While she was growing up, Vastina Tumwebaze’s major source of water for domestic use was Kanywabarogo riverline stream. The 60-year-old resident of Kigaaaga B cell in Kabaale sub county, located in the neighborhood of the Uganda’s oil refinery land and Kabaale International airport, in Hoima district narrates that the stream had very clean water flowing from Wambyabya forest to Bugoma central forest reserve.

But the major challenge was that the stream was being used by domestic animals as well. So government constructed protected water sources within the community to improve on water hygiene and the quality of water sources.

“When Kigaaga primary school was constructed in 1996, the government and other well wishers constructed a spring well which we nicknamed Enda Etahurra Bigambo to serve the school children and the neighboring communities. About 5 more water sources have since been constructed as the population grows,” she explains.

However, Tumwebaze says currently that the water sources have started drying up attributing it to oil and gas extractive activities which have escalated massive environmental destruction.

“Two wells including Enda Etahurra Bigambo have dried up completely and for others, it takes like an hour to fill a jerrycan because the water drips.  For Kanywabarogo river line, the water levels have reduced.  This problem started happening when they started constructing the oil roads and cutting down trees,” said Tumwebaze

Joram Basiima, one of the residents affected by the construction of Kiziranfumbi-Kabaale oil road also shares the same story.

“During wet season, I would hear water in my pit latrine but that stopped when they constructed the road that left me meters high,” he said.

The 25.7km Kabaale-Kizirafumbi road is among the critical roads which have been constructed by Uganda National Roads Authority to facilitate the production of petroleum in the Albertine Graben.

According to Basiima, the few existing water sources have been put on pressure by the influx of people in the area since it is near Uganda’s source of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, the international airport and the oil refinery. He says this has forced people to trek long distances in search of water.

Experts warn of looming scarcity

According to a report quoted by The Daily Monitor on August 17, 2023, a rapidly growing population and expanding human and industrial activities have led to significant strain on both underground and surface water sources in the Albertine Graben.

The report conducted in 2023 by Zutari, a firm contracted by the Ministry of Water and Environment predicts that by 2040, certain sub-zones in the region will have deficits in both underground water and surface water. The paper quotes Dr. Seith Mugume saying, “The aggregate demand for water is projected to surge to 6.55 million cubic metres per day by 2040 due to population growth and other factors. The emergence of oil activities has further intensified the demand for ground water which, during the peak, is 43,000 cubic metres per day.”

The report further says that the heightened demand coupled with environmental degradation is expected to lead to balance deficits.

Community putting up a fight

To combat the challenge, the affected communities have started to conserve the environment and protect threatened water bodies.   

The women in Hoima district are leading campaigns against Bugoma forest give away for sugarcane growing and taking actions to plant trees along the deforested areas.

“Bugoma forest, which we believe to be the source of water in area, has been given away for sugarcane growing. This mean as communities we should not sit and watch. We are fighting back,” said Mbabazi Adah one of the community activists under The Save Bugoma Forest Campaign.

A group of women in Kigaaga organized under Kigaaga Oil Refinery Women Development Association (KORECWODA) say they have stepped up efforts to plant indigenous trees to conserve the environment and ensure sustainable agriculture ahead of oil boom.

Penina Ruhindi, the group chairperson says the group is engaged in raising and distributing indigenous tree seedlings to communities; and also monitor and supervise those who receive the seedlings so that they can be planted.

 “Over 2,000 indigenous trees have so far been planted and distributed,” she adds.

Peninah Ruhindi, the chairperson of KORECWODA says they have also started a campaign to plant trees along river lines and protected water sources.

“We are encouraging more people to plant trees as we lead by example. We have planted along Kanywabarogo river line and also on two protected springs that are still surviving,” she explains.

Joram Basiima, the Community Educator in Kigaaga who is also the chairperson of Kigaaga Community Radio listeners club says they are reinforcing lessons from Community Green radio to ensure natural resource management by increasing forest cover and sustainable agriculture by planting indigenous trees which encourage agro-forestry.

