Last week, Kamuswaga hired loggers to harvest pine trees from Rakai Forest Reserve for the construction of his leisure center and hotel at Rakai district headquarters.
Rakai district security committee has given Apollo Sansa Kabumbuli, the Kamuswaga of Kooki chiefdom green light to harvest trees from Rakai forest reserve drawing protests from environmental activists and technocrats. Last week, Kamuswaga hired loggers to harvest pine trees from Rakai Forest Reserve for the construction of his leisure center and hotel at Rakai district headquarters.
But on Monday, Rakai district authorities and environmentalists intervened and blocked the loggers from harvesting trees leading to clashes between police and UPDF soldiers assigned by government to Kamuswaga. The environmentalists accused Kamuswaga’s men of cutting trees in the forest without authorization from National Forestry Authority-NFA.
As a result, the district security committee chaired by David Kaboyo, the Rakai RDC convened on Tuesday to chat away forward on the matter. The meeting resolved to give Kamuswaga green light to harvest the trees because they are on his land. Shortly after the meeting, Kaboyo asked police to withdraw from the disputed forest reserve land to allow loggers to continue with their work.
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Stanly Ndawule, the spokesman Kooki Chiefdom says that the Chiefdom had also met and resolved to continue harvesting the pine trees to pave way for planting new trees. He says they resolved to isolate and take tough action against Dan Ssamula, Rakai Town Clrk, James Nkata, the CAO and Jamil Kiyingi, the District Environment Officer who they accused of attempting to weaken Kamusswaga by sabotaging his development projects. He accused the trio of humiliating Kamusswaga and his subjects.
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But Jamil Kiyingi, the Rakai District Environment officer, Mukasa Tibesiggwa, the Rakai NFA branch officer and Daniel Ssamula, the Rakai town clerk insist the ongoing destruction of the forest is illegal. Mukasa Tibesiggwa, the Rakai NFA officer says despite the fact that trees are planted on Kamuswaga’s land they don’t belong to him.
Mukasa explains that Rakai district planted the pine trees in early 1980s to protect Rakai hills which had become bare. He warns that the ongoing destruction of the forest will expose the district to storms. Daniel Ssamula, the Rakai town Clerk says they are planning to take Kamusswaga to court for deforestation and frustrating the district campaign to preserve the environment.
Mukasa claims that in addition to grabbing the forest, Kamusswaga’s animals have destroyed every other tree in the town council yet they spend 5million shillings every year to plant the trees.
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Jamil Kayingi, the Rakai District Environment officer says they will present the impounded trees and power saws from Kamuswaga’s men as exhibits in court.
rakai forest reserve
kooki hotel construction