They claim that the tight enforcement of the by-laws against accessing the reserve has taken a toll on their survival.
Communities living around Bukaleeba forest reserve in Mayuge want government to relax the tight enforcement of by-laws to allow them access the forest reserve. They claim that the tight enforcement of the by-laws against accessing the reserve has taken a toll on their survival. The affected residents are found in Walumbe, Nakalanga, Bukaleeba and Namugongo villages.
Currently, the residents are prohibited from collecting firewood and growing any kind of food in the reserve for their consumption. Some of the residents say that they were barred from accessing the reserve after they were evicted from their ancestral land in 1996 to pave way for tree planting.
As a result, residents want government to relax the enforcement of the laws to allow them accesses the forest to plant some food for survival. David Okumu, a resident of Walumbe village says that he was assaulted early this year by the forest supervisor when was found waling in the reserve. Walumbe says that they should be allowed to walk freely in the forest reserve to pick firewood.
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Faustino Otengel, a resident of Bukaleeba village accuses the forest workers of extortion and assaulting residents. He says more than 60 residents have been over allegations of criminal trespass in the forest reserve.
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Samuel Nambago, a resident of Nakalanga village says that they have also been stopped from constructing permanent houses. Nambago says that he has been living in Nakalanga village since 1973 but he has not been able to construct even a small house for his family because of the tight regulations.
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But Teddy Nsamba, the Busoga forest company manager says the by – laws are in line with the forest Act of Uganda. The 2003 forest Act prohibits grazing, erecting of buildings or enclosure, planting or cultivation of crops, camping except for forestry purposes. She says the law aims to deter destruction of parts of the forest by individuals residing in the forest reserve.
Martha Asimwe, Mayuge resident district commissioner says that efforts to harmonize the community and the management of Busoga Forest Company are underway. She says several meetings have been held involving the community and management of Busoga Forest Company to find common ground on a peaceful co-existence.
mayuge forest settlers angered by law enforcement
2003 forest act