, the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) voiced concerns about the increasingly superficial nature of such celebrations and the inadequate enforcement of laws aimed at safeguarding the environment. 

Frank Muramuzi, the Executive Director of NAPE, says that every year, authorities in Uganda responsible for environmental protection come together to celebrate these special occasions and deliver impressive speeches. However, he emphasizes that these events often lack any tangible impact on the ground. 

Muramuzi also points out that despite the enactment of numerous laws aimed at protecting the environment, they remain ineffective in practice. Many individuals continue to engage in destructive activities with impunity, further exacerbating environmental degradation.

On June 5th, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) organized the national event for World Environment Day at Kololo ceremonial grounds. The event centered around the theme “Stop Plastic Pollution,” drawing attention to the urgent need to address the growing issue of plastic waste. 

During previous discussions, Dr. Akankwasah Barirega, NEMA’s Executive Director, stated that the World Environment Day event served as a starting point for actively combating plastic pollution in Uganda. He mentioned NEMA’s proposal to restrict the importation of pallets used in the “virgin production” of plastics, aiming to promote recycling instead. 

Practical solutions are already being discussed with major plastic manufacturers and importers.  However, NAPE believes that focusing solely on plastic pollution neglects the broader range of environmental challenges facing Uganda. Muramuzi suggests that a comprehensive approach is necessary to address all environmental issues holistically, rather than solely emphasizing plastic pollution.    

In their statement on World Environment Day, environmentalists also highlighted a series of recent incidents in Uganda directly linked to environmental degradation. These incidents include bridge collapses, mudslides and frequent flooding in various parts of the country. 

NAPE expresses concern over the deterioration of wetlands and natural forests, as well as the issue of illegal sand mining and flower cultivation in the Lutembe Ramsar site. These activities seem to occur with the knowledge of those in authority or are ignored when they happen. Regarding plastics, they fault government of Uganda for impeding efforts to tackle the plastic challenge.

They specifically point out the frustration caused by the government’s failure to effectively regulate the use of plastic bags, locally known as “Kaveera,” and its continued issuance of permits to plastic manufacturers and importers. 

NAPE demands that if government of Uganda is genuinely committed to addressing the issue, it should cease issuing licenses to such companies. They also call for the implementation of incentives to encourage plastic collection and recycling, among other proposed solutions.

Government of Uganda Approves License Application to Construct East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline

Cabinet of Uganda has approved the application by the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Company Limited for a license for the construction of the 296 km long East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline in Uganda.  

The State Minister of Information Communication Technology – ICT and National Guidance, Godfrey Baluku Kabyanga, and officials from the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development communicated the development at a press conference at the Uganda Media Centre on Thursday.

Kabyanga said that Cabinet approved the application on Monday, indicating that the new corridor linking the two countries will bring benefits including the development of new infrastructure, logistics, and technology transfer as well as improving the livelihoods of communities along the route.

Eng. Herbert Magezi Mugizi, the Principle Engineer in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development – MEMD, said the approval of the applicable license now grants the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Company Limited legal access to start actual construction.

The East African Crude Oil Pipeline project will displace at least 118, 348 persons (56,460 in Uganda and 61,889 in Tanzania). However, challenges relating to land acquisition due to contestations of valuations by the project-affected persons – PAPs still remain eminent.  

Eng. Magezi disclosed that close to 68 percent of the PAPs have already been compensated while the pending compensations are expected to be concluded by the end of 2023.

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development says the engineering detail currently stands at 33 percent and major procurements have been awarded by the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Company Limited for the purchase of line pipes, high voltage, and marine cables, among others.

The approved pipeline construction project, that will consume about 2,740 acres of land, was awarded to a private company, the East African Crude Oil Pipeline Company Limited. The overall 1,443 km pipeline runs from Hoima district in western Uganda to the Port neighboring Tanzania.

The crude oil project which is worth 13.248 trillion Shillings (USD 3.6 million) traverses 171 villages across 10 districts of Kabaale, Hoima, Kikuube, Kakumiro, Kyankwanzi, Mubende, Ggomba, Ssembabuule, Lwengo, Rakai and Kyotera.

The East African Crude Oil Pipeline Company Limited has a shareholding of 62 percent from Total Energies while 15 percent will come from the host Government of Uganda through the National Oil Company.

Equally, the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania owns 15 percent shares through the Tanzania Petroleum Development Corporation – TPDC, and 8 percent shares for China National Offshore Oil Company – CNOOC Uganda Ltd.

Notably, on September 15, 2022, the European Parliament passed a controversial “emergency resolution” by a large majority denouncing the consequences of Uganda’s oil projects citing specifically Tilenga and the East African Crude Oil Pipeline.

