Uganda seizes Libya shares in UTL

http://www.newvision.co.ug/D/8/12/750546
Tuesday, 29th March, 2011
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By David Mugabe

THE Government has seized control of Libya’s majority stake in uganda telecom (utl) with immediate effect.

Aggrey Awori, the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) minister, said the Government was exercising its oversight role and also complying with UN sanctions against Libyan assets.

“We have to monitor all the transactions in conformity with the rules and now they cannot make certain decisions without our knowledge,” said Awori.

The Libyan government owns 69% of utl under its investment arm, Libya Africa Investment Portfolio.

utl has become the second entity in which Libya has a direct stake to fall under government control. Bank of Uganda last week relieved the Libyan Foreign Bank of its shareholding in Tropical Bank. The Libyan Foreign Bank owned 99.7% of Tropical Bank’s portfolio.

Awori said employees and Ugandans should not worry because the Government would normalise operations.

“The situation will be stabilised and all uncertainties will be eliminated within a week,” said Awori.

utl has about 1.75 million subscribers.

Awori also said the Government was planning a major monitoring of the telecom sector to bring the recent telecom bickering under control.

“The way events have been unfolding is “eyes on, hands off “but now we want to have hands on,” said Awori. MTN recently threatened to switch off all calls to utl over claims of an unpaid sh20b debt.

In freezing the Libyan Foreign Bank assets, Prof. Tumusiime Mutebile, the central bank governor, said all management appointees by the Libyan Foreign Bank were immediately relieved of their duties and a new management was appointed.

But Awori yesterday said he needed 48 hours to confirm whether there would be changes in utl management.

However, Donald Nyakairu, utl’s chief legal and corporate affairs officer, said they had not yet received the information and operations were going on normally.

“Probably they are thinking about it (the take-over), but nothing has changed. They have not approached us,” said Nyakairu.

Uganda Communications Commission boss Godfrey Mutabazi also said he had not been told about the new development.

In taking hold of both utl and Tropical Bank, the Government would be seen to ensure that both entities are operationally independent of Libyan influence, thereby safeguarding the local clientele.

Analysis: Justice still remote for victims of atrocities in DRC

Women are especially at risk of sexual violence during conflict

LONDON, 11 October 2010 (IRIN) – The authors of the UN “mapping report” detailing more than 600 “serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law” committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) between March 1993 and June 2003 see the landmark document as an important step in delivering justice to victims of the atrocities.

While the report made no claim to meet the evidentiary standards required in a courtroom, it has prompted widespread discussion about what should happen next regarding the alleged abuses attributed to troops from Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Chad, Zimbabwe and Angola.

IRIN evaluates the options.

Congolese judicial system

Under DRC law only military courts can try international crimes, as the civil criminal code has no provisions relating to war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide. Military judges have handed down some verdicts in war crimes cases, citing the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, but the system functions poorly and judges reportedly often succumb to political interference.

As the UN report points out, the civil system is barely equipped to deliver justice at any level. It lacks adequate funding personnel, transportation, training, professional development, witness protection and judicial independence.

While most countries spend 2-6 percent of their national budget on justice, the DRC spent an average of 0.6 percent a year between 2004 and 2009, according to the UN report.

The International Criminal Court (ICC)

The Hague-based court was established to hear cases of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide committed after July 2002. Some crimes committed in Ituri do fall within the ICC’s mandate. However, most incidents in the report occurred from July 1996 to January 2000, during the first and second DRC wars, ruling out the ICC as a legal recourse. The court’s Trust Fund for Victims, which provides reparations for war crimes’ victims even without judicial verdicts, is also unlikely to help for the same reason. “The Trust Fund typically becomes involved once the ICC has substantively become involved in the situation concerned. It would not get involved in other crimes in Congo that pre-date the Rome Statute,” said Carla Ferstman, the director of Redress, a human rights group working with victims of war crimes in DRC.

Three cases involving crimes allegedly committed in DRC are currently before the ICC, including that of Callixte Mbarushimana, a leader of a Rwandan rebel group who was arrested in Paris on October 11. He faces five counts of crimes against humanity (murder, torture, rape, inhumane acts and persecution) and six counts of war crimes (attacks against the civilian population, destruction of property, murder, torture, rape and inhuman treatment).

