By Anitta Matsika New Vision/NECJOGHA
Kasese, Uganda – The Rwenzururu kingdom is rallying its subjects to embrace tree planting as one of the ways to solve the various climatic challenges in the Rwenzori region.
The area has suffered extreme weather conditions ranging from drought, storm winds and floods. Kasese suffered devastating floods in 2013, 2014 and 2015 that left properties worth billions of shillings destroyed. In July, Bundibugyo district was hit by devastating floods destroying the Bundibugyo-Lamia road which developed cracks.
Experts have attributed the harsh climatic conditions to the effects of global warming a universal climatic issue that is associated with environmental degradation. The world continues to grapple with global warming.
Stanley Baluku, the secretary of the prime ministerial commission of the Rwenzururu Kingdom says the kingdom is conscious of the natural disasters that have rocked the area and believes the easier way to mitigate them is through conserving the environment. Baluku says afforestation and re-afforestation have been proven to be an effective way of conserving the environment.
According to Baluku, if every Rwenzururu kingdom subject could plant just one tree, the one million tree-planting target would be met. Most of the Rwenzururu kingdom loyalists are people who belong to the Bakonzo ethnicity. There are more than one million Bakonzo people living in Uganda.
It is against this background that Baluku has directed each kingdom subject to plant at least one tree before this year comes to an end. He adds the effects of global warming directly affect the kingdom not just because the subjects are affected but also because the kingdom has a sentimental attachment to snows that are only found on Mt Rwenzori. Rwenzururu is a lhukonzo word to mean snow.
The kingdom was named after snow because it seats at the snow-capped Mt Rwenzori (originally called Rwenzururu). He says the kingdom is engaging different partners enable them plant trees on the bare hills of the areas of Kasese, Bundibugyo, Ntoroko and Bunyangabu.
Kasese district environmental officer Augustine Kooli appreciated the kingdom and other stakeholders for their efforts in planting more trees which he said is key in environmental management and conservation. Kooli, however, said tree planting will be in vain if it is not supplemented with other conservation efforts like the protection of wetlands and river banks, and the use of good farming practices.