“Community Green radio has also contributed a lot in creating awareness about environmental issues which has prompted communities to practice activities like tree planting,” he says

With support from National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), community members are raising indigenous tree seedlings to conserve the environment. NAPE is also among the players of Save Bugoma Forest Campaign aimed at stopping the destruction of Bugoma central forest reserve in Hoima district.


Ugandan Minister for Energy and Mineral Development, Dr. Ruth Nankabirwa has said the government is considering compulsory land acquisition from absentee landlords and the affected people that have refused the compensation offers for delaying the construction of East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).

“There are 116 cases under consideration for compulsory land acquisition due to reasons such as untraceable individuals, land owner disputes and refusal of compensation offers,” said Nankabirwa while addressing the media on the status of oil and gas sector on January 23.

She explained that some landlords have disputes among themselves and have failed to agree on who should sign for the compensation. She also noted that some people have rejected the compensation offers allegedly because some organizations have corrupted their minds to fail the EACOP project.

She warned that that the government has involved the Attorney General and that arrangements are underway to acquire the land in case the owners to continue to either reject the compensation offer or absent themselves.

“The constitution gives the mandate to the government to compulsorily acquire that land and we have involved the Attorney General and very soon we shall acquire that land,” the minister said.

Dr Nankabirwa disclosed that the government will deposit money worth the value of land in the court and the landlords will access it there when they appear or resolve their disputes.

“We shall deposit money in courts. If the absentee landlords one day appear, they will get this money. If those quarrelling finish, they will still find the money.” She said.

The 1,443km-long EACOP will run from Hoima district in Uganda to Tanga Port in Tanzania passing through 10 districts in Uganda including Hoima, Kikuube and Kakumiro in Bunyoro region and Kyankwanzi, Mubende, Gomba, Sembabule, Lwengo, Rakai and Kyotera.

The EACOP project spans approximately 2,740 acres in Uganda, affecting 3,660 individuals, with 177 requiring resettlement houses.

Atleast 95% of the affected persons have signed compensation agreements, with 91% of these compensations completed according to Nankabirwa.


In December 2023, the Australian Government under the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade offered Australian Awards fellowship on agro ecology to government and no-governmental actors and academicians from Uganda, India, Sri Lanka, Solomon Islands and Australia.

The fellowship hosted by Monash University from 30th November to 17th December was aimed at building the capacity of fellows in climate-resilient agriculture and sustainable food systems.

Three fellows were selected from Uganda including Allan Kalangi, the Sustainability School Manager at National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), Precious Naturinda, the Senior News Editor at NAPE’s Community Green Radio and David Ssemwogerere from Suubi Centre; among 18 fellows from the five countries.

DFAT fellowa at Monash University, Australia on heir first day of the fellowship

Associate Professor, Jagjit Plahe from Monash University and Professor Kristen Lyons from University of Queensland in Australia led the fellows through workshops both on-line and face-to-face aimed at sharing knowledge; and on-site visits to gain practical agro-ecology farming skills in Victoria and Queensland regions. The fellowship was titled, ‘Building Climate –Resilient Agri-food futures: Reducing Emissions and Improving Food Security through Agro-ecology.

“The challenge of climate resilience and food security is acute in five countries with the rise of temperatures and increased droughts in India, the rise of water levels and reductions of land in Sri Lanka and Solomon Islands and a combination of longer and devastating harsher droughts in Uganda. According to the 2022 IPCC report, ecosystem-based approaches such as diversification, land restoration, agroecology and agroforestry have the potential to strengthen resilience. The project will enhance capacity building of agro ecology change agents and foster networking across global agro ecological movements,” mentioned the Professors.

Ugandan team explaining the challenges facing Uganda’s food systems and possible solutions during a workshop at the Unversity of Queensland

Some of the sites visited included Centre for Education and Research for Environmental strategies (CERES); an environmental park to learn innovative practices in sustainable chemical-free organic food systems, regenerative farms, community bush food gardens used for food and medicine, Permaculture  villages with sustainable agricultural and land management systems, markets with local chemical free produce among others.

