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Deputy Speaker Among calls for protection of Ugandans living near game parks

Deputy Speaker Anita Among.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Deputy Speaker Anita Among has directed the Minister of State for Tourism (Wild life and Antiquities), Martin Mugarura to prioritise the safety of locals living around game parks, saying their livelihoods have been affected by the wildlife.

“We want a work plan and strategies to protect the people in those areas and it should be presented tomorrow by the senior minister. We need an immediate action for all affected areas not only Karamoja,” she said.

While chairing plenary sitting on 01 September 2021, Among faulted the Ministry of Tourism for delaying to address the challenges faced by people living around national game parks.

“We sent you to the field last time, what did you do? We need you to protect lives. We told you if you need funds to fence off the affected areas, we shall give you but up-to-date, you have not come up with a plan,” she said.

Among also rejected the request by the Minister, asking for two weeks to develop a plan, arguing that there is need for an immediate intervention to save lives.

“If it means that you have to fence off the area, then do it. Two weeks is a long time yet people are being killed by animals and hunger because animals are destroying their crops,” she said.

The Speaker’s directive follows a matter of national importance raised by Lokwang Phillips (NRM, Napore West County) who said that the wild animals are destroying crops and killing people.

“People are struggling with wild animals that are on rampage. It leaves me wondering whether there government agencies responsible for such issues,” he said.

Lokwang added that attempts to have the Wildlife Authority address the issue have been futile.

“We need local deployment to curb this problem. Women and children are dying,” he said.

Hoima City Woman representative, Asinansi Nyakato said nothing has been done by the Ministry of Tourism to address the same challenges in Hoima district.

“Last time you (Deputy Speaker) directed that the Minister of Tourism comes to Hoima for a fact finding mission. I have been meeting him and he keeps telling me they are organizing. I want him to assure me when exactly he will come,” she said.

Solomon Silwany (NRM, Bukooli County Central) stressed the need to resolve the matter urgently, saying that government needs to find an immediate intervention.

Amos Okot John (NRM, Agago North ) questioned the capacity of the ministry to curb the destruction of life occasioned by wild animals.

“In my constituency, elephants have destroyed crops. One wonders if the Ministry of Tourism has enough man power. Let the country know so that we find a solution on how to solve this problem,” he said.

Santa Alum Sandra (UPC, Oyam district) asked the Deputy Speaker to compel the Minister to give a specific period within which the matter will be addressed.

“Since last Parliament, we have raised this issue; you should demand that the minister specifies the date of meeting MPs and visiting the affected areas so that people have hope in elected MPs and government,” Alum said.

The Minister told legislators that government is still working on a comprehensive plan to protect the lives of locals residing around national game parks.

“Every other day there is an issue to do with human-wildlife conflict in this House. The suggestion would be that we carry out a harmonized programme to address this challenge,” Mugarura said.

He said that the Ministry of Tourism will visit all the affected areas within the next one month, with the aim of finding solutions to the human-wildlife conflict.



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