Kasese, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Residents of Busunga in Lake Katwe sub-county, Kasese district are accusing Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA of encroaching on their land by extending the electric fence into their land without opening up the disputed community boundaries.
In July last year, the residents rejected a survey report from the Ministry of Lands accusing the surveyors of being comprised by UWA. The parties resolved that the community will have an independent surveyor who will then work with a government surveyor and local leaders to handle the process of boundary reopening.
However, amidst the standoff, the Uganda Wildlife Authority has continued its electric fencing program which is aimed at averting human-wildlife conflicts. But the residents are asking the government through the Ministry of Lands to halt the exercise of fencing until their concerns are addressed.
Patrick Businge, the Chairperson of Basongora Cattle Keeper’s Association says they are baffled that even after rejecting the survey report of 2020, UWA has continued encroaching on the protested land and re-demarcating the same without involving area leaders and the community.
Wilber Alituha, another resident has asked the government to intervene and save households that are on the verge of being homeless. He alleges that UWA is planning to take over their land under the disguise of electric fencing.
Grace Nyarugoye, another resident says that the electric fence encloses their land, which implies that they are being displaced. She is asking the government to disregard the earlier boundaries that were made in isolation and make fresh ones after consulting them.
Kedress Kasande, one of the affected residents says UWA has continued to shift mark stones into their land in the presence of their leaders.
Wilson Asiimwe, the LCIII chairperson of Lake Katwe sub-county says the continued re-demarcation of the land is likely to affect over 25 households. He calls for investigations into the boundary marks that have since been protested by the local community.
But the UWA public relations officer Bashir Hanji says they have no intentions of encroaching on any private land.