Field visit at CERES Melbourne

Allan Kalangi said the fellowship feeds into NAPE’s campaigns on seed sovereignty and food security campaigns, campaigns against chemical use and monoculture, and promoting agro ecology. He said he will incorporate the knowledge gained into the campaigns existing and work with local communities to promote the indigenous knowledge on sustainable farming practices. He appreciated the organizers for the opportunity and pledge continued partnership.

Kalangi explains his vision of a Uganda with sustainable farming practices during the presentation with fellows

Precious Naturinda said she was excited to learn more about developed countries embracing chemical-free and organic food for sustainable food systems. She said Uganda is experiencing increasing industrialization and commercialization of food systems and agriculture which is affecting food sovereignty, biodiversity and ecology. She said the trend is threatening the local people especially farmers, their food and survival.

She said she will use the knowledge gained to amplify the narratives on agro ecology and to compel the small holder farmers to take part in practices and processes to protect food systems. She noted that she will highlight the key actions taken by small-scale farmers in building resilience against climate change through practices and movement building and also highlight the current seed and land struggles of small holder farmers in rural communities and their key actions taken to protect their rights.

Naturinda explains her painted vision of a food secure Uganda with sustainably managed resources



Residents of Ngwedo and Buliisa sub counties in Buliisa district have petitioned Uganda Wildlife Authority over wildlife attacks.

In their 24th October this year’s petition addressed to UWA, the residents neighboring Murchson Falls National Park say the rampant invasion of elephants and buffaloes into the community has led to massive destruction of their crops putting food security at stake and loss of the lives.

The affected villages include Waiga, Kabbolwa, Kijangi, Bbyeriya, Nyamiteete, Katabeela and Bugana-Kichoke in Buliisa Sub County as well as Mubbaku, Ajigo, Mvule1, Kamandindi and Mvule Nunda in Ngwedo district.

Kabagambe Kamanda, the LCIII chairperson of Buliisa Sub County says the elephants and buffalos from the national park have of recent increasingly raided people’s gardens destroying their crops. He adds that they have also attacked, killed and injured people.

“Last year, a 15-year old Abdu from Waiga 2 primary school was attacked and killed by stray elephants on his way from school. In February this year, a 67 year old man Moogo Ongyiera was attacked and killed by an elephant while in his garden. In July, Janet Bero Pamungu, 42 was attacked and killed while collecting firewood near her garden in Waiga. While in September, a woman who was carrying her child at her back was attacked by an elephant and severely,” said Kabagambe.

Grace Mulimba, a farmer from Kasenyi village in Ngwedo Sub County says she has lost her hectares of watermelon, cassava, sweet potatoes and maize to elephants which are led to food insecurity and loss of livelihoods. She says women spend sleepless nights and now fear to go to their gardens due to fear of attacks.

The residents want installation of electric fence around Murchson Falls National Park to prevent further invasion of animals to the community and prompt compensation to those who have lost their lives and livelihoods.

The petition dated 24th October and signed by over 60 residents, local leaders and NGOs working in Buliisa has been addressed to Uganda Wild Authority and copied in to the ministry of Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities.

Rajab Bwengye, the project coordinator of European Funded project “Deepening grassroots women’s rights, participation and economic livelihood opportunities in the era of expanding of oil and gas extraction and COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda” in implemented in Buliisa under National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) says boosting food security and improvement of livelihoods have been frustrated by the wild animals; a reason they are joining the petition.

He says the destruction of crops by wild animals, in addition to other challenges like displacements caused by oil and gas extraction and COVID-19 pandemic, have affected people’s incomes and food security leading to gender based violence.

He said there is need for concerted efforts to ensure that people live in harmony with wildlife.



As Uganda joined the rest of the world to celebrate the World Food Day (WFD) on 16th October, communities in Bunyoro region in western Uganda called on government to support farmers with farm inputs to improve food security and livelihoods.

