New Vision (Kampala)

Uganda: Museveni Orders Forest Evictions

President Yoweri Museveni has directed the immediate eviction of encroachers currently occupying the Kyenjojo forest reserve, saying they must leave the forest before the Government uses the relevant organs to effect the eviction.

"Those in the forest must leave now. The residents and leaders must work hard towards ensuring the protection of the environment by stopping the destruction of the forest," he said.

His directive comes after part of the natural forest along the Mubende-Fort Portal road was cut and the trees burnt for agriculture and charcoal. The encroachers have defied several orders to vacate the forest and instead, intensified its destruction by erecting semi-permanent houses close to the highway.

The President was speaking on Thursday at a civilian veterans rally at Butiti Primary Teachers' College, Kyenjojo district. The President was in the region on a four-day sensitisation campaign to improve family incomes as part of Government efforts to reinforce the poverty eradication fight among veterans. He addressed rallies in Kabarole and Kyenjojo districts.

Museveni urged the residents to support the veterans in waging war against poverty, noting that a village person can lead a decent life like the town people if they engaged in modern agro production in cost effective enterprises.

He said when the NRM came to power in 1986 the national revenue was only sh5b compared to the current Sh9 trillion. This he said has enabled the Government provide Sh20b to Kyenjojo district per year for rendering services to the people.

The President urged residents to cultivate at least one acre of coffee, one of fruits such as mangoes, oranges and pineapples, one of bananas to ensure food security and elephant grass for dairy cows and also engage in projects such as piggery and poultry.

Museveni also announced the appointment of Major Joseph Mwebesa to command the Kyenjojo production zone.

While still in the tour of the region, Museveni commissioned the Kitere Municipal solid waste composite plant in Fort Portal's west division and a power line to Kitere that is part of the wider power supply to Fort Portal Municipality worth Sh710m, as part of the Government's power distribution programme to empower small scale enterprises in peri urban areas.

The Kitere plant that is jointly funded by the World Bank, NEMA and Fort Portal Municipality, recycles garbage collected from the municipality into organic manure suitable for agriculture and biogas.

The President was accompanied by the Minister for Energy and Mineral Development, Eng. Irene Muloni.

The President who was visibly impressed by the technology at the plant pledged to look into some of the challenges faced by the facility.

Museveni also met with a delegation of investors from Haldor Topsoe, a technology firm based in Denmark. The delegation was led by the company's chief executive officer, Bjerne S. Clausen.

They were accompanied by the Danish ambassodor to Uganda, Dan E. Frederiksen and the Uganda Deputy Head of mission to Denmark, Ambassador Danny M. Ssozi. The company is interested in producing fertilizers from oil by-products.

Clausen informed President Museveni that their is a leading technology provider in Amonia chemical required in fertilizer production.

Clausen said once the plant is established in Uganda, it will create 10,00 jobs directly and 10,000 indirectly and will greatly boost the agricultural sector in the country.

The President welcomed the investors and pledged Government's full support for the project. "I totally support this one. I warmly welcome you to Uganda. In fact, we need it," President Museveni stressed.

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