Kigezi, Uganda — Security officials and Environmental conservationists in Kigezi have accused the National Forestry Authority- NFA and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) of being involved in the destruction of two forests and a game park in the region.
The forests in question are; Echuya Central Forest Reserve that is located in Kisoro and Rubanda Districts, and Queen Elizabeth National Park and Maramagambo Forest in Bwambara sub county, Rukungiri district.
The officials raised the concern on Wednesday during the opening of a three day workshop on rebranding the ecotourism held at Cephas Inn in Kabale Municipality. The workshop that ends on Friday is organized by Kigezi Tourism Cluster.
The officials accuse NFA and UWA officials of working with those who destroy these forests, yet they should be the ones to take the lead in conserving them.
Faith Tushabe, the Executive Director of African International Christian Ministry (AICM), said that they recently visited Echuya Central Forest Reserve in Rubanda District and were shocked after they found several acres of the forest destroyed through deforestation and harvesting of bamboo.
Tushabe said that she once found NFA officials cutting trees from the forests. She wants the government to intervene and save the forests for the future generation.
Jane Amumpeire, the Rubanda District Natural Resources Officer, said that if nothing is done in stopping some officials in National Forestry Authority - NFA and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) from destroying the forests, the natural resources especially forests will be no more in future.
Jackson Kiiza Mugarura, the Bwambara sub county Gombolola Internal Security Officer said that they have on several occasions accused UWA officials of destroying Queen Elizabeth National Park and Maramagambo Forest, but nothing has been done.
Daniel Irunga, a senior Marketing Officer at Uganda Tourism Board - UTB said that he will report the matter to top officials of Uganda Tourism Board and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) executive director so that the matter can be handled urgently.
Eng. Ivan Mbabazi Batuma, the Chairperson for Kigezi Tourism Cluster while opening the workshop appealed to tourism stakeholders in the region to cooperate and work together if they are to transform the sector in the region.