By Weswa Ronnie
Leaders from Bugisu region have accused Uganda Wildlife Authority staff members of always soliciting for bribes from locals neighboring Mt. Elgon National Park in exchange for Park land for cultivation.
This was raised yesterday, 11th September 2022 by John Musila, the MP representing Bubulo East Constituency in Namisindwa district while addressing the Media at Elgon fm after his radio talk show.
This follows the slashing of crops like maize, Irish potatoes, onions among others belonging to people neighboring Mt. Elgon National Park at Masaba Sub County in Sironko district by UWA who accused the residents of encroaching on the park land.
Musila says that his people from sub counties neighboring Mt Elgon Elgon national park like Bukokho, Bumbo give UWA staff money ranging from Shs50,000 to Shs500,000 to be offered space in the park for cultivation and logs for timber.
“It is bad for them to change and destroy people’s crops yet they have eaten their money,” MP Musila said.
Musila urged UWA leaders to start punishing their own staff before cutting people’s crops whom he said are innocent.
Stephen Wabugo, the LCIII chairperson of Masaba Sub County and Alie Madoi, the Buyobo sub county district councilor in Sironko district claim that they have photos of UWA staff exchanging goats and other animals with local people in the exchange for park land for cultivation.
They add that UWA officers should know that people don’t just encroach on the park but they are allowed by their staff after giving them a bribe.
Meanwhile Allen Nambozo, the Liaison Officer at UWA Mt. Elgon National Park accused the residents for bribing UWA staff saying according to the laws, the giver and receiver are held accountable for corruption.
Nambozo urged people neighboring the park to stop giving anything to any UWA staff to get land for cultivation in the park because it’s illegal and their crops will be destroyed.