The National Forest Authority is worried of the increasing number of people who are encroaching on the National Forest land in districts like Kibaale, Kagadi and Kakumiro thus cutting down all the trees for farming a factor that may prolong the dry spells in the area.
According to the sector Manager of National forest Authority in the
area, Uzzia Ndyanabo said that five forests mention Kagombe,
Nyabiku, Kanoga, Ruzanyire and Gukama have all been degraded and now people are just using this forest to plant their food. He added that in the above mentioned districts, they have 16 forests which make up 35000 hectares of land and the five forests that they have encroached on are on 9000 hectares and this entire land being utilised illegally.
Ndyanabo said, that people in kibaale have been experiencing three seasons in which they could plant crops but due to deforestation practices now they have only one season which has affected the entire Bunyoro sub region and thus seeking the government intervention.
Ndyanabo added that the destruction of these forests is supported by the area politicians, saying in the last 2016 elections
politicians told people who had encroached on the forest land that the land was a free land and the district land board of Kibaale solicited money from people in exchange for land which belongs to the National forest Authority.
He said that people started encroaching on the forest land in 2013 and in 2016 thereby increasing after being allowed by the Kibaale district land board contrary to the normal procedure. The population in this area is rapidly growing due to the increasing number of people from districts like Kibaale and South Western Uganda, Kisolo, Rwenzori Sub Region, and others from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda; who have formed pressure groups to bring relatives to Uganda and settle on forest land which is illegally given to them by the district land board.
Ndyanabo added that they got a court order to open boundaries of their forest land but they have so far done so to one which is known as Bugombe and costingthem worth 100 Millions in 2016, but was later petitioned in court by the area politicians. We tried to reach the Kibaale Resident District Commissioner Kisembo Alaari and the district chairperson for their side of the story but were out of reach by press time.