Bunyoro Kingdom Accuses NFA, Police of Illegal Timber Logging

1927 Views Hoima, Uganda

In short
The accusations come two months after a court order issued by Julia Acio, the Assistant Registrar at Masindi High Court to maintain the status quo on the ownership of the 22 square kilometer land, pending the outcome of the main application filed by NFA challenging the land title.

Bunyoro-Kitara kingdom has accused the National Forestry Authority and the Environment Police of aiding illegal timber logging on the Kyangwali ancestral land.

The accusations come two months after a court order issued by Julia Acio, the Assistant Registrar at Masindi High Court to maintain the status quo on the ownership of the 22 square kilometer land, pending the outcome of the main application filed by NFA challenging the land title.

The title for the land which NFA says is part of the Bugoma Central Forest Reserve in Hoima district has since been cancelled by the Ministry of Lands on grounds that it was issued in error. The kingdom however maintains that the title is genuine because the ministry has never written officially about the said cancellation.

Bunyoro Kingdom Prime minister Norman Lukumu says that the reserve has become a base for illegal logging. Lukumu alleges that there is a conspiracy between NFA and the police to deplete the contested land.
 
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Lukumu adds that the land in contention is of great value to Bunyoro Kingdom because it holds several cultural sites including King Kabalega's tactical base during the fight against the British Colonialists.
 
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Robert Irumba, the kingdom Attorney General says that much as they are battling NFA in legal battles over the ownership of the land, they are still reluctant to sue the police for continuing to deploy on the ancestral land.
 
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However, Jimmy Ouna, an environment specialist with NFA refuted claims that NFA is cutting trees for timber from a reserve under its protection. Ouna says that NFA has worked together with the police to impound timber from illegal loggers.

Julius Hakiza, the Albertine regional police public relations officer says that that at the moment, no complaints have been lodged against individual police officers who might be overstepping their mandate to log on the disputed land.

 

About the author

Thembo Kahungu
Thembo Kahungu is interested in journalism that changes lives. A recent example is when a suspect in state prosecutor Joan Kagezi was held longer than the law states. Kahungu is proud to note that it was his follow up on Geoffrey Kato's unlawful detention that led to the freedom of the boda boda rider.

Previously based in Kasese, Kahungu has been reposted to Hoima town. Kahungu is now the Uganda Radio Network Hoima bureau chief.

Kahungu has been a practicing journalist since 2007. He was a reporter for Radio Messiah and Kasese Guide Radio. He was also the Kasese Daily Monitor freelance writer. He has also been a teacher at Liberty College of Management and Journalism in Kasese district.

Kahungu is deeply interested in investigative journalism. Kahungu has developed a big interest in covering issues to do with Oil, Gas and Mining after attending a fellowship in Ghana in October 2015 under the sponsorship of Natural Resource Governance Institute.