Fred Musiimenta, the chairperson of Butimba Sustainability Conservation Association (BUSUCA) in Butimba village in Kikuube district says oil and gas developments have increased the population putting pressure on the existing land for food production.

Musiimenta says they are responding to the challenge by establishing mother gardens for a variety of crops and kitchen garden mainly for vegetables to boost household income and increase food security at household level. He, however, notes that farmers need more farm tools to be able to meet the growing demand for food in the region.

Musimenta says with support from National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) they planted cassava and kitchen vegetables as a group in a bid to boost food security and household income.

He notes that farmers have limited access to farm tools; hand hoes and finances and mostly depend on individual savings to invest in agricultural undertakings which limit their capacity to increased production.

BUSUCA is among 30 community women groups that received farm tools including hoes and wheel barrows, trainings on sustainable agriculture and support to establish mother gardens for variety crops and kitchen garden mainly for vegetables to boost their household income by National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) under the European Union funded project to improve food security and household income in the era of oil and gas extraction and COVID-19 Pandemic in Hoima, Buliisa and Kikuube districts.

Florence Mujoogo, one of the farmers living in Kijayo camp for internally displaced people in Kijayo village in Kiziranfumbi Sub County in Hoima district says hoes and wheel barrow she received from NAPE have helped to boost her food production at home for consumption and surplus for sale.

 “I would in most cases go to the garden alone because my children had no hoes but when I got four hoes from NAPE, they helped me a lot. I am utilizing the family labor at home that was idle due to lack of enough tools,” said Mujoogo

Innocent Tumwebaze, a resident of Kyakaboga resettlement camp in Buseruka sub county, Hoima district said the farm tools have helped people in the camp in farm work. He applauded NAPE for supporting them with trainings and farm tools and urged the government and other non-state actors to adopt the initiative.

“Some people miss seasons due to lack of hoes, they have to wait for their neighbors to finish farm work to borrow from them. But NAPE has helped us. We are using the hoes that we received to led out to those who do not have,” said Tumwebaze.

Margret Wombe, a resident of Kigwera village in Buliisa district noted that to improve food security, there is need of supporting farmers with farm tools to help them meet the growing demand for food in the district.

“You find that a family of 5 able bodied members of labor force has no enough hoes and are forced to stay at home yet they can contribute to food production. And when there are no enough farm tools, women end up carrying the burden of using the available ones to provide food for the remaining unproductive labor force,” says Wombe.

Rajab Bwengye, the coordinator of Projects at NAPE says there is need for more provision of hand hoes to support the most vulnerable rural smallholder farmers to increase agricultural production considering the fact that majority of them cannot afford appropriate mechanization technologies for cultivation.


By Precious Naturinda

European Union has applauded National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) for its efforts in combating Gender-Based Violence, improving household income and boosting food security for communities affected by COVID-19 economic shocks and oil and gas extractives in Bunyoro region.

From 2021, NAPE has been implementing a European Funded project “Deepening grassroots women’s rights, participation and economic livelihood opportunities in the era of expanding of oil and gas extraction and COVID-19 pandemic in Uganda” in Hoima, Kikuube and Buliisa districts. Under the project NAPE has supported communities in a number of initiatives including establishment of safe spaces to handle cases of gender based violence, provision of farm tools and establishment of gardens to improve food security and income generating initiatives.

During a three days monitoring visit held from 19th to 21st September 2023, Thomas Kamusiime from European Union said he was impressed by the food gardens established, household income generating initiatives for community households such as honey selling, hand craft making, millet packing and the good work done by established safe spaces to combat gender based violence and promote stable families. 

Figure 1: Mr. Kamusiime Thomas(in checked blue shirt) in a mother garden for communities in Kigaaga

Mr. Kamusiime visited Community Green Radio Offices in Kiboga district that amplifies community voices in Kiboga district, and communities of Kaiso, Kabale and Kigaaga in Hoima, Butimba and Kyakatemba in Kikuube district and Kakindo in Buliisa district.

