Don't Turn Our Towns Into Concrete Deserts

Editorial, Daily Monitor, Uganda

Bufumbira East MP Eddie Kwizera last week tabled a private members Bill in Parliament seeking to degazette 14 peri-urban forests. The motion was embraced by the Minister of Water and Environment Ephraim Kamuntu who, curiously, should have been the one presenting on behalf of government. In many ways, it looked like government hiding behind a private member to introduce a mischievous Bill which it could not present due to its international obligations on protecting environment and stopping climate change.

The forests proposed to be degazetted cover a combined area of over 17,300 hectares. This will definitely have a huge negative impact on both the national climate and local weather of the towns. This fact should, therefore, not be lost on the MPs considering this motion. The movers are of course sugar-coating their move by claiming that alternative land will be identified elsewhere to compensate for the destroyed forests but this will not help ameliorate the changed weather.

For instance in exchange for destroying part of Kitubulu forest in Entebbe, the motion proposes to plant a new forest in Vura County in Arua. How will this "exchange" protect Entebbe from the vagaries of weather arising from the destroyed Kitubulu forest?