Residents of Kikarara Parish in Bwambara Sub-county have asked government to reverse its plan to evict them from a piece of land, which is claimed to be part of ishasa sector in Queen Elizabeth National Park in Rukungiri District.
They are more than 8,000 residents live in nine villages of Garuka, Nyakatemba A, Nyakatembe B, Nyabugando, Kahimbi, Rwesigiro, Nyakabungo B, Nyakabungo A and Kafunjo in Ishasha Sector.
This was joy for conservationists from Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) when the results of a recently conducted census documented 604 mountain gorillas in the Virunga Mastiff.
The Virunga Mastiff is a 451 sq km area encompassing the Mikeno Sector of Virunga National Park in the DRC, Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park in Uganda. It is one of only two places in the world where the critically endangered mountain gorilla species are found. The other place is Bwindi Impenetrable National Park in Uganda, where, according to published figures in 2011, 400 mountain gorillas live.
The census, conducted from October to December 2015 and March to May 2016, did not extend to Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. However, when the results are combined – 400 mountain gorillas in Bwindi and 604 mountain gorillas in the Virunga Mastiff– as of June 2016, an estimated 1,004 gorillas exist in the wild.
The results were unveiled on May 31, 2018 by the Greater Virunga Transboundary Collaboration (GVTC) at Lake Kivu, Serena Hotel in Gisenyi, Rubavu, Rwanda, at an event attended by conservationists and scientists.
The increase in mountain gorillas is attributed to the effectiveness of conservation policies, regulated tourism, veterinary interventions, intensive law enforcement, community conservation projects and the transboundary collaboration among government institutions and non-governmental actors.
The government has set aside Shs15 billion to buy out land owners neighbouring the Catholic, Anglican and Muslim Martyrs shrines in Namugongo, Wakiso District, a senior government official has said.
Mr Godfrey Kiwanda, the Minister of State for Tourism, yesterday said the money has been provided in the 2018/19 Financial Year budget, which starts next month.
The expenditure will be part of an ambitious government initiative to upgrade the holy sites to attract more tourists and increase foreign exchange earning
Mr Kiwanda said details of planned modernisation works are being prepared by different ministries and government agencies.
“Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) will construct the roads, Works ministry the pavilions, Ministry of Water and Environment will provide water and sanitation services,” he said.
It was not immediately clear how much land the government intends to buy.
However, the inter-ministerial agency plans to expand the martyrs’ museums, erect a new modern pavilion, shopping mall and a car park for pilgrims.
Earlier, the Tourism minister, Prof Ephraim Kamuntu, said the government has realised that Uganda Martyrs are a tourists’ magnet and upgrading the shrines is projected to increase earnings from faith-related tourists to $4.5b (Shs17 trillion) by 2020, up from the current Shs10 trillion.
“The idea of investing in Namugongo is based on the fact that many people around the world believe in the Namugongo saints. We want to make each one of them a household name because they are contributing to our Gross Domestic
ted Matia Kasaija, the Finance minister will this afternoon make deliberate increments to Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) to market Uganda.
To be exact Shs30b has been allocated in that regard.
However, aGovernment has in the last three financial years had deliberate plans to promote tourism.
This has been reflected in the budget allocations dedicated to marketing Uganda, which now stands at Shs17b up from a paltry Shs1.1b.
As expecmid all this increased allocations, revenues from tourism has stagnated at $1.4b (Shs5.3 trillion) with a low visitors’ number of just around 1.4 million.