NFA accuses Mbarara council of encroachment

Mr Muhammad Byansi, a councillor of Mbarara Municipal Council, at the NFA land in Ruti ward, which the council had allocated to investors. PHOTO BY RAJAB MUKOMBOZI

MBARARA- The National Forestry Authority (NFA) has accused Mbarara Municipal Council (MMC) of encroaching on its land in Ruti ward, Nyamitanga Division.
The NFA officials say the municipal council administration has illegally allocated plots in the 50-hectare forest land to investors.

Mr Peter Ogwai, the Mbarara NFA plantation manager, on Monday said while there were plans to de-gazette the forest and give it to the municipal council, the process had never been completed.

“Mbarara Municipal Council, through the Ministry of Water and Environment, in 2010 requested for this land and the minister then, Ms Miria Mutagamba, wrote to us over the same, but the process of de-gazetting has not been completed,” said Mr Ogwai.

He argued that the municipal council cannot take the land without an occupation permit.

Mr Ogwai warned that the allocations are illegal and that whoever starts any development on the land will be evicted.

The Uganda Management Institute had been allocated a plot on the said land but it has since been evicted.

“After the allocation under council minute MMC/FC/22/2012 , we contracted Wood Fix Technical Services at Shs15m to fence the land which NFA came and destroyed,” Ms Harriet Adakun, the UMI public relations officer, said recently.

On Tuesday, the municipal council speaker, Mr Muzamil Ssekaja, who signed the minute that allocated UMI part of the forest land, said they had been misled by the Water and Environment minister’s letter. “We based on the minister’s letter to allocate plots but NFA told us the process of de-gazetting had not been finalised. We have since stopped the allocations,” said Mr Ssekajja.


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