The resolution called for the immediate suspension of drilling activities in the protected and sensitive ecosystem (Murchison Falls National Park) and the postponement of the EACOP project for at least one year to allow a feasibility study of an alternative path to preserve the environment. 
However, two months later on November 2, 2022, the “emergency resolution” was overturned during the Joint Parliamentary Assembly of the African, Caribbean, Pacific – European Union (ACP-EU) sitting in Maputo, Mozambique. The Assembly voted to let Uganda proceed with developing the Pipeline Project.

CREDIT: URN

COMMUNITY GREEN APPRECIATED FOR ITS ROLE IN THE 2022 KIBOGA HEALTH CAMP

Kiboga West member of Parliament, Abdul Mutumba Ssettuba has appreciated and recognized the contribution made by Community Green Radio towards the recently held health Camp in Kiboga Town. The MP, together with other stakeholders organized a health camp on 17 and 18 December 2022 in Kiboga town and the radio played a central role in mobilizing masses for the camp. Various ailments were diagnosed and treated.

In recognition of the radio’s role, the MP has today delivered a certificate of appreciation to the radio. The certificate was handed over to the Station Manager, Julius Kyamanywa by Kiboga Town Council Chairperson Henry Kagali.

While handing over the certificate, Mr. Kagali, who chaired the organized committee of the camp, thanked the radio for serving the communities.

“Honorable Mutumba and I are very pleased with the contribution you made and it’s the reason the camp was a success. Your resolve to serve communities is highly commendable”, Kagali said while at the radio premises in Kiboga.

The station Manager, Kyamanywa Julius appreciated the MP and the organizing committee for recognizing the work of the radio. He pledged continued support to similar causes that are aimed at empowering communities, especially the vulnerable women, children and the poor.

OIL REFINERY RESIDENTS ASSOCIATION (ORRA) AND NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF PROFESSIONAL ENVIRONMENTALISTS (NAPE) BUILD EACH OTHER’S CAPACITY THROUGH PEER LEARNING

Oil Refinery Residents Association (ORRA) and National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) conducted capacity building trainings under the Women have wings/peer learning project. The project was an award recognising the excellent work of women; including young women and peacebuilders working on humanitarian issues to support peer learning among their organizations. The award was funded by the Women Peace Humanitarian Fund (WPHF) through an innovative partnership with and the generous support of Women Have Wings. The awardees were Miss Joan Akiiza (NAPE) & Miss Nyamahunge Milieus (ORRA) as Women leader activists for their contribution to gender equality, peace and/or crisis response with a focus on youth.

The project created a peer learning relationship that aimed at exchanging experience and knowledge as well as supporting and collaborating with the other CSO to help each other grow with new skills and experience to benefit institutional capacity. Through the peer learnings conducted NAPE & ORRA gained skills that include effective communications skills, networking skills, resources mobilization skills, social media content creation skills, Improved knowledge on mobilization of Persons with disabilities (PWDS), persons living with HIV and youth was acquired such as using religious leaders, radio announcements, public announcements, use of posters ,use of persuasive language in mobilizing the youth and targeting holiday times for some activities, Improved interaction with persons living with HIV and the use of Village Health teams as a mobilization strategy for this group of people was also acquired. The lessons learnt were applicable in the context of the CSOs work as community movements or organizations defending people’s rights amidst the oil & gas developments taking place within the Albertine region. The trainings brought along representatives of vulnerable persons such as PWDS, Persons living with HIV, youth, and women which was of an added advantage because participants were learning from persons who were speaking from experience.

There was improved community advocacy especially on how to organize an effective and goal oriented exchange learning visit, and how to carry out visibility social media campaigns, how to engage with the audience on social media among others. Conclusively individual capacity of the awardees and organizational capacity was built through the trainings conducted under the project.

STORY BY JOAN AKIIZA – PEER AWARDEE

KYANKWANZI DISTRICT LEADERS TO PETITION THE PRESIDENT OVER FORCEFUL EVICTIONS

Kyankwanzi district leaders are set to petition President Yoweri Museveni to intervene in the land wrangles that have left about 1,000 residents in Gayaza sub-county forcefully evicted from their ancestral land.

The affected residents from Kyerere North, Kyerere East, Kiyuni central, Kiryajobyo west, and Kibanda villages. They are feuding with Linda Nyakairima, the widow of the late Internal Affairs Minister Gen.Aronda Nyakairima who is alleged to have fraudulently acquired a title for the land measuring about 5 square miles.

On 19th February this year, over 10 graders and excavators started clearing the area destroying crops and over 30 soldiers have been deployed to guard the contested piece of land as the destruction of people’s crops is ongoing.

This was done despite the orders that were issued by the Minister of Land, Housing and Urban Development, Judith Nabakooba in October last year that stopped any further transactions on the land until investigations on the rightful owner are complete.

