February 12, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
In a bid to further efforts to save Bugoma Forest from the ongoing destruction by Hoima Sugar Ltd and other claimants, members of Save Bugoma Forest campaign have been engaging key stakeholders to rally their support towards this cause.
Key among other stakeholders are engagements with;
1. Residents of over 15 Villages adjacent to Bugoma Forest
2. RDC of Kikuube district (Amlan Tumusiime) & Kikuube district CAO among other district leaders who have pledged support to conserve the environment.
SBFC team commends the residents adjacent to Bugoma forest who have formed vigilante groups to protect the forest and also began collection signatures to petition the president whom they strongly believe can prevail over Hoima Sugar Ltd investors to stop the degradation.
However we are dismayed that Hoima Sugar Ltd has failed to live up to key conditions in the erroneously issued Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) certificate of approval by National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).
Latest GPS images in the hands of the SBFC show that as at January 7, 2021, Hoima Sugar Ltd had cultivated 405 hectares of Bugoma forest land. This is all being with impunity in disregard of the ongoing court cases in both the high court and court of appeal contesting validity of the ESIA issued by NEMA and the titles issued by ministry of lands to Hoima Sugar Ltd and Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom.
Sadly, part of above 405 hectares destroyed by Hoima Sugar Ltd is that that was approved for ecotourism purposes, and not sugarcane growing.
“Condition 4.7 of Hoima Sugar Ltd’s ESIA certificate of approval says that the company has to ‘Ensure that the [sugarcane] plantation is restricted to the areas indicated in the ESIS [Environmental and Social Impact Statement] …’
Moreover, Condition 4.5 of the certificate says that before developing an ecotourism center, cultural site, workers’ camps and others, Hoima Sugar is required to conduct separate ESIA studies for each of those projects.
Ongoing activities by Hoima Sugar are also a gross violation, disregard of the District development plan for the Host district Kikuube. According to the district land use plans, the section that Hoima Sugar is clearing is only meant conservation activities not Agriculture.
|Map of the Area of Bugoma Forest given away to Hoima Sugar with current development.|
1. 1. Government should urgently commence the pending boundary opening for Bugoma forest in a transparent way by allowing the participation of interested Ugandans.
2. 2. We reject the leadership of the Commissioner for maps and Surveys Ogalo Williams to reopen the boundaries of Bugoma forest. He is a man known for endless land scandals and the same man testified before court in 2016 that Bugoma forest doesn’t exist.
3. 2. We urge the courts to be patriotic and expedite the adjudication of cases in court concerning Bugoma forest in the best of Mother Nature.
4. 3. We call upon Bunyoro Kitara kingdom to true in all their dealings, state clearly its stand on the issue of Bugoma, and listen to voices of majority Banyoro who are calling for the conservation of Bugoma.
5. 4. We reject the recent cabinet decision to borrow billions of money from World bank to plant trees in the Albertine region yet the same government is allowing sugar Ltd to shave down a natural forest in Bugoma. This is myopic and unacceptable.
6. 5. We call upon all Ugandans mindful of their future that there is no way our future can secured without proper conservation of Bugoma forest, the time is now standup and conserve Bugoma forest.