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR)

As with the ICC, the ICTR is also limited by its mandate. This includes trying crimes, including genocide committed in Rwanda, or by Rwandans in neighbouring countries, but only in 1994. The tribunal is also due to close next year. “The ICTR is overloaded and trying to close its doors,” said Phil Clark, research fellow at the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Oxford.

The International Court of Justice, ICJ

The ICJ settles disputes between states. In 2005 in ruled in favour of DRC in a case brought against Uganda over the illegal exploitation of natural resources during the second war. Uganda has yet to pay the billions of dollars of reparations ordered by the court.

Both parties to a dispute must be willing participants in any ICJ case. While all UN member states are party to the Court, not all adhere to the principal of compulsory jurisdiction, i.e. of having to answer to charges brought by another state.

For example, a case the DRC hoped to bring against Rwanda was never heard by the ICJ.

Given Rwanda’s blanket dismissal of the UN report, it (and other named states) are unlikely to agree to appear before the ICJ.

The recent rapprochement between Kinshasa and Kigali also reduces the chances of an inter-state court case.

New ad-hoc international tribunal

A request by DRC for the UN to establish an ad-hoc tribunal similar to the ICTR and International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia came to nought.

''There is a need for a judicial mechanism, but the process has to come from the Congolese people''

Generally set up outside the country where the crimes were committed, such courts have been criticized as slow and expensive in relation to the number of trials and too distant from the victims of the crimes being prosecuted.

“These crimes took place in Congo so it wouldn’t be good if the whole process of justice took place outside,” said Carina Tertsakian, the senior Rwanda researcher at Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Hybrid court

Crimes committed in Sierra Leone, East Timor and Kosovo are, or have been, tried in a family of international judicial entities known as hybrid courts – “hybrid” because they involve staff and apply legislation that is both international and domestic.

Like international tribunals their efficacy is affected by the need for international cooperation and judicial assistance by states and international organizations.

The UN plays a leading role in all existing hybrid courts.

Mixed chamber

HRW, as well as the report’s authors, advocate a so-called “mixed chamber” embedded in the DRC justice system with local and international judges and prosecutors working together. Cheaper and quicker to set up than an international tribunal, it would apply Congolese laws and procedures, but would temporarily include non-Congolese staff.

The Bosnian war crimes chamber in Sarajevo could be the model. Tertsakian believes a mixed chamber would give Congolese a sense of “ownership” of the justice process which would also benefit from international involvement.

“We think there needs to be an international component to the process to strengthen and build up the capacity of the Congolese justice system and also provide the process with a degree of additional credibility and to combat political interference,” she said.

“Any case that reaches the trial stage will be politically sensitive, and there is likely to be pressure from various quarters, and to guard against that it would be important to have some international personnel working alongside Congolese judges and prosecutors.”

A mixed chamber, however, would struggle to arrest non-Congolese suspects. Both Rwanda and Angola forbid extradition of their nationals, meaning serious support from the African Union, regional governments and the international community would be essential to avoid the problems already being experienced by the ICC which is unable to execute the majority of its arrest warrants because of lack of cooperation from member states. (Unlike the tribunals for Rwanda and Yugoslavia, the ICC has no personnel with powers of arrest).


Photo: IRIN
The report focuses on atrocities committed by foreign troops in the DRC (file photo)

Universal jurisdiction

The principle of universal jurisdiction allows suspects of serious international crimes to be prosecuted by third party states.

Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain have in the past prosecuted people from DRC and Rwanda under the principle of universal jurisdiction.

While suspects’ governments may be unable to halt such prosecutions, such cases are very likely to create diplomatic rows over purported infringements of sovereignty.

Truth and reconciliation commission

The UN report says more than 30 commissions have already been set up, in particular in Argentina, Chile, South Africa, Peru, Ghana, Morocco, El Salvador, Guatemala, East Timor and Sierra Leone.

However, a previous DRC truth commission with the ambitious mandate of examining all political, economic and social crimes committed between 1960 and 2003 never really got off the ground.

It collected no witness statements nor opened a single enquiry. Commissioners were drawn from the warring groups and some were involved in the crimes they should have been investigating.

The University of Oxford’s Phil Clark is sceptical that another would work much better.

