By Weswa Ronnie
Uganda Wildlife Authority staff at Mt. Elgon National Park located in Bugisu region have been accused of soliciting for bribes from locals for permission to grow crops in the restricted Park Land.
This was revealed by the Member of Parliament, Namisindwa County in Namisindwa district Apollo Masika while speaking to our reporter in an exclusive interview on Thursday, 18th January, 2024 at his home located at senior quarters in Mbale city.
Masika says this vice is rampant in the sub counties neighbouring the Elgon national like Mukoto, Buwabwala, and Teskululu.
He says that the government and them as leaders have tried to sensitize locals about dangers of encroaching on the park and advantages of having the park.
Masika says that the majority have heard and followed their advice but some of the UWA staff go ahead and convince people neighbouring the park to pay them between Shs500,000 to two million shillings to allow them to carry out farming on the Park land.
The MP also says that people gave him evidence by showing him mobile money transaction messages after the same officers turned against them by slashing their crops last week.
He condemned the act, saying this is corruption between UWA staff and locals, noting that this is going to cause the disappearance of the national park in the coming few years unless serious actions are taken.
However, Samuel Amanya, the UWA manager Mbale has refuted the allegations saying he has been sensitizing the public on media to report UWA staff who for money from them, but he has never received any reported case.