He said that it was a smart idea that NAPE coined the project and implemented it around existing community structures in addition to establishing new ones such as safe and operational spaces that handle issues of GBV.  He also applauded the radio for amplifying the voices of local communities and pledged continued partnership.

“I am thrilled to learn from safe space care takers that the work of the safe space in handling GBV, community counseling, conflict identification and mediation both on GBV and land related wrangles is done with close coordination with the Local council system, the family protection units of the Uganda Police and community models of good standing in the community,” said Mr. Kamusiime.

Mr. Kamusiime asked communities to use the good work achieved by the project to take advantage of the good road and other infrastructure being put in place by the oil and other sectors to boost their incomes through product selling, accessing markets and improving on value addition to attract market.

Figure 2; Kaiso Women’s Group Chairperson Sylvia Kemigisa explaining to Mr. Thomas Kamusiime from EU and Rajab Bwengye from NAPE about the kitchen gardens in Kaiso fishing village

The Communities said the farm tools like the hoes and wheel barrows have been instrumental in enabling them grow food and carry manure to the gardens. They also noted that the space spaces have helped in conflict resolution both in families and communities.

 “Gender Based Violence and food insecurity are major challenges at Kaiso fishing village. We largely depend on the Lake and markets for food.  But NAPE has supported us to have kitchen gardens which are helping us to improve food security. Besides, over 80 cases have so far been handled at our safe space but the numbers are overwhelming. We would requesting NAPE to support establish more safe spaces and more support as our members have been increasing also need support,” said Kemigisa Slyvia from Kaiso Women’s group, one of the communities’ supported.

Mr. Bwengye Rajab, the Project Coordinator applauded European Union for the support and called for more support. He said the safe spaces are receiving overwhelming numbers of people who need their issues resolved adding that there is need to establish more safe spaces.

According to Bwengye, the most recent spot talley of cases recorded by caretakers at all the 20 established safe spaces in all the 3 operational districts were 1,186 out of which 953 were resolved at safe space sites.  He notes that others have been refered to police for further management contributing to a success rate of 80%.

He also noted that the 30 targeted groups have registered increased number of members who need more support with farm tools.



Community Green Radio organized a cleanup exercise in Kibiga town in its host district- Kiboga to create public awareness on proper disposal of wastes in commemoration of belated World Environmental Day celebrated on 5th June each year.

The event was led by the radio staff and joined by local leaders and the radio listeners on 27th August.

It involved waste collection, sorting and sensitizing the members of the community on the dangers of poor waste disposal. The day was crowned with a friendly football match between the radio staff and the listeners which saw the radio winning 1-0.

The radio listeners appreciated the role the radio has played in raising awareness on environmental conservation.

The female district councilor for Kiboga town council, Ms. Sarah Nakitende said the radio’s education programs have supported the leaders’ efforts in raising awareness on environmental conservation.

Julius Kyamanywa, the station manager said plastics have become part of our daily lives due to their convenience but have been disposed carelessly leading to massive pollution. He explained that the drainage channels and soils are choking on plastics leading to floods, soil infertility and blockage of drainage channels.

He said the solution to reversing pollution starts with living as responsible citizens urging the public to desist from the behavior of indiscipline littering.

This year’s theme for World Environmental Day was Beat Plastic pollution.  In Uganda, the celebrations ran under the theme, “Stop Plastic Pollution today.”

According to the National Environmental Management Authority, Uganda has produced over 12,330 metric tons of Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) plastics since 2018. Of this, 42%is uncollected, 15% collected through value chain approach and 43% collected by the service providers.  About 21,728 tons of plastic is burned, 47,457 tons is landfilled or dumped, 160 tons retained and 13,580tons finds its way into water systems.

NEMA also affirms that as a result of plastic pollution, the country has seen increased unexplained cancers, floods, poor air quality, decreased soil fertility, siltation of water bodies, death of livestock, fish and wildlife through ingestion and entanglement and enhanced greenhouse gas emissions.


Government through the office of the Prime Minister has donated 4 tractors to farmers in Kiboga to engage and improve on agricultural production.

