Mbarara Municipal Councilors have finally blocked foreign investors from acquiring land on the Ruti Central Forest Reserve. Previous attempts by councilors to block the allocation of the same land hit a dead end after they failed to win the support of the executive lead by Municipal Mayor Wilson Tumwine.
Mbarara Municipal Councilors have finally blocked foreign investors from acquiring land on the Ruti Central Forest Reserve.
Previous attempts by councilors to block the allocation of the same land hit a dead end after they failed to win the support of the executive lead by Municipal Mayor Wilson Tumwine.
In November 2011, Mbarara Municipal Council officially requested the ministry of water and environment to de-gazette 168 hectares from Ruti central forest reserve for the implementation of some projects.
The ministry agreed to de-gazette over 60 hectares of land from Ruti for allocation to private investors in accordance with the council plan.
Later, water and environment minister, Maria Mutagamba, wrote back affirming the ministry’s stand of having considered the establishment of Long Distance Vehicle Park, Jua Kali industry, Brookside milk factory, South African Institute Breweries factory, and a market in Ruti block.
The ministry also allowed training institutions like Uganda Management Institute, ICT training centre and Medical Institute to be allocated land in Rwemitongole block 1 and 2.
But during the Wednesday council session, majority of the councilors led by Francis Asiimwe Ntenge, the representative for Ruti ward, rejected plans to allocate the land to investors on grounds that the local people will be left out.
Ntenge argued that local residents should be given the first priority to develop the gazetted land instead of allocating it to foreign firms.
The councilors overwhelmingly moved a motion to block the move and instructed the town clerk Paul Omoko to immediately put the advert in newspapers for everybody to apply for the development of the said land.
Tumwine, however, insists that local residents lack the capacity to develop the land to the required standards and that’s why council had advocated for foreign investors like South African institute breweries factory to take it over because they have the financial capacity to change the area.
But Omoko says there is no way council can start allocating land to developers before going through proper procedures.
He says there is no shortcut to allocation of land other than open advertisement adding that apparently there are over 500 applicants who have shown interest in acquiring plots on Ruti central forest reserve land but none has been considered yet.
Omoko says council still has to seek more technical advice from the ministry of lands and National Forestry Authority as the rightful owners of the land before any step is taken.
mbarara municipal council
mbarara central forestry reserve land in ruti
ministry of water and environment
national forestry authority
councillors block foreign investors from acquiring ruti land