Campaigners for the conservation of Bugoma forest have taken another stride by establishing a local five-member task force to join in the fight against the destruction of Bugoma Central Forest Reserve.
The task force that comprises residents neighbouring Bugoma forest in Kabwoya Sub-county, Kikuube District is working hand in hand with Civic Response on Environment and Development (CRED) and Navigators of Development Association (Navoda) to campaign against the destruction of the forest whose trees are being depleted through indiscriminate felling in favour of a sugarcane plantation.
The members have been drawn from various villages adjacent to the forest including Hassan Mugenyi from Nyairongo village, Charles Twongireho, Ponsiano Mubangizi and Lamula Kedressi Asasira all from Rwembaaho village and Anatole Bagenda from Kabegaramire since they have a stronger attachment to it.
Mr Dickens Kamugisha, the chairman of the Save Bugoma Campaign cum Chief Executive Officer for Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) says the move to form the task force hinges on the resolute response of the management of Hoima Sugar to meet with the environmentalists and discuss the conservation of Bugoma central forest reserve.
He wonders that despite the filing of the suit in courts of law against the destruction of Bugoma forest and more so, President Yoweri Museveni’s order stopping the act while appearing on one of the local radio stations in Masindi recently, tree felling continues in the forest day by day.
Mr Kamugisha says as efforts to have the lease of Bugoma forest to Hoima Sugar annulled continue; plans to establish other task forces in other areas bordering the forest in Bunyoro are underway.
He calls upon religious leaders and other people who cherish and love the environment to join hands and save Bugoma forest from the unrelenting hands of destroyers.
Mr Benon Tusingwire, the Executive Director for Navoda, says the destruction of Bugoma forest perplexes him because it is being perpetuated by people who know the significance of forests as carbon sinks as well as providing oxygen for human life.
He wonders how the government of Uganda is planning to borrow Shs75b for supporting tree planting in the Albertine region as a way of protecting the environment yet the natural Bugoma forest is being cut in the countenance of the authorities.
Mr Tusingwire urges the people of Bunyoro to raise up their voices together to show the authorities in government that destroying Bugoma forest is detrimental to Bunyoro, the entire world and wildlife.
He says the destruction of Bugoma forest, a known habitat for gorillas and chimpanzees among others results in human wildlife conflict adding that the current animal incursion on people and their crops is due to such destruction.
Ms Lamula Asasira, one of the members on the local task force recounts the time when students used to go for study tours to Bugoma forest, how it acted as a source of food and herbal medicine unlike today when it is being destroyed.
She fears that the future climate of Bunyoro and Uganda in general lies in shambles, appealing to the highest authorities in government to intervene and save the forest and flora and fauna in it for the benefit of all.
Mr Bashir Twesigye, the Executive Director for CRED says plans to hold meetings with all political leaders from village council to the President are being hatched with intent to save Bugoma .