Jubilations,Excitement As Parliament Passes UWA Bill: Minister Launches  World Wildlife Week

Jubilations,Excitement As Parliament Passes UWA Bill: Minister Launches  World Wildlife Week

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By Patrick Jaramogi

Kampala, Uganda: There was jubilations and excitement among communities neighbouring Uganda’s National  parks following the passing by Parliament of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) Bill 2017.

The bill that was brought to the floor of parliament by the Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities in June 2017 was passed by parliament on Tuesday. The UWA Bill 2017, Now UWA Act 2017 awaits to be consented by His Excellency the president to become law.

The Acts seek among others to provide for conservation and sustainable management of wildlife, strengthen wildlife conservation and management, continue the existence of the Uganda Wildlife Authority, streamline roles and responsibilities for institutions involved in wildlife conservation and management and to continue the existence of the Wildlife Fund.

Among the sections of the new Act, UWA will now be in position to compensate the persons whose crops or animals are destroyed or killed by marauding wild animals from the park.

“We have been praying for this law for a very long time, we are happy it has finally been passed. We have been losing millions of shillings in crop destruction by wild animals,” said James Bihande from Kasese district, that neighbors Queen Elizabeth National Park

Some families have always complained that they have lost countless cattle, goats and sheep to marauding lions from Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Christopher Komakech from Panyimur in Packwach that neighbors Murchison Falls National Park said the passing of the bill by parliament will help compensate communities whose properties and lives are lost at the hands of vermin animals from protected Areas. “God is good, we can at least breathe now,” said Lochap Rogers from Kitgum, a neighbor to Kidepo Valley National Park

Under the previous Uganda Wildlife Act, there was no provision that caters for compensation on the extent of damage caused by any wild game even outside the protected areas.

Under section 84 of the new Wildlife Act, is a clause that puts in place the establishment of a compensation fund that will be manned by the damages committee of Uganda Wildlife Authority.

The committee will be charged with doing an assessment of the damage caused by wild animals outside the Protected Areas and providing funds to minimize the extent of the damage by their animals because they will want to reduce on the monies paid in compensation.

Minister Kiwanda Hails New Act As He launches Worldwide Life Week

State Minister for Wildlife Godfrey Kiwanda Suubi commended Parliament for supporting his efforts, and that of his ministry to pass the Uganda Wildlife Bill 2017.

Speaking during the commissioning of the weeklong activities to commemorate this year’s World Wildlife Day (WWF), Kiwanda told the Nakawa Market vendors that it would be so unfortunate for their grandchildren and great grandchildren to be told in the future that once upon a time, there was an animal called the elephant.

Minister Kiwanda (L) joins Nakawa Div.MP Micheal Kabaziguruka (In suite) and other local leaders to clean Nakawa Market on Tuesday

“With this new Act, that will soon be law once its signed by President Museveni, stringent measures have been put in place to protect wildlife and to punish poachers who are threatening wildlife with extinction,” said Kiwanda.

Kiwanda who joined Nakawa MP, Michael Kabaziguruka, Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) officials, Nakawa Division Councilors, students and market vendors in cleaning the market said tourism is not only about visiting national parks, and posh hotels.

“I don’t think if Uganda, as a country had only gorillas and baboons, they would get tourists without the people who are so welcoming,” he said.

Kiwanda again took a swipe at those who were castigating him for launching the controversial ‘miss Curve” saying; “I still stand by my words, as a Ugandan and Minister for Tourism, I feel any Uganda, whether big of small has a right and is duty bound to show the beauty that God gave them.”

He said with time most Ugandans were beginning to appreciate his efforts in helping the ‘curvy’ women also get noticed and appreciated due to their beauty.

“These (curvy women) are saying we are also beautiful but can’t contest in the Miss Beauty Pageant due to our size, am saying why don’t you hold your own, what’s wrong with that?” he asked amidst a thunderous applause

He urged the Market vendors to maintain hygiene if they are to attract tourists in their market.

“When a tourist comes to Uganda, what sells the nation is not the beautiful white sheets at Serena or Sheraton Hotel, but the beauty of fruits and smile of the market vendors. But this will only be possible if you consider proper hygiene,” he said.

The Division MP, Kabaziguruka hailed Kiwanda for choosing his Division, Nakawa as the starting point for celebrating this years’ WWF Day.

The World Wildlife Day is celebrated every 3rd of March Annually. On 20 December 2013, at its 68th session, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) proclaimed 3 March, the day of signature of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), as UNWorld Wildlife Day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants.

The theme for this year’s celebrations that will be held in Arua is: ‘Life below water: for people and planet’, which aligns with goal 14 – Life below water – of the Sustainable Development .

President Yoweri Museveni is expected to grace the event.

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