June 6, 2013

Uganda Opposition Boycotts World Environmental Day Celebrations

The opposition has boycotted this year’s United Nation’s (UN) environmental day celebrations in Kalangala District.
The opposition has boycotted this year’s United Nation’s (UN) environmental day celebrations in Kalangala District.

The Shadow Minister for Water and Environment John Ken Lukyamuzi said that they are protesting against government’s environment policy on forest reserves as well as the selection of a National Theme that is contrary to the existing reality in the country.

The National Theme that is under contention is “reduce food waste –reduce wasteful consumption.”

According to Lukyamuzi Uganda this theme is meaningless because there is nothing for one to be proud of in Uganda and the government failure to come out in clear terms with a policy protecting Mabira forest.

He said that government has on many occasions tried to destroy the natural forests citing Mabira and Kalangala forests saying that the destruction of such irreplaceable resources to be replaced by sugar cane is openly wasteful and contradicts the national theme for this year’s UN Environmental Day.

Lukyamuzi added that even during this time when the country is about to harvest oil, there is absence of an Environmental Impact Assessment Report for the planned refinery which he said is equally wasteful.

He alleged that President Museveni is dying to change the land use of 7,100 hectares of Mabira forest land for private use by SCOUL in open disregard of article 237 of the constitution which vests the ownership and beneficial interests of forest reserves and other natural resources in the citizens of Uganda with government acting as a mere trustee.

MP for Kalungu Joseph Sewungu alleged that he got information that Mabira forest is already under destruction on the directives of the president and proposed that members of parliament should physically visit the forest to investigate.

He said that the changes in the climate are as a result of the destruction of nature and warned members of parliament who are diverted into passing wrong legislation during caucus.

UN Environmental day is held every 5th June and is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.

The agenda is to give a human face to environmental issues by empowering people to become active agents of sustainable and equitable development, promote an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues and advocate partnership which will ensure that all nations and people enjoy a safer and more prosperous future.

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