On February 20 this year, a team of Kyankwanzi district Officials held a meeting with the affected residents and expressed disappointment over impunity and lawlessness being used by armed personnel that are overseeing the destruction.

Dr. John Mpuuga, the district chairperson said the involvement of land’s minister has not yielded results and now they have no option but to petition the president.

“Ever since Minister Nabakooba came here, I have been closely following up the matter. I have given her office whatever document needed over the residents’ ownership. Even early this week, I was at her office but I am surprised that out of blue, the destruction took place. I will not sit. I am now going to meet the president himself to intervene,” Mpuuga said while addressing the residents

Joel Ssebikali, the Member of Parliament for Ntwetwe County wonders why the orders that were put by Minister for Land, Housing and Urban Development, Judith Nabakooba to stop any further transactions on the land until investigations are done were not followed by the security that spearheaded the eviction.

“It seems there are big people in this. This issue now beyond the district leaders and we need president’s intervention since the minister’s orders are irrelevant.

The Resident District Commissioner, Juuko Kasiita assured the residents that he will follow up the matter.

Leosam Sebalunzi, the LCIII Chairperson questions how the family of late Aronda Nyakairima acquired the land without the consent of the leaders. He says when they tasked the family to produce a title for the land, they were threatened by soldiers.

Linda Nyakairima could not be reached for comment.

Destruction of property ongoing on the contested piece of land in Kyerere village Gayaza sub county Kyankwanzi district

More than 1,000 families in Gayaza sub-county Kyankwanzi District are facing forceful eviction from their ancestral land. 

The affected families are from the villages of Kyerere North, Kyerere East, Kiyuni central, Kiryajobyo west, and Kibanda.

The residents are feuding with Linda Nyakairima, the widow of the late Internal Affairs Minister Gen.Aronda Nyakairima who is alleged to have fraudulently acquired a title for the land measuring about 5 square miles. 



The residents say for long they have been threatened with forceful evictions from their ancestral land by Mrs. Nyakairima.

According to the residents, they have settled on the land since the 1940s and wonder how the family of late Aronda is claiming the land. 

Trouble started on Saturday 19th February this year when over 10 graders and excavators started clearing the area; destroying garden crops including several acres of Banana plantations, beans, maize, mangoes, Cassava, coffee, Jack fruits, and rice planted by the residents. 

More than 30 soldiers have been deployed to guard the contested piece of land as the destruction of people’s crops is ongoing. Access to the contested piece of land has also been restricted.

This compelled the aggrieved residents to protest by blocking all the roads leading to the land using tree branches, logs, and stones among others paralyzing business for several hours. 

Racheal Kawala, the Wamala Region Police Spokesperson says that they rushed to the area after they received information that the aggrieved residents had blocked the Nkoko-Kiboga road.

According to Kawala, the land conflict between the family of the late Aronda and the locals has been on for a long time. She adds that the police are not in possession of any eviction order in the area.

“This land conflict has been on for so long and currently we don’t have any court order with us allowing any eviction to take place. We are also seeing what is taking place without our consent. We only rushed there to quell down the protest where the aggrieved residents had blocked the road not allowing anyone to go through; said Kawala.  

Godfrey Walakira 60, one of the affected residents in Kyerere North village who was born and raised up on the land wants government of Uganda to intervene and investigate how Linda Nyakairima acquired the land title.

Retired Captain George Ssenyonyi who was born in 1951 says the situation is currently tense as people are left without food.  He wants the Office of the Prime Minister to immediately intervene and halt the eviction.

Hannington Nsibirwa 50, a resident of Kiyuni central says several acres of his Banana plantation have been destroyed by the Graders. He wants the government to investigate circumstances under which soldiers have connived with late Aronda’s wife to forcefully grab their land.

Leosam Sebalunzi, the LCIII Chairperson questions how the family of late Aronda Nyakairima acquired the land without the consent of the leaders. He says when they tasked the family to produce a title for the land, they were threatened by soldiers.   

In 2018, Linda Nyakairima, appeared and recorded a statement with the Commission of Inquiry into Land matters.  

This was after, Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, the Chairperson of the Commission summoned her for questioning in relation to a piece of land that was bought by her late husband.  

The commission then received complaints from several families in Kiboga district who were ordered to vacate a 640-acre private mailo land that Aronda, wanted to acquire for private investment. 

The land was initially registered as a private Mailo property in the names of late Matayo Kidimbo Mpanga on March 9, 1931.

But the late Gen. Aronda reportedly paid Gideon Kibirango, who claimed to be the rightful owner of the land before Mpanga’s grandson Ibrahim Lumu contested the transaction.   

Linda Nyakairima could not be reached for comment.