Cabinet Endorses Uganda Wildlife Bill 2015

2231 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Information and National Guidance Minister, Jim Muhwezi, says the bill arose after several issues affecting wildlife conservation emerged. These include oil exploration around protected areas, increasing conflicts between people and wildlife, poaching, illicit trans-boundary wildlife trade and institutional changes.

Cabinet has endorsed the Uganda Wildlife Bill 2015, which seeks to provide compensation for people affected by stray animals from protected areas. Information and National Guidance Minister, Jim Muhwezi, says the bill arose after several issues affecting wildlife conservation emerged. These include oil exploration around protected areas, increasing conflicts between people and wildlife, poaching, illicit trans-boundary wildlife trade and institutional changes.
 
 
According to Muhwezi, the challenges necessitated a review of the Uganda Wildlife Act, 1996 to cater for the emerging challenges. As a result, cabinet has approved a set of 15 principles of the Uganda Wildlife Bill 2015. They include compensating those affected by Wildlife, establishment of Wildlife Committees comprising of local Governments, Uganda Wildlife Authority officials and civil society groups to harmonize working relations between wildlife managers and the community.
 
 
The bill also seeks to provide for the creation of wildlife conservancies where private actors will support and enhance the conservation and management of wildlife on private land. According to Muhwezi, cabinet has authorised the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities to gazette and table the Uganda Wildlife bill, 2015 in parliament for debate and approval. The Wildlife and human conflict has been a major challenge in many parts of the country.
 

 
In March this year, up to 13 stray elephants raided Yaratyer village in Kiteny parish, Lukole Sub County in Agago district and destroyed a hectare of cassava garden belonging to Jovin Okot. However, due to the absence of the law, Okot and many others like him can't secure compensation from government for the loses. In Nwoya district, the wildlife and human conflict has been enormous as hectares of plantations are ravaged mostly by elephants and buffaloes. 



Ogenga Latigo, a large scale farmer in Northern Uganda says in 2013, he lost over 60 acres of his 1000 acres of maize and rice in Purongo to wildlife. He says the law is enacted it will be very helpful in supporting farmers and communities neighboring the park. He cites Lapono and Pacwa parishes in Agago Sub County, which are constantly under attack from wildlife. 



Meanwhile, cabinet has also endorsed the Anti-Pornography regulations Bill 2015.
According to Muhwezi, there was a scrutiny in the provisions of the Anti-pornography act 2014 with the view of addressing ambiguity such as misinterpretation of the law to mean a law banning mini or short dresses in order to ease its applicability in Uganda.



The new guidelines specifically prohibit obscene publications and staging of erotic and nude drama, or dances in Uganda. It also prohibits broadcasting of sexually explicit material in form of pictures, videos and audios among others. Muhwezi says the pornographic committee, which was recently constituted will look out for such materials and confiscate them.
 

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.