Environmental Crisis: Destruction of Bujawe Forest Reserve Threatens River Wamababya

In a devastating turn of events, Bujawe Forest Reserve in Hoima District has fallen victim to relentless clearing, sacrificing 310 acres of vital woodland to tobacco, maize, beans, and charcoal burning activities.

Security forces lament being forced into a powerless position, witnessing the wanton destruction of the forest, once a crucial catchment area for River Wamababya in Kayera Village, Buseruka Sub-county.

Formerly a lush expanse, Bujawe now resembles an open garden plantation, stripped bare by unchecked exploitation. The sheer scale of the depletion, covering 50 square-kilometres, or 310 acres, has left officials incredulous.

Hoima’s Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Michael Kyakashari, expressed dismay at the rapid degradation, highlighting the audacious impunity behind the deforestation. Despite previous thick foliage just months ago, the woodland now lies decimated, a testament to unchecked exploitation.

The finger of blame points to Simon Mugenyi Rwese, purportedly orchestrating the encroachment. Officials vow to hold him accountable, even contemplating involving the President to witness the environmental devastation firsthand.

However, challenges persist as enforcement efforts are met with resistance and threats, leaving authorities undeterred in their pursuit of justice.

Joseline Nyangoma, Hoima’s District Natural Resources Officer, expressed shock at the scale of destruction, emphasizing the urgent need for action. With River Wambabya’s catchment obliterated, the ecological consequences loom large, impacting water streams and jeopardizing the Kabalege dam’s operations.

The collaborative efforts of local leaders are deemed essential in combating such ecological vandalism, with Nyangoma calling for greater transparency and accountability at the grassroots level.

Amidst government’s forest restoration initiatives, the plight of Bujawe serves as a stark reminder of the uphill battle against deforestation. As rural communities continue to flout conservation efforts, urgent intervention is imperative to safeguard Uganda’s precious natural heritage

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