The Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has embarked on compensation for the thirty eight (38) landlords in the Katonga Wildlife Reserve in Kyegegwa and Kamwenge districts to pave way for the protected area which is earmarked to become a fully fledged national park soon.
A total of 2,980,000,000 shillings has been set aside by the authority to compensate the households following a two year survey and valuation of land and developments on two blocks Byabasiita and Kisororo.
On Tuesday August 19th, 2014,the landlords presented original land titles, bank accounts and letters of administration in case of those administering estates of the deceased, to enable UWA start wiring their funds to their respective banks. A task force comprising of district chairpersons, RDCs, DISOs, sub county chairmen and councilors from the two districts verifying the land ownership and developments after which a surveyor and government valuer determined prices for the properties based on market prices. Each landlord will get two million shillings for an acre plus 16 percent of the total price as disturbance allowance.
UWA has also given them a grace period within which to vacate possession of the land for the activities of the park to progress undisturbed. Dr. Andrew Seguya the Executive Director of UWA said in Kyegegwa last Tuesday where a Parliamentary committee on Tourism, Trade and Industry chaired by the Kyegegwa district woman MP, Mrs Flavia Kabahenda Rwabuhoro witnessed the signing of agreements between the parties, that money was readily available and within two weeks all with genuine documents will have been paid.
The UWA boss pledged to support the resolutions of resolutions by the districts of Kyegegwa and Kamwenge to have the reserve elevated into a national park. He also pledged to translocate more wildlife species to make the protected area more attractive. The legislators were happy that dialogue had been observed and compensation would take a short time to enable the former landlords acquire new areas for settlement.
The MPs also appreciate UWA plans to elevate the reserve into a national park saying this brings with it improved services and economic benefits to the neighbouring communities. Katonga reserve which borders Katonga River and a vast wetland was gazetted as a wildlife reserve in 1964 for its ecological importance and is a home to a variety of animals in unique landscapes.