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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

#Uganda corrupt govt leaders giving away forest land for "development" - #Deforestation


KAMPALA- Environmental activists have challenged government on issuing land titles to developers in forest reserves.

In a report presented at a meeting about issuance of land titles in central forest reserves yesterday, the activists also accused politicians of facilitating fraudulent acquisition of forest land.

“Corruption is one of the main drivers for the reducing forest cover,” said Ms Ephrance Nakiyingi, a project officer for environmental governance at the Anti-Corruption Coalition in Uganda during a land meeting in Kampala yesterday.

Ms Nakiyingi identified the worst affected forests as Budongo and Bugoma in Bunyoro; Namanve, Kitubulu, Bufulu, Mugomba, Kyewaga, Kajjansi, Gunda and Nonve in Wakiso District; Matiri in Kabarole and Sango Bay in Masaka.

She said despite several government pronouncements to cancel illegal titles issued on forest reserves, more than 50 titles have not yet been cancelled.

“There are enormous acres of forest land which have been converted to freehold ownership and are in the hands of high level placed individuals, real estate developers and cultural institutions,” Ms Nakiyingi added.

She said in Bugoma forest a freehold title of 5,777 hectares in Buhaguzi block in Hoima District was offered to the Omukama of Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom who later on leased it to Hoima Sugar Company Limited for 99 years.

Last year, the National Forest Authority sued the Omukama jointly with the sugar company, challenging the land title but the case is still pending in the High Court in Masindi.

Mr Robert Opio, the acting commissioner for Land Registration, said the situation of illegal titles issued on forest reserves calls for joint effort among stakeholders to find a lasting solution.

He said his department lies at the tail end of the land registration and blamed district land boards and local land committees for the mess in the land transactions.

Water and environment minister Samuel Cheptoris said he is aware of possession of illegal land titles on forest reserves but said efforts are underway to cancel them.

DAILY MONITOR

☝☝#Uganda will pay a very big price for deforestation. This year is just an appetizer.


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