Kasese, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Residents of Busunga Village, in Kasese District on Thursday rejected a survey report from the Ministry of Lands.
The survey was conducted by the ministry to harmonize park boundaries before Queen Elizabeth National Park erects an electric fence on the 21 Kilometer stretch along Kasese-Kikorongo. The pilot project is under the low solar-powered electric fencing intervention in major human-wildlife conflict hotspots.
The findings of the survey that were presented on Thursday showed that 12 households are settling on the Park’s land illegally.
However, the residents accused the land officials of being comprised by Uganda Wildlife Authority- UWA. The residents also noted that UWA had previously conducted three surveys and they reached a mutual agreement after the findings indicated that both UWA and the community had encroached on each other’s land.
Patrick Businge, the Chairperson Basongora Cattle Keeper’s Association says that they rejected the report because they have been getting different survey findings. He also questioned the survey since it was done without involving the local community.
Businge says the land must be re-surveyed in the presence of all parties to have amicable understanding.
Sam Nyamutale one of the affected persons accuses UWA of continuously grabbing their land.
Nyamutale claims that he was previously shocked to see surveyors’ plant mark stones inside their land, where both his father and all the family lived. He questions why UWA is carrying out different surveys to solve the issues on the same piece of land.
John Makombo, the Executive Director in charge of conservation at UWA says that they have resolved that the community will have an independent surveyor who will work with a government surveyor and local leaders.
Dennis Obbo, the Ministry of Lands Spokesperson, says that they are waiting for the report from Ibrahim Magemeso, the surveyor to respond to the concerns of the residents.
Busunga in Busongora South County is predominantly occupied by traditional Basongora pastoralists.
However, there has been counter-accusation between UWA and the local community with each party accusing the other of encroaching on each other’s land.
Basongora have equally had battles with other minority groups like Banyabindi and Rwandese over conflicts on land.