“I think there is an argument that there is a need for a truth commission, but it needs to be better organized and structured and it can’t involve commissioners from the main protagonists in the conflict. My sense is horse may have bolted on that front,” he said.

Nothing happens ever

The crimes outlined in the UN report have been known for many years and well documented by a variety of local and international human rights and civil society organizations. Some say the reasons nothing was done then – the size of the DRC, the sheer number of crimes committed, the countries involved, the devastation of DRC’s infrastructure – still exist today and that no substantive action will be taken on the report.

Clark believes the “international community” has Congolese justice fatigue. “Unfortunately I am quite pessimistic on the justice side of things that we are going to see any accountability for the crimes that have been identified by the mapping report,” he said.

“There is a sense that so much has been done for this region and the results to date have been fairly patchy so the idea of wading back into the Great Lakes with a new type of institution I think is going to be a fairly unattractive possibility for most global policymakers.”

That’s a view shared by Mauro De Lorenzo, fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He doubts the “international community” is willing to put at risk improving relations between DRC and its neighbours.

“It’s hard to see people being enthusiastic about putting into jeopardy progress that has been made in the region,” he said.

Nothing happens yet

De Lorenzo urges patience. “There’s a time and place. We’re just now having trials in Cambodia. It’s not for us to rush and decide for the Congolese how they should do it,” he said.

The International Centre for Transitional Justice’s DRC head Sharanjeet Parmar agrees Congolese views are essential in determining the next steps. “There is a need for a judicial mechanism, but the process has to come from the Congolese people,” she said.

Parmar, however, says some consensus is needed internationally and that doing nothing is not an option. “These are some of the worst atrocities seen on the continent in recent history, and if the international community can’t work out the diplomatic and political intricacies to deliver on justice then that’s a poor reflection on these international bodies we’ve invested decades in building.”

lc/am/cb

Theme(s): Gender Issues, Governance, Human Rights, Conflict,

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

Ugandan rebels seek refuge in Sudan’s Darfur-report

10 Mar 2010 23:54:04 GMT

Source: Reuters

* Sudan’s UN envoy dismisses allegations 

* Group says sources include government, U.N. officials 

By Louis Charbonneau 

UNITED NATIONS, March 10 (Reuters) – Ugandan rebels notorious for mutilating their victims and abducting children have found a safe haven in Sudan’s western Darfur region, an anti-genocide group said in a report that Khartoum dismissed as a lie. 

A contingent of the feared Lord’s Resistance Army “has taken refuge in areas of south Darfur, Sudan, controlled by the government of Sudan,” the Washington-based Enough Project said in the report, an advance copy of which was provided to Reuters on Wednesday. 

“The possibility of rekindled collaboration between LRA leader Joseph Kony and Sudanese President Omar (Hassan) al-Bashir … should alarm policymakers and demands urgent international investigation and response,” it said. 

Both Bashir and Kony are wanted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. 

“The Khartoum regime’s principal tool of war during its 21-year reign has been support for marauding militias such as the Janjaweed, the Murahaleen, and the Lord’s Resistance Army,” said John Prendergast a former U.S. State Department official who co-founded the Enough Project. 

“Facing no consequences for this destructive method of governing, it is unsurprising that the regime is again providing safe haven for the LRA.” 

Sudan’s U.N. Ambassador Abdalmahmoud Abdalhaleem angrily dismissed the report as a baseless fabrication. 

“The self-proclaimed expert on Sudan, Prendergast, and the so-called Enough Project are desperately running against time to spread their last allegations before the confident peace train reaches its destination,” he told Reuters. 

“It is shameful that a project that pretends to be a think-tank is using fictional tales only to demonstrate their bankruptcy. Enough Project will only be remembered as an agent of destruction, bias and lies whenever Darfur is mentioned.” 

MONTHS OF RESEARCH 

The Enough Project’s report said its information is based on “months of field research and interviews with government and United Nations officials in several countries.” 

It was not possible to independently confirm the report. 

Diplomats from the U.N. Security Council would neither confirm nor deny the allegations and U.N. peacekeeping officials said they were not in a position to comment. Uganda’s U.N. mission had no immediate response. 

