Mabira Riots: Environmentalists Confident that Message on Forest Giveaway has been Heard

3597 Views Kampala, Uganda
Despite the chaos and death that surrounded today's demonstration against the giveaway of Mabira Forest, environmental campaigners are confident that their message to Government for the preservation of Uganda's natural resources has been heard. The demonstration organized by the Save Mabira Crusade was marred by mob violence in which three people were killed and numerous others seriously injured. Devang Reval, a man on Southeast Asian descent, was killed by a mob near Clock Tower in Kampala. Two Uganda men in their mid-30s, only one identified as Lawrence Serwano a resident of Rubaga Road, were shot to dead in the city center under unclear circumstances. The mob also burned a motorcycle and a truck loaded with sacks of sugar and besieged the Hindu Temple on Burton Street near the Nakasero Market. Property worth millions of shillings was destroyed in the riots. However environmental lobbyists are confident that the petition they handed over to the Speaker of Parliament and the large crowd of protestors will prove to Government that the people of Uganda are against the giveaway of Mabira Forest. Many of the lobbyists condemn today's violence, but say it should not overshadow the proposal to hand over one third of the forest for the expansion of a sugarcane plantation. The executive secretary of the Uganda Joint Christian Council, Rev. Canon Grace Kaiso, was among the demonstrators who gathered at the railways square on Jinja Road early this morning as the letter of protest was delivered to Parliament. He said the Bible authorizes all people to protect the environment and that the church needed to over the public guidance in the Mabira debate. //Cue in: iThe issue of #i Cue out: i# of our country.i// It would have been a very unique environmental demonstration if one of Uganda's most outspoken lobbyists, Conservative Party's Ken Lukyamuzi was missing from the demonstration. Lukyamuzi told the gathering that Mabira Forest belongs to the people of Uganda and that Government is only holding it in trust. The former Member of Parliament, who has presidential aspirations, said it was time for Ugandans to elect an environmentally conscious president. //Cue in: iMabira belongs to #i Cue out: i# an environmental oriented president.i//