UGANDA: LEADERS ISSUE RED CARD TO “DEFORRESTATION” AS “GULU GO GREEN-PLANT A TREE” CAMPAIGN TAKES SHAPE

Mr. Michael Lakony, Amuru district Local council V chairman says security personnel are involved in environmental degradation through charcoal business.

“Security personnel are involved in charcoal business. That is why we find it very difficult to curb it. The Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) and the police are not helping us fight the vice because some of their colleagues are involved. I have already briefed Members of Parliament from Acholi sub region about some of them, and I want our MPs to raise it in parliament”-Lakony.

GULU-UGANDA: The leadership of Gulu district in Northern Uganda, on Saturday July 9, 2016 launched a tree planting campaign dubbed; “GULU GO GREEN-RUN TO PLANT A TREE” campaign by organizing a five kilometer marathon run within the city as a measure to fight the rampant destruction of forest cover which affects climate change negatively and to attract youths to plant more trees, both in school and at home.

In January this year (2016), Mr. Ojara Martin Mapenduzi, the Local Council V chairman of Gulu, launched a campaign against commercial charcoal burning because they were destroying the environment which cause climate change. Recently, he was caught on camera, caning some charcoal dealers from central parts of the country, who had defied his directive to halt the exercise and follow right legal procedures.

Gulu is currently experiencing the worst dry spell in decades due to deforestation for commercial charcoal business by non natives from central Uganda, yet it used to receive the second highest amount of rainfall after Entebbe in the sixties. The war against deforestation has since attracted the attention of most districts in the greater northern Uganda, sending fears that the war may cause shortage of charcoal for cooking in urban centers in future. A bag of charcoal costs about UGX.80000/= shillings ($24 dollars) in Kampala.

In a similar account, the Amuru District Local Council V chairman, Mr. Michael Lakony the business has attracted some army officers; Captain Sulaimani Kibirige, Captain Rukundo Gilbert, Captain Geskard and one Captain Johnson Kanyesigye.

“Security personnel are involved in charcoal business. That is why we find it very difficult to curb it. The Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) and the police are not helping us fight the vise because some of their colleagues are involved. I have already briefed Members of Parliament from Acholi about some of them and I want them to raise it in parliament”, says Lakony.

Flagging off the marathon run, the paramount King of Acholi, Rwot David Onen-Acana II, thanked the youths, who turned up for the run, saying the environment needs to be conserved for the future generations, saying that the campaign is timely which should be rolled over to the entire region.

“We all know that protecting the environment is very important to mitigate climate change and here you are taking a great initiative that environment is conserved for the future generations” says Rwot Acana II.

The Deputy Secretary General of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party, Mr. Richard Todwong, who participated in the run, says government needs to come up with alternative policies to encourage environmental conservation by encouraging school children to plant trees at both schools and in their homes. He appealed to government to lower taxes on alternative sources of energy for cooking such as electricity, gas and solar so as to protect existing trees from being cut to make charcoal and firewood.

“We should not cut down trees already existing but plant more trees instead. We should make it a policy that each and every child plants a tree at school and at home. I know most people use wood fuel for cooking but government should come out with an alternative policy to encourage the use of electricity, gas and solar power for cooking, by lowering taxes on such products”, says Mr. Todwong.

The Chief runner, also chairman of Gulu district Local Council V chairman, Mr. Ojara Martin Mapenduzi, says the “GO GREEN-RUN TO PLANT A TREE” Campaign will be an annual event to create awareness on environmental conservation and invite the population to plant more trees to fight climate change.

“We want to promote the culture of tree planting and environmental conservation by starting it from our schools. We are sending a message that planting trees and conserve the environment is a concern for all. We are also warning those destroying the environment to stop forthwith because time is running out’, says Mapenduzi.

 

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