Batwa in Rubanda District on Friday held a peaceful demonstration accusing the government of neglecting them after they were evicted from the rainforests in 1991 when the latter gazetted Mgahinga and Bwindi into National parks for the endangered mountain gorillas.
Gad Semajeri a Mutwa from Bufundi Sub County in Rubanda District says that the Government of Uganda forgot about them as of now they are ranked as the most marginalized in Uganda.
“That’s why we the Batwa community we are here today to tell you the world that enough is enough if our government doesn’t want to see our problem they allow us to go back to the forests,”said Semajeri.
Semajeri explained that since their eviction from the forests in 1991, they were subjected to severe hunger because they were originally fruit gatherers and their life expectancy has reduced from 120 to 60 years due to poverty, lack of good health, education and accommodation services among others.
As of now they get food through a lot of sweat. They work for just Ugx 3000 per day in the gardens of locals and even their wives and daughters are forced to give in sex for food and this has increased HIV among the Batwa.
“If we go back to forests we shall be happy as it belongs to us. Now we are living in abject poverty we don’t have land, our wives have resorted to sex so that they can get food for their families We are no living as beggars as we live on mercy of NGOs and good Samaritans if nothing is done we are set for extinct,”said Semajeri.
Unice Mbarushimana says that they are marganilised in education, health and they are not allowed to take part in government programs.
She says that they now want to meet President Yoweri Museveni and tell him their problems as all the people they have been sending have failed to work on their issues.
Moses Kamuntu, the Rubanda West Member of Parliament on Thursday raised the matter of national importance on the floor of Parliament requesting the government to provide food and land for Batwa community in his constituency.
Kamuntu who visited them during lock down and offered food worth Ugx 20 Million says he is also currently affected financially due to Covid-19 and he is unable to help like many others.
The legislator says that when Batwa go back to their original inhabitant, they are killed instantly and buried there. He also asserts that some are too hungry and have nothing to eat thus a need for urgent attention.
Kamuntu added that even when the government was giving Covid-19 relief, Batwa community was not considered.
Martin Mugarra Bahinduka, the State Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and antiquities assured Kamuntu of an intervention in the quickest time possible.
Anita Annet Among l, The deputy speaker of Parliament directed that Kamuntu visit the Minister’s office so that his matter is attended to with the urgency it deserves.
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