Uganda Wildlife Authority has slashed crops of about 500 residents who are alleged to have encroached on the Mt. Elgon National Park land.
The affected people are those leaving in areas of 3 villages of Kusi, Ngagai and Malara in Bufupa parish Masaba sub-county in Sironko district.
Patrick Wabugoya, the LC III chairperson of Masaba Sub County the affected crops including carrots, cabbage, Irish potatoes, maize, and onions among others are worth hundreds of millions of Shillings.
The chairman has condemned the UWA act of slashing the crops, saying that he is going to mobilize the affected people to sue the government for malicious damage.
Masaba Sub County LC V Councilor, Deo Nabugodi, explained that in March this year people neighboring Mt Elgon national park and their area local leaders had a meeting with UWA officials. In the meeting, it was resolved that residents replant trees in the areas where they have been cut in the park as well as use the land for farming activities.
He explains that residents started planting trees and cultivating crops as agreed but they were shocked by the malicious damages to their crops by UWA.
One of the affected citizens Titus Wanya, says that he has lost over Shillings 40 million due to the destruction of his Irish potatoes and cabbages. Wanya says the destruction of his crops will affect the education of his five children as he has remained with nothing.
Isiah Sasaga Wanzira, the Budadiri East constituency Member of Parliament has condemned the manner in which UWA behaved, saying that he is going to follow the matter until the affected people get Justice.
Sasaga promised to raise that matter on the floor of parliament and urged the government to come up with clear boundaries for the resident’s land and national park.
Frederick Kizza, the UWA manager for the Eastern and Northern regions has dismissed claims that they allowed residents to cultivate in the park. He admits that it’s true they had a meeting with the residents where the proposal was made but their bosses in Kampala rejected it.
Kizza says that they will carry out similar operations in other districts neighboring the Mt. Elgon national park like Bulambuli, Mbale, Bududa, and Namisindwa where people have encroached on parkland claiming that they were permitted.