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Kanungu, Kisoro leaders want road through Bwindi

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Rangers lead tourists on gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Rangers lead tourists on gorilla tracking in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park recently. 

By ARANS TABARUKA

Posted  Wednesday, December 25  2013 at  02:00

In Summary

Leaders reject claims by conservations that the road will endanger the lives of the gorillas and interfere with their habitat.

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Kanungu

A joint meeting between Kanungu and Kisoro district councils on Friday resolved to write to the executive director Uganda Wildlife Authority, to allow a road connecting the two districts to be constructed through Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

The nine-kilometre road would start from River Ivi in Nyabweshenyera Sub-county in Kisoro and go up to Buhoma in Kayonza Sub-county in Kanungu.
Conservationists have been opposed to opening the road through the forest, arguing it would endanger lives of the gorillas and interfere with their habitat.

Kisoro and Kanungu districts have habituated gorillas but because of lack of a direct route, tourists at Buhoma in Kanungu are made to travel 223 kms to access other habituated gorillas in Kisoro instead of connecting to the area through the forest which is about five miles.

Kanungu District chairperson Josephine Kasya proposed that leaders from the two districts arrange a high profile stakeholders’ meeting to have issue of the road resolved by end of January. “This country has lost a lot of revenue due to lack of a (direct) connection between the two districts,” Ms Kasya said.

Bufumbira North MP John Nizeyimaana Kamara said there are a lot of intermarriages between people in the two districts and that the road would unite them further. He said habituating gorillas means bringing them closer to human beings and, therefore, the road will not cause any harm to the animals. “Even a gorilla is 99 per cent human and, therefore, can easily exist within the environment of humankind,” Mr Kamara said.

Benefits of constructing the road

The road, once constructed, will bring security benefits in the two districts because security personnel would easily access Kanungu and Kisoro incase security of threats. It would also boost trade between the two districts.

Bwindi-Mgahinga Impenetrable National Park area conservation manager Mr Pontius Ezuma said that the issue cannot be resolved at the local level. “This issue is beyond me, and even the president while in Kayonza said the people need to value the national park,” Mr Ezuma said.

The leaders agreed that there is no scientific or genuine reason that conservationists give for sabotaging the road construction. They said opposition to the road project has derailed the social economic development of the communities in Kisoro and Kanungu.

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