Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom, NFA in another clash with residents over Eucalyptus plantation

Masindi town is losing trees at terrible rate

By Muruli Moses

Some of the people employed to harvest trees around Masindi town
Some of the people employed to harvest trees around Masindi town (Photo by Augustus Bigirwenkya)

Bunyoro Kintara Kingdom in collaboration with the national forestry authority is embroiled in another conflict with the Omukama’s subjects over ownership of the eucalyptus plantation.
Omukama’s subject who includes Amos Bendebule, Justus Ariho and Jackson Dolera both residents of Masindi town on Monday started cutting the eucalyptus trees which they claim to have planted on idle land located in Nyangahya cell along Kijunjubwa road in Masindi central division.
However, the 2 acre eucalyptus forest which is over 20 years old is also being claimed by the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom and the national forest authority. It is not yet clear who exactly owns the land between the Bunyoro Kingdom and the national forest authority.
According to Bendebule, they tried to harvest the tree in 2014 but the Omukama allegedly ordered National Forestry Authority (NFA) to stop them which they did. The trio however went to court which issued a decree allowing them to harvest their tree.
A ruling dated December 16, 2015 signed by Moses Angualia, the chief magistrate Masindi indicates court indicates that the trio is the lawful owners of the suit eucalyptus plantation and is entitled to harvest their trees.
However, Bendebule said that as the trio started harvesting their trees on Monday morning, the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom minister in charge of forest Mr Rujumba Kahiigwa allegedly hired 30 youths from Kijura trading center and tried to block their work.
The youths ran away on seeing police arrive at the scene and work resumed. Kahiigwa however declined to comment on the matter saying that he needs some time.
Martin Mwode Kagere, the national forestry authority Budongo range system manager could not be reached for comment as his cellular phone had been switched off.