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MPs task Minister on delayed installation of electric fence in Murchison Falls National Park

FILE PHOTO: Murchison Falls National Park electric fence works

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A section of Members of Parliament on Thursday tasked the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities to explain the delayed installation of an electric fence at Murchison Falls National Park.

Government last year promised to install low voltage electric fencing in major human-wildlife conflict hotspots in Murchison Falls National Park. Government then said that the fence would be installed in areas whose trenches are known to experience high degrees of siltation by flash-floods, gully erosion and elephant activities.

During the afternoon parliament sitting, Oyam Woman MP Santa Alum Ogwang raised a matter of National Importance saying that stray elephants from Murchison Falls National Park numbering 40 have for the last two weeks ravaged Kamdini sub-county in Oyam district destructing gardens and people’s property.

She reported that on Thursday morning, the elephants again raided people’s gardens and homesteads brutally killing a 65-year-old resident Richard Otim.

She said that elephants escaping from the park had several times been raised on the floor of parliament and the government promised electronic fencing. Santa demanded assurance on when electric fencing was to start and also appealed for compensation to the affected people.

Nwoya Woman Mp Lilly Adongo also noted that her constituents were equally affected by the herds of elephants entering into communities and caused several destruction.

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga noted that the issue of elephants has been recurring on the floor of parliament demanding answers from Tom Butime, the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities.

Minister Butime said that Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) rangers were scheduled to authenticate the happenings in Oyam that led to the murder of Otim and later respond with compensation and other issues. He confirmed that the matter of stray elephants had early last year raised and responded to by the then Minister Ephraim Kamuntu.

Butime, however, said that steps like training scouts in the area, digging of trenches and others have been so far taken to stop the attack of elephants. He revealed that the construction of a 100-kilometre electric fence in Kamdini was to start in the coming financial year 2020/2021.

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