MP Kamuntu concerned about persistent food insecurity in Batwa



By Moses Agaba


Moses Kamuntu Mwongyera The Rubanda County West Member of Parliament in Rubanda  District   has expressed concern about the persistent food insecurity in the Batwa communities of Kigezi sub region.


Kamuntu said this on Saturday at the launching of the distribution of the 2nd phase of his Food and feeding intervention program for the Batwa in Rubanda District that was held at


Rwamahano , Karengeyere , Rubindi, Kashasha .


The program involving distribution of assorted food items such as beans and posho targets up to 500 Batwa households in Rubanda West Constituency and the surrounding areas of Kabale, Kisoro and Kanungu Districts.


The Batwa have faced a prolonged challenge of food insecurity since the forceful eviction from their original homeland in the Ecuya, Bwindi and Mgahinga forests that were gazetted as forest reserves by Government of Uganda in the early 1990s.


Government did not provide habitation and survival alternatives for the Batwa who have since been surviving on the mercy of Non Governmental Organizations as well as peanut payments for casual labor, especially digging, for the Bakiga and Bafumbira communities in the hills of Kisoro, Rubanda and Kanungu Districts.


After his election as Rubanda West MP in 2021,  Kamuntu unveiled plan to supplement the work of NGOs operating in Rubanda District to save the Batwa from extinction, by providing food items such as beans and Posho to the severely hunger-stricken families.


Kamuntu says his intervention plan is not only periodic food distribution, but also interaction with Batwa throughout the process, as they suggest lasting solutions to problems they face.


“My focus is not on what I give to the Batwa, but a platform to suggest ideas on how they want to be helped through sustainable solutions to their problems, especially this continuous food insecurity problem,”  said Kamuntu .


Kamuntu says that his unrelenting concern for the Batwa dates back to when he stayed among them during his childhood days.


“I think I know the Batwa more than any other outsider. I used to graze my father’s goats in their areas. They were largely hunters and I would share on the game meat which they also brought home for my father,” he said.


Gad Ssemajyeri, a Mutwa from Rwamahano Village in Ikamiro Parish of Muko Subcounty told this media house that they were resettled in steep sloping and less fertile hills by a section of NGOs, but the Batwa have no land ownership rights, which limits the activities on the land they occupy.


“The land we were given is small, yields poor quality and sometimes no crops at all. Good Samaritans like Hon. Kamuntu would start projects for us on this non productive land, but still they have nowhere to start because the land does not entirely belong to us,” said Ssemajyeri.


Emily Nyirasasira, a 60-year-old Mutwa from Karengyere in Muko Subcounty requested Hon. Kamuntu to make a follow up on their quest for Government intervention into the problems they face, especially the demand for permanent resettlement.


“We want our own land that is fertile for agriculture. We want to grow our own food, and stop begging from NGOs and Politicians, because Batwa are traditionally hardworking and everybody knows that,” Nyirasasira said.


Kyabazaga Norah 69, also said that the hunger in Batwa Communities has been worsened by the increase in food prices, especially posho that was raised from UgX 3500 to UgX4000 since last year.


“We work for little pay. When we dig for the Bakiga, they give us between  Ugx 5000 and  Ugx 7000 per day depending on the size of the land. Sometime back they used to give us food and money in return for our labour, but these days they give us money alone,” she said.


Kamuntu revealed that he was in touch with Ugandan Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development as he continues to demand for quick processing of compensation and resettlement of the Batwa Communities.

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