President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has banned charcoal burning and trade in Northern and North-East Uganda.
In an Executive Order No.3 of 2023 dated 19th May, 2023, President Museveni said the people who are in charge of the environment and forestry have allowed the destructive charcoal business to go on massively.
“Apparently, armed people escort this charcoal. Where are these armed guards coming from? Who is providing them? That question must be answered. All the same, I have now decided to ban all charcoal burning and trade in Northern and North East Uganda (Karamoja, Teso, Lango, Acholi and West Nile),” the President said.
He explained that the charcoal burners and traders are so bankrupt that they even cut the famous shea-butter trees known as ‘moo yaa’ in Acholi and as a consequence, the locals now hold security people in great contempt.
“In order to save the environment and also the reputation of the NRM, I therefore, hereby ban the cutting of trees for charcoal burning. However, without greed, charcoal burning could assist ranching. How? Part of the problem of ranching are thickets (enshaka), unwanted and useful trees. These thickets would be comprised of kayuyuki (ekihuukyi-camara lantana), ebishekashekye, entobotobo, emituungu, emikwantangwe and aggresive trees like obugaando (obusaana-acacia- hohii),” Mr. Museveni said.
“In symbiotic arrangements, farmers in the West engage charcoal burners to clear the thickets and unwanted trees such as acacia hohii and convert the cut trees into charcoal they sell. You end up with well cleared farms that retain the good shade trees such as emisisa (albezia) which is also nitrogen fixing, eminyinya, emikoma etc. However, under the ban I have imposed, it must be only the Minister of Environment on the recommendation of the RDC that will authorize that symbiotic charcoal burning in the area I have indicated.”
In the same Executive Order, President Museveni also completely banned the illegal presence of the Balaalo in the Northern Uganda districts.
“First they claim to have bought the land from so and so. The problem, however, is that land in the North is communally owned for most of the time. With such land , the land, nobody can legally sell it it to anybody without the permission of the clan or family. These sells are therefore null and void. Secondly, even if they were to be legally owning the land, nobody should bring livestock in the area, if he has not fenced the land, provided water, etc., otherwise, that livestock will commit the sin of okwonesa (cattle trampling the crops of the wanainchi).”
According to the President, the ban does not mean that the Balaalo, like other Ugandans, cannot buy land and settle in Northern Uganda. He however emphasized that on the accounts of two mistakes above, the right cannot be enjoyed.
“By the authority of this Executive Order, no mulaalo should settle and bring cattle to settle in Northern Uganda, except with permission of the Minister for Lands and the Minister of Agriculture. These Ministers can only give that permission, if the two problems are addressed. I therefore direct all government agencies to ensure that these Balaalo are expelled from the indicated areas by the end of June, 2023.”
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