By Andrew Visper email@example.com
Activists have said that no money is more important than life if the proposed idea of giving away Bugoma forest reserve in hoima went through.
While addressing the media yesterday John Mary Odoi, the chairman board at Climate Action Network Uganda (CANU) said that Bugoma forest is known for preserving wildlife but noted this will be no more if the forest is given away into sugarcane plantation.
“The forest is also a habitat for animals and birds that will eventually disappear. There is likelihood of 23 species of animals and birds losing their homes and etc” Said Mary Odoi
Meanwhile flora and fauna contribute to some of the biggest tourist attractions in Uganda and according to the activists, with the giveaway of Bugoma forest, this will be a story of the past.
However she explained that natural calamities like floods and landslides that have hit the country recently can be attributed to destruction of certain features of the environment like forests. It’s too much and i warned that the trend will continue with the giveaway of Bugoma forest.
“It’s a commitment to addressing climate change concerns including reducing emissions by 22% and keeping the temperature low. One of the contributors to the achievement of these ambitions is to increase tree coverage in order to have carbon gains. However, with Bugoma being given away, we can’t achieve this. I call upon all Uganda to boycott Hoima suger if government can’t listen to us” Added Mary Odoi
THE FAULT BY NEMA
For Bugoma case activists pinned National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) that is full of mafia which connived with the so called investors to take over forest reserve.
On 24th August 2020, NEMA issued a press statement in which the environment body said the only remedy they had was issuing permission on the land for sugarcane growing.
“The best remedy was for NEMA to issue permission on the land whose ownership had been determined by court and the different section of the said land was legitimately approved for undertaking of legal activities including sugarcane plantation on 9. 24sq.miles” Said NEMA in their statement part.
“The forest has a cultural attachment to all Ugandans that it can’t just be given away by money-minded people. It is only impunity and arrogance being expressed by NEMA officials. Bugoma is not just a bunch of trees or a mere forest but a sign of heritage for Uganda. Sugar is not the immediate solution to the problems of climate change we have. We can ably live without sugarcanes and sugar.” Said Owek, Proscovia from Buganda kingdom under climate department
Hussein Kato, the executive director Earth and Rights Initiative believe that they have learnt lessons from Murchison Falls and Mabira giveaways that they can’t take any chances with Bugoma forest at any more.
“To give away Bugoma forest reserve is violation of the basic right to life. This right is not given by anyone apart from God. We know giving away the forest was an error but it can be rectified. It is not too late to reverse the giveaway,” Said Hussein Kato
“Parliament should use its oversight powers to investigate the actions of NEMA, Hoima Sugar Ltd and Ministry of Lands for issuing land titles in forest reserves, approving Environmental and Social Impact Assessment reports in disregarding of national laws and other illegal actions,” Said Dickens Kamugisha, executive director aftica institute for energy (AFIEGO).