It is hard time to find committed government body in Uganda that aims at fighting corruption and impunity.
As a member of “Friends of Zoka Forest” we implore the government to intensify its efforts to bring to an end the selfish and illegal plundering in West Nile.
Zoka one of the biggest forest reserves in northern region. It is protected by the National Forestry Authority (NFA) and the trees that lies in the community land are not harvested without the district forest office.
Then who is cutting Zoka Forest?
The few powerful have taken the advantage of “the order from above” threatens to exploit and plunder to be protected natural resources with impunity. Lorries loaded with tens of tones of logs snail through the gullied roads of Adjumani to manoeuvre their 600 Km journey to Kampala and elsewhere without interception under the watch of the concerned officers.
There are enough evidence on ground that known district leaders (Both elected and technocrats), police officers, the area magistrate’s court and UPDF officers close to a General but are left free.
The failure to investigate and apprehend the right suspects who are known to the public should no longer be tolerated.
Issues of plundering forest reserves have become a neglected but serious challenge to environmentalists and activists because of the increased cases of evictions of hapless people from ancestral lands by the powerful, criminal justice, corruption without due course.
Individuals charged with the responsibilities to have special powers on behalf of the state have become the perpetrators or ghosts in their offices.
Could this be one of the reasons to as why the ordinary citizens are increasingly running into the streets to seek for attention in order to administer justice? We are witnessing the wanton arrests, evictions, plunders and denial the citizen’s rights to express their fundamental rights which normally escalates into running battles leading to deaths, injuries and destruction of properties.
Several times the local people in Adjumani attempted to intercept several lorries and surrendering them to the police and district authorities but within hours the lorries are flagged off.
The question that troubles is why is the government accepting few rouges to dent its institutions without action? It is not too late to start arresting the few known powerful individuals in Adjumani district without fear or favour.
The locals are running out of patience, seeing the forest that time in memorial as source of their medicine, food, building material, hunting ground and traditional attachment disappear without fighting for it. –
Dradenya Amazia is a Journalist,