By Weswa Ronnie, ELGON FM/NECJOGHA
Mbale, Uganda – Residents of Mbale district from four sub counties neighbouring Mount Elgon game reserve have stormed the district head offices accusing Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) of extending its boundaries into their lands.
UWA has embarked on a programme of redemarcating its boundaries of the Mount Elgon game reserve.
Badiru Mafabi one of the affected residents from Bubyangu Sub County says that they stormed the district head offices because they wanted district leaders’ intervention into the matter.
He adds that since UWA officers started planting marker stones in their lands none of their district leader has come out to condemn such.
Swaliki Nambiwo from Wanale Sub County also adds that during the planting of marker stones their crops like cassava, irish potatoes, cabbage among others have been slashed.
Abudala Magidu Busito the LC3 chairperson of Bubwagu Sub County says that over 5,000 homes have been curved into the game reserve during the ongoing mark stone excise instalment.
He named the four affected sub counties in Mbale district neighbouring Mt Elgon national park as Bubyangu, Wanale, Budwale and Busano Sub County.
Magidu says that as local leaders they have been preventing people from digging beyond 1993 gazetted boundaries but they are wondering why again they have encroached on their land.
Muhamed Mafabi the Mbale district speaker also doubling as district councillor representing Bubyangu sub county blamed UWA of starting regazetting exercise without involving local leaders.
Gershom Sizomu Wambende the Member of Parliament representing Bungokho North constituency in Mbale district has expressed his bitterness with UWA’s actions.
He urged Uganda UWA to stop the ongoing exercise of installing marks tones on people’s land neighbouring the park saying that the issue been referred to parliament.
However Alfred Kizza the regional manager of UWA eastern region confirmed that the ongoing excise of redrawing the boundaries in all districts neighbouring Mt Elgon game reserve is following the law.
“There is no reason for involving local leaders in the excise yet they clearly know the true boundaries of the reserve,” Kizza said..
Kizza also says that in 2017 they had wanted to reopen the boundaries of Mt Elgon national but they were failed by politicians whom they will not allow this time again yet people are slowly encroaching on park land.
Kizza called for calm to locals saying that nobody is going to chase them on their land until parliament coming up with final decision to either evict them or continue working in gazetted park land boundaries.