As efforts to conserve forests as habitats for chimpanzees continue through soccer tournaments in Bunyoro, government is being criticised for keeping a blind eye to perpetrators of Bugoma forest destruction.
During a Cross Cultural Foundation of Uganda (CCFU) Ekiteera (chimpanzee) Cup in Kikuube District, Mr Ibrahim Bainomugisa, a resident of Nkondo 1 Village in Kabwoya Sub-county, Kikuube District, wondered why government that is encouraging people to conserve forests in the country looks on as Bugoma Central Forest Reserve continues to be destroyed by Hoima Sugar Limited.
He says by being carefree to intervene and salvage Bugoma forest from the perpetrators, it is an indication that government is not walking the talk as well as being viewed as a backer to the destroyers of the habitat that hosts chimpanzees that are among the primates that attract tourists into the country with the consequential foreign exchange earnings.
Mr Bainomugisa adds that people neighbouring Bugoma forest are feeling the pinch of its destruction since they are now experiencing the incursion of chimpanzees to gardens destroying their food crops.
He urges high placed government stakeholders to be outstanding environmental conservation models by fighting against forest destruction to enable chimpanzees live in their habitat to avert human-wildlife conflict.
Ms Everce Muhumuza, a resident of the same village treasures conserving forests as habitats for chimpanzees saying there is a cultural attachment between the ape and her Abasiita clan adding that from time immemorial, clan elders have maintained their teaching about the relationship between the chimpanzee and their clan.
Ms Muhumuza says she has also followed suit by teaching her children about how they can live with chimpanzees telling them to adhere to the likes of the chimpanzees for peaceful co-existence.
Mr Alex Byensi, a private forest owner cum an elder in Kabwoya sub-county says for many years, chimpanzees have been associated with the Abasiita clan based on the legendary anecdote between the two.
He also says the Ababyasi clan in Bunyoro correlates with the chimpanzee as their totem, thus, creating a long standing relationship that does not allow clan members to harm the animal.
The CCFU Coordinator for Kabwoya and Muhorro sub-county and town council in Kikuube and Kagadi districts respectively and tournament organiser, Herbert Kelly Aliija says the programme is meant to promote culture, protect chimpanzee and their habitats and encourage communities surrounding chimpanzees’ habitats especially the youth to pass the information to their fellow youth on how environment can be protected.
The match was hosted at Nkondo playing field on Sunday, February 14, 2021 and finals will also be played on the same pitch.
Eight clans are participating in the Ekiteera Cup with four in Muhorro town council, Kagadi district and four others in Kabwoya sub-county, Kikuube district.
The tournament is sponsored by CCFU- a non government organisation working towards protecting culture and the environment specifically chimpanzees in Bunyoro and Ruwenzori regions.