Residents Battle UWA over National Park Intrusion

1687 Views Kasese, Uganda

In short
Kahendero is one of the six landing sites bordering Queen Elizabeth National park along the shores of Lake George. However, area residents claim that much of their land was taken away by Uganda Wildlife Authority at the re-demarcation of Queen Elizabeth National Park in 1992.

Residents of Kahendero landing site in Kasese district are demanding for the fresh demarcation of boundaries at Queen Elizabeth National Park in order to quell tensions in the area.

Kahendero is one of the six landing sites bordering Queen Elizabeth National park along the shores of Lake George.  However, area residents claim that much of their land was taken away by Uganda Wildlife Authority at the re-demarcation of Queen Elizabeth National Park in 1992.

Dan Katongole, one of the residents says that they have failed to expand their settlement as the population increases since much of the land is on the water table. The landing site has a population of about 3000 people according to the 2014 national housing and population census.

Elly Asiimwe, a social activist at the site says the population is putting more pressure on the water body as more and more people are engaged in farming.

Juma Alobe, the area LCI Chairperson told Uganda Radio Network revising the park boundaries is the only solution to the tensions between residents and Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA.

Nelson Guma, the Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area manager says UWA has held meetings with the residents and agreed to survey the boundaries in order to revert to the original boundaries that were in place before the National Park was gazetted over 60 years ago.

He asked the residents of Kahendero landing site to remain calm as their matters are being handled by UWA.

In 2009, residents of Katunguru landing site on Kazinga Channel erected several houses in order to reclaim part of the land that was allegedly grabbed by UWA. The buildings were later dismantled after mediation by the district leadership.