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Weak governance costing us forests - Mpigi officials

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Pupils lift a banner as they lead a procession

Pupils lift a banner as they lead a procession of people in Mpigi District during the World Forest Day on Friday. PHOTO BY MARTIN SSEBUYIRA 

By Martin ssebuyira

Posted  Tuesday, March 25  2014 at  02:00
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The Mpigi Resident District Commissioner, Mr Apollo Bwebare, has blamed the increasing rate of forest destruction on weak governance and failure to provide alternative sources of energy.

Speaking during the World Forest Day on Friday, Mr Bwebare said: “The problem is still weak governance of the forest sector and failure to provide alternative sources of energy making 98 per cent Ugandans depend on charcoal and fire wood.”

He said the current rate of forest destruction can cause a world war because European and Asian countries that have already cleared their forests cannot look on when those in Africa that are their only alternative are being cleared.
The district chairperson, Mr John Mary Luwakanya, advised Local Government and Central Government to coordinate operations to evict encroachers from forest reserves.

“I have risked my post as the district chairman to spearhead the eviction of encroachers from forest reserves,” Mr Luwakanya said. Mr Collin Oloya, the assistant commissioner Wetlands, who represented central government officials, said they should revisit the old district forestry service to help in enforcement.

“We are lobbying the Ministry of Finance to help us re-establish the old District Forestry Service because it was more efficient than employing district forest officers who cannot monitor all the district reserves,” he said.
Meanwhile, some civil society organisations criticised government officials who were invited to the event for failing to show up.

“It is a shame for Ministry of Water to organise this important event and leave it for school children and Mpigi officials as if it was a district event yet Uganda is losing its forests at an alarming rate,” an official in one of the CSOs, said.

mssebuyira@ug.nationmedia.com