By Arinda Nsheeka Wilfred
The Batwa, who are regarded to be the most endangered race on the African continent will soon crown their king officially.
Mr Gad Semajeri, the executive director of the Batwa development organization (BDO) revealed this to our reporter on Wednesday in Kabale town.
Semajeri Gad, a mutwa by tribe said that the Batwa indigenous community have their own king, called King Geoffrey Nzitu – who lives in Bundibugyo district in the semuliki region.
According to semajeri, King Nzitu has not been officially crowned, which he says is the issue on their next agenda.
The most endangered race on the African continent?
According to semajeri, the Batwa before used to live in the forests until they were expelled from there in the year of 1990.
“The government of Uganda expelled us from from living in the forests in 1990 with its mission of conserving nature ” He said.
Semajeri and all the Batwa used to live in Echuya forest before their expulsion. He says that the government didn’t give them land for settlement after their expulsion. They today live by God’s grace.
Most of the Batwa are treated as children of a lesser God, they are today segregated from the rest, most of them have not gone to school, do not access heath services, their girls are raped by other races and they are poverty stricken.
Semajeri said that life in the forest was better than today – because they had everything including food, shelter, and herbal medicine.
“We had better food, shelter and medicine – but today if they find you in the forest, you are arrested ” semajeri said.
Semajeri said that he started his NGO to help his fellow Batwa to know their rights and improve their welfare. He adds the the forest reminds them of their past and a symbol of their rich heritage.
The Batwa live in Kigezi region in the districts of Kabale, Rubanda, Kisoro, Kanungu and in Bundibugyo in the Semuliki region.
Their population reduces every year because of disease like cholera, malaria and jiggers.
Gov’t neglected them?
Since their evacuation from forests, the government of Uganda left them helpless. According to Semajeri, even the land where the palace of King Nzitu is,was provided by partners, not government.
He says that NGOs have helped them a little than government.
He adds that the Batwa want representation in Parliament, in the army and want the president to give their king a vehicle and security guards like he has done to other traditional kings.
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