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Voters in Kyenjojo district want leaders who are seeking elective offices to address the issue of deforestation in the district.
Deforestation is alarmingly high in Bugaki, Matiri, Rugombe, Kihura, Nyantungo and Nyankwanzi. Several hectares of forest cover have been cleared to pave way for human settlement while in some areas, the trees are cut down for timber and used as firewood.
However to the surprise of the residents, the leaders seem not to care and have remained quiet over the issue. It has not even featured any where in the campaigns of candidates contesting for different elective offices.
Now the voters say is time the leaders to find a lasting solution to deforestation.
Ronald Ajuna, a resident of Bugaki trading centre says that he is not happy that the leaders are not taking the issue seriously. He says that residents have hinted on the matter at campaign rallies of aspiring candidates, but they have been ignored.
Ajuna says that the politicians are only addressing issues of bad roads and lack of water. He says that if the issue is not addressed, the district could experience the worst repurcusions of aridity.
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Deborah Asiimwe, a resident of Rugombe trading centre, says several trees have been cut down even with the knowledge of the leaders, but they have done nothing to punish the culprits.
Asiimwe also says the leaders say that it is the work of government departments like forestry and environment and not them who are supposed to address the issue.
Patrick Baguma, the Executive Director Joint Effort to Save the Environment (JESE), a Non Governmental Organization dealing in environment conservation in Kyenjojo says that the voters have a right to demand the leaders to address deforestation because they are now aware of the dangers.
Baguma says that the leaders fear to enforce the laws on deforestation and are dodging the issue during the campaigns because they fear to lose votes in the elections
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In 2009, the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) released a report indicating that deforestation will continue to be a major problem in Kyenjojo because 85% of the population in the district lives in rural areas and use firewood for cooking.