By Abubakar Bin Siraji
Over 150 farmers in two villages of Busano Sub County in Mbale district are counting losses after Uganda Wildlife Authority slashed down all their crops for alleged encroachment on Mount Elgon National Park land.
The incident occurred on Tuesday, 12th December, 2023 as early as 8:00AM. The affected residents are from two villages of Luwelele and Mabaale in Busano Parish, Busano Sub County.
John Bosco Wambusi, the LC III chairperson of Busano Sub County said the affected crops including carrots, cabbage, Irish potatoes, Bananas, and onions among others are worth hundreds of millions of Shillings.
He condemned UWA for slashing the crops, saying that he is going to mobilize the affected people to sue government for malicious damage.
Busano former Sub County LC V Councilor, Karim Wanga Muliro, says that in March 2019, people neighboring Mt Elgon National Park and their area local leaders had a meeting with UWA officials where 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.
Dison Wanambwa Mulondo, one of the affected residents, says that he has lost over Shillings 10 million following the destruction of his Irish potatoes and cabbages.
Mulondo says that the destruction will affect the education of his 4 children and the refund of money for PDM since he has remained with nothing.
Mafabi Muhammad, the chairman LC 5 Mbale district condemned the manner in which UWA behaved, saying that he is going to follow the matter until the affected people get Justice and urged government to come up with clear boundaries for the residents’ land and National Park.
Samuel Amanya, the UWA Warden 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.
Amanya says that they will carry out similar operations in other districts neighboring the Mt. Elgon National Park like Bulambuli, Bududa and Namisindwa where people have encroached on Park land claiming that they were permitted.