The ongoing destruction of Bugoma forest alongside numerous cultural sites encroached on with impunity is truly messing up the tourism potential of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom and the country at large, says First Deputy Prime Minister for Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom.
In an interview with Kazi-njema News, Mr John Apollo Rwamparo, who is also the kingdom Minister for Tourism said he could not hold any more as reports of destruction continue flowing.
“I am now emphasising it to Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom Parliament (Orukurato) to make a visible move to protect it [Bugoma forest]. The tourism potential of Bugoma now at risk should not be lost”, said Mr Rwamparo.
He also stated plans of demarcating all cultural sites in the kingdom to prevent further encroachment; citing Haibaale and Kibiro sites in Kigorobya county, Hoima district and a tree to commemorate the return of sub-counties in Bugangaizi as cultural sites already degraded with impunity.
Mr Rwamparo spoke to this website after presenting a work plan and budget for tourism to the Orukurato.
Mr Isaac Kalembe Biryomumaiso, the Speaker (Omutalindwa) of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom said the Orukurato appreciates the value of Bugoma forest but the court battles underway are also a challenge.
“This cabinet found the issue on the table but I can assure you that it will be sorted. But of course the ongoing degradation is worrying”, he said.
Tourism is Uganda’s leading foreign exchange income earner for now. Two weeks ago, a forest communities living around Bugoma Central Forest Reserve received the news about the death of an elephant for the first time in their history.
The Uganda Wild Life Authority (UWA) said the elephant died of starvation after getting stuck in a muddy stream looking for water.
It happened less than a year after the National Forestry Authority (NEMA) green-lighted Hoima Sugar Limited to develop a 9.2 square kilometre-piece of land it identifies as grassland.
But local leaders and communities identify it as a forest not different from other forested parts of Bugoma.
The developer is seriously turning the vegetation into charcoal and timber clearing the ground for sugarcane plantation without excuse.