Khartoum has been suspected of supporting the LRA in the past, but it is not clear how the Sudanese government, which is making some attempts toward peace with rebel groups, could benefit from helping the LRA in Darfur. 

Many LRA training camps have been broken up and some rebels disarmed by U.N.-backed Congolese soldiers, but the guerrillas still attack civilians in Congo, Central African Republic and border regions in semi-autonomous south Sudan. 

In October, LRA rebels attacked a refugee camp in south Sudan and killed five people, raising fears that the group was moving closer to Darfur. 

The United Nations estimates that about 2.7 million people in Darfur have been driven from their homes since 2003, when mostly non-Arab rebels took up arms against the state after accusing Khartoum of neglecting Darfur. 

The United Nations says as many as 300,000 people have been killed, but Khartoum puts the number at 10,000. (The Enough Project’s full report will be available on Thursday at http://www.enoughproject.org) (Editing by Chris Wilson)

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UGANDA: Online protest keeps spotlight on anti-gay bill

http://www.plusnews.org/Report.aspx?Reportid=88275


Photo: Flickr Creative Commons
There has been widespread international criticism of the bill

KAMPALA, 2 March 2010 (PlusNews) – More than 450,000 people have signed an online petition urging Uganda’s parliament to drop a bill that would impose the death sentence for the crime of “aggravated homosexuality” – when an HIV-positive person has sex with anyone who is disabled or under the age of 18.

Presenting the petition to the speaker of Uganda’s Parliament, Edward Ssekandi, on 1 March, AIDS activists – including founder of national NGO, The AIDS Support Organization, Noerine Kaleeba and Canon Gideon Byamugisha, the first religious leader to publicly declare that he was living with HIV – said if the bill was passed, it would roll back the gains made in fighting HIV in Uganda.

Responding to the petition, Ssekandi said it could not be withdrawn at this stage, not even by the MP who tabled it; but he assured the activists that their concerns would be passed on to the legislature.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill 2009 – a private member’s bill first tabled by ruling party MP David Bahati in October 2009 – is due for discussion this month. Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, but the new law would impose more stringent punishments for homosexual activity, while compelling people in authority with knowledge of such activity to report it or face criminal charges.

“The bill creates a situation where [homosexual] people living with HIV will be denied treatment,” said Major Rubaramira Ruranga, a retired army officer who has lived publicly with HIV for more than two decades. “We do not need a new law that picks one section of society and says this should be punished,” he added.

However, Ruranga said there was one positive aspect to the controversy. “[The bill] is an opportunity – whether it is passed or not – because people will begin to talk about sexuality,” he said.

Stigma

“It is not easy to access medical services; we have private people who treat us but they charge us [a great deal] because they are very few,” said Julian Pepe Onziema, programmes coordinator of the rights group, Sexual Minorities Uganda. “When you go to the doctor you have to give them a medical history; the bill will make this even harder.”

Read more:
 Gays hesitate at the closet door
 Crackdowns on gays make the closet safer
 Doors of tolerance begin to open for gay Muslims

AIDS activists also argue that the continued stigmatization of homosexuality will drive homosexuals and bisexuals further underground, reducing their access to HIV prevention and care services and increasing their vulnerability to HIV. Men who have sex with men are considered a most at-risk population, but there are no national HIV strategies addressing their needs.

“If the government does not come out to help minorities, HIV is coming back; I know many married people who are bi-sexual,” said Dennis Wamala, programmes coordinator for Ice Breakers, a local gay rights organization.

“Family values”

Debate on the bill will go ahead despite Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni distancing himself from it amid calls from international leaders for its withdrawal. President Barack Obama in February referred to the bill as “odious”, noting that it was “unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are”.

Despite international outrage, the bill has remained fairly popular in Uganda, where proponents argue that homosexuality goes against the country’s “family values”. In February, hundreds of residents of the eastern city of Jinja held a demonstration supporting the bill, with protesters’ signs admonishing western leaders such as Obama to “leave Uganda alone”.

The bill’s agenda is to strengthen the nation’s capacity to deal with “emerging internal and external threats to the traditional heterosexual family” and to protect Uganda’s “cherished culture”.

Roman Catholic and Anglican leaders have rejected the bill, but have said they will back it if the death penalty clause is removed.

