Locals near Mt Elgon National Park in Namisindwa district are expressing outrage over alleged harassment and property destruction by officers from Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in collaboration with Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF).
While UWA claims the residents encroached on land designated for the national park, locals contend mistreatment and loss. Micheal Masika, an NRM chairperson, recounts UWA officials destroying his banana plantation, coercing him to sign an unknown document.
Timbiti David had his onion garden destroyed after refusing to sign documents, seeking help from district authorities without success. Bwayo Emma, Namisindwa District Male Youth Councilor, condemns UWA’s defiance of court orders and plans legal action for contempt of court. He stresses the need for open dialogue balancing conservation with residents’ rights.
Responding to grievances, Samuel Amanya, Chief Warden of Mt Elgon Conservation Area, clarifies the ongoing operation aims to identify individuals within the park but not harm crops. He urges calm, stating only a National ID and LC1 letter are required.
The Mt Elgon Conservation Area, with 5,000 residents across eight districts, plays a crucial role benefiting over 15 million people in its vicinity