Three tilling and one drilling tractors were given to individual and groups at an agricultural exhibition that was held in Kiboga town council on 20th August.

While handing over the equipment, Ugandan Prime Minister Robina Nabbanja urged the beneficiaries to utilize the equipment communally to boost agriculture production and productivity.

She also urged the farmers to use the Parish Development Model(PDM) funds as startup capital for agri-businesses. He urged technical staff at the District to ensure that they follow up farmers to give them technical advice.

Abdul Mutumba, the Kiboga West Member of Parliament urged schools to have school gardens to enable learners get skills at schools.

The exhibition was aimed at mobilizing and educating farmers on value addition.

Among the exhibitors was Fridays for Future Uganda which is working with National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) under gender and climate coalition to empower young women through organic kitchen gardens, value addition and trainings.

The coalition under the PISCCA project is being supported by the French Embassy.

The exhibition was broadcast live on Community Green Radio to give a voice to other farmers who were not able to make it to the function.


People affected by Hoima-Kampala Petroleum products pipeline in Kiboga and Kyankwanzi districts in central Uganda are pondering the next move once the pipeline works begin after misusing their compensation money.

The Hoima-Kampala Petroleum products pipeline will stretch for 211km from Hoima in Western Uganda to Buloba along Kampala-Mityana road in Wakiso district in central Uganda. The Resettlement Action Plan was handed over to Strategic Friends International.

The residents poke holes in the unsatisfactory land acquisition and compensation process which they say has been characterized by inadequate and delayed compensation, lack of financial literacy programs and lack of guidance on property for property compensation.

Leo Ssebuwufu, one of the affected people from Lwanda village in Kiboga district says due to anxiety for cash coupled with delayed and inadequate compensation, many affected people got loans and by the time the money came, it was unable to replace what had been lost to the pipeline.

“I have no tangible development from my cash compensation. It came at a time I was overwhelmed by loans and it ended up paying the loan,” says Ssebuwufu.

Asuman Ssembatya, the Nabidondolo parish chairperson says the sensitization meetings have concentrated in Hoima, Kikuube and Buliisa districts which are hubs of oil activities leaving other districts where the pipelines are passing abandoned.

Ssembatya says the few sensitization meetings have only targeted local leaders leaving people directly affected by pipeline ignorant of how to live a better life after displacement. He notes that as a result, the cash compensation is finished and no livelihood improvement.

“People were not given clear guidance for cash and property compensation. People whose houses were affected have failed to construct new houses because their compensation money was not enough and others misused the money. I wish we know there was an option of property compensation, we would have guided them,” said Ssembatya.

Ssembatya said people whose houses were affected and given cash compensation have instead renovated their houses with the hope of getting more compensation from government.

George Matwa, 58, another affected resident from Luanda village says he received his compensation this year in June after more than four years of waiting.

“During the disclosure of my cash compensation, the oil companies only gave me a total figure of my coffee, fruit trees, banana plantation and house that were affected by the pipeline. I don’t know how each was valued and I feel I got little money,” Said Mr. Matwa.

He adds that, “I feel too weak to start the process of constructing a new house, if I knew of house-to-house compensation, I would have opted for that”.

During the community engagement meeting that was organized by the National Association of Professional Environmentalists, NAPE on 1st August this year at Atkon hotel Kiboga, the affected people of Kiboga and Kyankwanzi identified information gap on the whole oil compensation activities as one of the challenges.

They said they have no clear grievance handling channels and the leaders who would be helping address their issues are also ignorant about what takes place.

The meeting that comprised of participants from Hoima, Kikuube, Kyankwanzi and Kiboga districts.

For Hoima and Kikuube, the affected residents said the process of compensation and land acquisition was fair and people have received better houses from government as compensation.

Allan Kalangi, the Sustainability Manager at NAPE said there is need to sensitize affected people especially those in Kiboga and Kyankwanzi on the progress of the pipeline project. He said NAPE will continue organizing sensitization meetings and also through Community Green Radio.