UGANDA: Health ministry diverts ARV money


Photo: Georgina Cranston/IRIN
Uganda is experiencing a nationwide shortage of ARVs

KAMPALA, 10 August 2009 (PlusNews) – HIV activists are demanding that Uganda’s Ministry of Health refund an estimated US$15 million earmarked for purchasing antiretroviral (ARV) drugs, which was instead used to buy shares in a local drug factory and pay health workers.

“For the ministry to divert funds from buying drugs that save lives … is completely unacceptable,” said Stella Kentutsi of Uganda’s National Forum of People Living with AIDS Network.

The diversion of funds comes at a time when the country is experiencing nationwide ARV shortages. Many health centres are unable to enrol new patients and others are only enrolling those with a CD4 count (a measure of immune system strength) of 150 or less. Most low-income countries start treatment at a CD4 count of 200, while others recently raised the threshold to 350.

In its 2008/09 national budget, the government set aside $38 million to buy ARVs from local manufacturer Quality Chemicals Limited – the first ever domestic contribution to the country’s donor-driven ARV programme. However, less than half the allocated funds were actually used to purchase ARVs.

The controversy comes two months after parliament’s budget committee recommended slashing the allocation for ARVs to $20 million in the 2009/10 national budget, on the grounds that money allocated in the previous budget had not been spent on buying the drugs.

“I would request that the ministry refund that money to buy drugs for our people,” said Beatrice Rwakimari, chair of the parliamentary committee on HIV and related matters. “If this money is not committed to buying drugs then … we shall have shortages.”

Health Minister Stephen Mallinga told IRIN/PlusNews that the funds were diverted to pay healthcare workers who had not received salaries; he added that the Ministry of Finance had authorised the diversion of funds and would refund the money.

An estimated 170,000 people are enrolled in Uganda’s ARV programme, which is about 95 percent donor-funded, while another 130,000 need the drugs but are not getting them.

SUDAN: Abyei briefing

 

Photo: UN OCHA 
Burnt-out Abyei following fighting in May 2008 (file photo)

NAIROBI, 21 July 2009 (IRIN) – Legal experts in The Hague make a binding decision on 22 July setting the boundaries of Sudan’s oil- and pasture-rich Abyei region – ruling on a dispute that has threatened the country’s fragile peace accord. The following briefing examines the background to the Abyei Arbitral Tribunal’s decision.

What is Abyei? 

An oil-rich area straddling the border between north and south Sudan, jutting into the states of Western Kordofan and Northern Bahr al-Gazal. Since 2005 it should have been administered jointly by the ruling parties of Northern and Southern Sudan. During the 1983-2005 civil war both sides used local communities as proxy forces. 

What is the Abyei Protocol? 

A chapter of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) (www.sudanarchive.net), which provides for a referendum in 2011 when Abyei will decide whether to join the north or the south, and for a joint administration until then. The protocol outlines how the region’s oil revenue is shared between the Northern Government of National Unity (GNU) and the Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) and enshrines the grazing rights of Misseriya pastoralists who live to the north of Abyei. It also tasked an Abyei Boundaries Commission to “define and demarcate” the area, whose borders are disputed by north and south. 

Chapter IV of the CPA states that the people who live in Abyei permanently are of the Ngok section of the Dinka ethnic group. Arab communities, including the Misseriya, traditionally move through the area at certain seasons with their livestock for pasture, water and trade, meaning that the two communities regularly interact – and have clashed in the past. 

What is the role of the Permanent Court of Arbitration? 

The commission’s “final and binding” ruling, issued in July 2005, determined that Abyei was much larger than the northern government claimed. Abyei’s size matters because it affects how much oil is apportioned to the area and because in a referendum scheduled for 2011, Abyei’s residents are likely to vote to join Southern Sudan’s administration. The GNU rejected the ruling by insisting the commission had exceeded its mandate. 

Both sides agreed that an Abyei Arbitration Tribunal, sitting at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, should decide whether this assertion was valid and by extension whether the commission’s boundaries remained in force. They further agreed that if the court found the commission had exceeded its mandate, the court should make a fresh ruling on Abyei’s boundaries based on submissions by both parties. 

See also
 Assurances and tension ahead of key Abyei ruling
 Abyei timeline
 Abyei town deserted following fresh clashes (2008)

Why is it so important to resolve the dispute? 

