MABIRA: URGENT ACTION IS NEEDED
Mabira is one of the most important natural forests which protects the eco-system of one of the biggest fresh water lake in the world Lake Victoria in Uganda. Lake Victoria is also the source of one the longest rivers in the world river Nile. A decision by the Ugandan government to give away part of Mabira forest to Scoul a sugar company has provoked an angry response from the general public. Given the importance of the forest to conservation of natural bio-diversity many feel that destroying a forest for the sake of sugar growing in not worthwhile. Many economists have already said the planned give of about 7100 hectares for free to Scoul would be the biggest subsidy ever given to any company in the world. The price of the timber alone in the said land is said to be over $500 million. Environment minister Maria Mutagamba prepared a cabinet paper defending the degazetting of the centuries-old nature reserve, if government takes her decision then it is only parliament or the court which will prevent the destruction of part of the one of the most important tropical forest in Uganda. Having lost already two forests to plantation Agriculture many environment groups are not resting and promise not to lose the fight to save Mabira.
The save Mabira campaign gained momentum when His Royal Highness the Kabaka of Buganda(king), tribe that is next to Mabira offered to give Scoul a good amount of land to save Mabira. Various churches and individuals are also willing to give Scoul their land for sugar cane growing at prevailing market rates for hire on condition Scoul abandons its plan to destroy Mabira. This seems not to have worked as Scoul still wants to take part of Mabira because the government offer is free. Much to his credit, His Royal Highness the Kabaka of Buganda, has taken his offer to save Mabira a step further. The Mengo government of Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II will next week seek a court injunction restraining the government from giving away the national forest reserve. Public outcry over the intention of the government to cede off a chunk of the forest may have reached a crescendo from all quarters but has achieved little.
Ugandans of all walks of life are now at the edge of their seats hoping the out come from the court can save Mabira.