The youths neighbouring parts of Bugoma forest being cleared by Hoima Sugar Limited have accused leaders in Bunyoro region of silence as the forest gets depleted amid the unseen promise of boundary re-opening.
In an interview with Kazi-njema News at Nyairongo Church of Uganda near the disputed forest, Mr Rogers Kasangaki, the village youth leader cum chairperson Nyairongo Boda-boda Riders Association, challenges Members of Parliament and district chairpersons of Bunyoro to drop their political differences and unite to defend the much cherished Bugoma forest.
“It might be too late to save without urgency, given the rate of degradation currently being witnessed. They (Members of Parliament) need to remember that the effects of climate change will affect mankind indiscriminately”, he said.
He urges the youths never to give up in the fight for Bugoma forest which commands their livelihoods and hope for the future.
Other youths in Nyairongo are worried of going homeless in case the eviction threats turn into reality like it happened to Kigyayo and Kakopo Internally Displaced Persons.
They allege that most leaders including parliamentarians have kept silent over the conflict for fear of losing their political and economic favours. Some could be fearing the soldiers guarding the investor, a one young man Damiano notes.
The Kikuube District Vice Chairman, Mr Vincent Alpha Opio, denies that leaders have been compromised saying the whole solution lies in boundary opening which is a switch in the hands of the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development.
Hoima Sugar Limited, the known investor clearing the forest arbitrarily insists the company does not have any land dispute with community members apart from developing the licensed area.