Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has directed the Natural Resources Committee to investigate reports of tree cutting in Semuliki National Park.
The Park located in Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts was created in 1932 and upgraded to national park status in 1993.
Kadaga’s directive followed a matter of National importance raised by Busongora North MP William Nzoghu who said that contrary to government programs and presidential directives for the environment to be preserved, trees in the Semuliki are being cut and the entire forest depleted allegedly under alleged protection of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces.
Nzoghu demanded an explanation from the Minister of Environment Sam Cheptoris on the tree cutting activity within Semuliki Forest.
However, immediately after Speaker Rebecca Kadaga made the directive for the Minister to appear, Bwamba County MP Richard Gafabusa Muhumuza rose on a matter of information saying that Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) engaged a private company and that they are cutting down exotic tree species from Semuliki National Park.
Gafabusa said that he was personally there and witnessed the removal of exotic species that were planted in 1993 when government evicted people and areas that had been occupied were planted with the exotic tree species to cover up the area that was completely depleted then.
He told parliament that the current removal of the exotic tree species is to stop their spread which is destroying the forest cover. He says that the removal of the exotic tree species is to allow natural regeneration of the indigenous tree species.
But Nzoghu insisted that Parliament’s Natural Resources Committee visits the forest.
Kadaga then directed the committee to make a field visit to Semuliki and report back to parliament in one weeks’ time.