Jinja, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The National Forestry Authority-NFA Executive Director Tom Obong Okello has halted the planting of non-indigenous trees in Mabira and Kisisita forest in Buikwe district.
Okello who toured the two forests on Saturday was surprised that people who were approved by NFA to restore the forest as well as promote ecological activities, were instead cutting part of the forests and planting non-indigenous trees such as pine.
According to Okello, the certificates that were issued to the individuals will be reviewed. He adds that there are plans to partner with community members to carry out the restoration.
However, residents and leaders advised NFA to implement the directive. They argued that similar directives were issued but were never implemented.
Jacob Kalema, one of the residents at Kisisita says the individuals are allegedly protected by armed people and claim to have been cleared by NFA.
The Buikwe South County Member of Parliament, Dr. Michael Lulume Bayiga says individuals contracted to restore are instead encroaching on the forest because they are not monitored by NFA.
“People who were issued certificates to restore the forests have money and they easily bribe NFA area supervisors to let them do what they want. Whoever is cleared to restore let’s say 50 acres, cut down close to more than 200 acres of the natural forest,” Bayiga says.
He wants NFA to do an evaluation on the approved size of acreages that was given to the individuals and hold them accountable for destroying the natural forests.
The Buikwe Chief Administrative Officer, Godfrey Kuruhira says that NFA should involve district leaders and the community before issuing certificates.