Mr. Kosea Wambaka, the Head of Party and Programmes at Strategic Friends International recently told New Vision newspaper recently that the pipeline will pass through 21 sub counties and will impact 4, 276 individuals. He said 84% of the people have already received their cash compensations in Kikuube, Kyankwanzi, Kiboga and Mityana districts.

Understanding the paradox of idle land and large based agricultural investments in Uganda

In his draft paper, Chinese Agricultural Investments in Uganda and the Paradox of “Idle Land”, Banjwa Adventino, a Ph. D. fellow at Makerere University thinks through the paradox of idle land in contemporary debates on land in Uganda and Africa at large.

The paper points out that the idea that Africa is a home to unrivaled idle land but highly productive continues to inspire numerous.

Banjwa argues that the discursive rendering of land idle when everyone knows that people always lived on and used the land before but were forcefully evicted is the epistemological contest concerning what constitutes productive use of land and land use in general. He says on one hand, there is neoliberal state allied with private agricultural capital and on other hand; there are communities in society that become the demands of agricultural capital.

Banjwa’s paper, which is based on two Chinese agricultural investment sites in Uganda: Hanhe Farm and Kehonga China Uganda Agricultural Industrial Park, was at the centre of discussion in Intellectual Study Group Discussion on large based agricultural investments and the paradox of idle land.

The Intellectual study group was organized by National Association of Professional Environmentalists in partnership with Rosa Luxemburg Foundation East Africa and attended by scholars, members of civil society, journalists and community members and was held on June 24th at Nican Hotel in Kampala.

Banjwa argues that however much government and investors make claim that the land is idle, the claims have been refuted by people whose dwelling were dismantled to pave way for the agricultural projects.

In his paper for instance, Hanhe Farm which is located on 162 hectares of land in Nakaseke district was public land before.

“ …all this land was accessible to communities for grazing, fishing, harvesting of reeds for making mats and roofing houses and harvesting clay soil for brick making… One can look at this land as an epicenter of which people’s lives in this community rotated: they could not only count on the proteins obtained from the different forms in the swamp, their animals also depended on this land for grass and water. In short, the entire art of their dwelling was weaved on this basis of land: from obtaining materials and tools to construct their homes, to burying their dead, and to obtaining food for themselves and their animals”, according to an extract from the paper.

Banjwa states that the communities’ understanding of what constitutes productive land cannot be defined outside the broader web of their engagements on the land but the government and investors still defined it as idle land.

He concluded that contemporary ‘idlisation’ of  land is key to fueling the neoliberal character of current state in Uganda and suggests that the idea of displacement be expanded beyond the conception in terms of displacement of people from their land to encompass the displacement of people’s knowledge on what constitutes broadly productive land.

In his discussion on the paper, Prof. Samwiri Lwanga Lunyiigo said when investors come to Sub Saharan Africa; they see invisible Africans with visible land.

“When these investors come to the Sub Saharan Africa, What do they see? Invisible Africans! Why not seen? Because of the concept of development that has been engrained by our leadership. They look at capitalistic view of development. Our leaders have developed a concept that if we don’t develop, other people will develop us,” he said.

He said what is needed in Africa is pro-people government to take into considerations the pro-people development.

“Land to me is spiritual, cultural and ideological. People are actually using the land for fishing, growing food, grazing their animals but the capitalistic view of development is blind of this. In Mubende, for example, Nyakahuma tree that is respected by a certain clan, it can be cut and converted into timber but its spiritual importance cannot be marketed,” he explained.

He said Africans have not come up with what kind of development they need, whose development or whom the development is trying to help. He said food is critical and natives produce food from the said wastelands, empty or idle land.

Sam Kasirye, the ROSA representative in Uganda appreciated Banjwa for the paper. He said such discussions need to be trickled down to local communities to help them appreciate their mode of development before their intellectual disarming, use of coercive forces and militarization of land by investors and government.

Allan Kalangi from NAPE appreciated the discussants and pledged NAPE’s commitment in ensuring that the discussions continue.