The 1972 Addis Ababa peace agreement, which ended the first civil war (1956-1972), also included provisions for a referendum among the Abyei Ngok Dinka on whether or not to join what was then a semi-autonomous Southern Region. Failure to implement those provisions was a factor in the re-ignition of civil war in the early 1980s. 

It has remained a hotbed of tension since the CPA was signed: in May 2008 clashes displaced tens of thousands of people in Abyei and the town was set on fire. Failure to properly implement the Abyei Protocol is likely to exacerbate not only conflict between local communities but also the increasingly strained relations between Khartoum and GOSS. 

Abyei lies at the faultline of Sudan. It encapsulates the cultural and livelihoods divide of the country, but at its best could also exemplify peaceful interdependence at the community level. It is a key stronghold of the South’s most powerful ethnic group, the Dinka. It may contain only less than a quarter of the country’s current production, but it is possibly the largest proven reserve over which the rest of Sudan may claim control.

UGANDA: Environmentalists point to worrying pace of deforestation



Photo: Euan Denholm/IRIN
The terrain in northeastern Uganda: The country could lose most of its tree cover in about 40 years unless measures are quickly taken to reverse the situation – file photo

KAMPALA, 24 June 2009 (IRIN) – Uganda has lost nearly a third of its forests in the last two decades and could lose most of its tree cover in about 40 years unless measures are quickly taken to reverse the situation, environmentalists have said.

“Climate change does not happen in isolation… It interacts with existing problems and challenges – notably deforestation, soil degradation, declining food security, declining fish stocks – and makes them worse,” said Frank Mulamuzi, environmental advocate and executive director of the National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE).

Uganda had more than five million hectares of forest in 1990, but only 3.5 million hectares remained by 2005. “If deforestation continues at the present rate, Uganda will have lost all its forested land by 2050,” the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) warned in its State of the Environment for Uganda 2008 report published in mid-June.

It attributed the rapid rate of deforestation to expanding farmland, rapid population growth and increased urbanization.

“Water resources will disappear, water catchments areas will dwindle, agricultural productivity will suffer and livelihoods will be affected tremendously,” Annet Nakyeyune, an environmentalist at Makerere University, told IRIN.

The effects, she said, would be felt across many social sectors including health “because diseases are going to increase”. There would not be enough energy; habitats for some animals would disappear, while some species would either migrate or become extinct.


Photo: Vincent Mayanja/IRIN
Tree planting in northern Uganda: The country had more than five million hectares of forest in 1990, but only 3.5 million hectares remained by 2005 – file photo

Who will suffer most?

The main victims, however, would be farmers and the poorest of the poor since desertification would “tamper with the country’s food security because rainfall will be erratic, floods rampant and the poor who have reclaimed wetlands [will be unable] to raise the ground of their homesteads”.

NEMA Executive Director Aryamanya Mugisha said Uganda would suffer dire environmental effects if no immediate remedial measures are put in place.

“In 41 years, if the current rate of deforestation continues, the per capita forest cover will be zero because already we are tending towards desertification-like conditions,” he said.

Mugisha told IRIN the rate of deforestation was greatest outside protected areas, currently estimated at 698. These are mainly gazetted forest reserves.

Only 10 percent of Uganda’s population has access to electricity, while the rest use biomass as a source of energy, especially firewood for cooking.

“Because 89 percent of rural Ugandans rely on burning firewood for cooking, deforestation is occurring at an alarming rate,” NEMA said.

''Water resources will disappear, water catchments areas will dwindle, agricultural productivity will suffer and livelihoods will be affected tremendously''

High birth rate

The situation, it added, has been worsened by Uganda’s high population growth which is currently 3.2 percent per annum, with high fertility rates of seven children per woman. This high growth rate has resulted in the expansion of built-up areas, particularly around Kampala.

Areas surrounding the capital have lost more than 78 percent of their forestland since 1990, and people are migrating out of the increasingly crowded city into neighbouring districts.

“It is quite an alarming development and government and NEMA require that urgent measures be taken to mobilize the population for the conservation of the present forest resources through afforestation and reforestation, [and] to educate the population about a degraded environment and its consequences,” NAPE’s Mulamuzi said.