By Ben Matovu
Residents of greater Kabale district are bitter with the state house official after taking up their historical site of an Island in Lake Bunyonyi.
Mathias Robert Muhereza, a State House employee who formerly stood for the Rubanda West MP seat, is under fire from tourism stakeholders in Kigezi region, for encroaching on Lake Bunyonyi’s Akampene (Punishment) Island.
Residents and Tour operators are angry that Muhereza is trying to seize the island which has served as a cultural heritage for the people of Kigezi for decades.
The area elders say the island was used as a punishment ground for young girls who got pregnant before marriage and later the island was turned into a tourist attraction site
However, Muhereza says he is trying to preserve the island by modernising it for tourists and to ensure its continued existence.
“This is our land and we have a strong cultural bond with it. What I am doing is to develop it for generations and generations to come. We need tourists but they should be visiting something developed,” he said.
Drake Owoyesigire, a tour operator at the lake says Muhereza started developing the area to set up a tourism site a few weeks ago without the knowledge of the locals and authorities in the area. He says when the State House official was confronted; he started issuing threats.
Owoyesigire said Muhereza threatened to shoot him in case he continues lamenting about his takeover of the island and filed a case of threatened violence at Kabale police station reference: SD33/17/01/2018.
Muhereza denied allegations of threatening residents opposed to his work saying that some of them are being used by selfish investors to block the development of the Island.