Members of Parliament have raised concern over the failure of government to compensate people affected by damage-causing wildlife across the country.
The MPs said that although Parliament had passed a proposal on compensating people affected by wildlife, government has delayed the process of finalising the regulation.
While presenting on a matter of national importance on Thursday, 11 August 2022, Hon. Michael Wanyama, the Namayingo South MP said that his community has been greatly affected by Hippopotamus that have destroyed crops around the lakeshores and different parts of the villages.
“They have devastated our gardens and crops. They eat everything green on the lake shores, especially in the villages in Mutumba sub-county,” he said.
Hon. Geoffrey Macho, the Busia Municipality MP said that in Busia Municipality, crocodiles have devoured people and they have never been compensated.
Macho called on government to find a way forward for those who have been affected.
Hon. Robert Migadde, the Buvuma Islands MP said that in his constituency, when people killed a crocodile that was a nuisance, they were instead arrested, begging the question of who is important between the people and the crocodile.
“They were brought up to Buganda Road Court, giving preference to wild animals against the population. Unfortunately, the law we passed looked at wildlife without looking at the lakes and rivers,” he said.
The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, said that the key issue is about the compensation fund under the Wildlife Act which was approved by Parliament but has never been implemented to date.
He said government needs to present a comprehensive statement on the compensation fund on Thursday, 18 August 2022.
Tayebwa said that since money is collected by government from people entering the national parks, the same money should return to the community.
“In my community around the areas of Kianga sub-county, people no longer have goats and crops. We are just looking bad – if we knew that we are not able to raise funds for this law, why did we allow it? The proposal came from government – so why don’t we operationalise it?” Tayebwa asked.
The 3rd Deputy Prime Minister and Minister without Portfolio, Hon. Rukia Nakadama, said that she will engage the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities to see how the people in Mutumba sub-county can be protected.
Mukono South MP, Hon. Fred Kayondo, said people have encroached on the ecosystem and this is what is leading to the animal-human conflict.
“We have destroyed the ecosystem where these animals are supposed to be in preference for beaches and hotels. Unless we restore where the animals are supposed to be and we talk about the big investors around the shores of the lake then we are just giving a pain killer,” he said.
Kalungu West MP, Hon. Joseph Ssewungu, said the government needs to gazette the regulation since that is why they are failing to pay the affected persons.