Parliament summons Minister Butime over wildlife law
Parliament Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa has asked the Tourism Minister Col Tom Butime to present to the House a comprehensive statement on the progress regarding the operationalization of the Uganda Wildlife Act, 2019.
Mr Tayebwa August 11 told Parliament that Col Butime had still failed to gazette regulations to operationalize the Wildlife Compensation Fund meant to provide compensation to people who lose their lives or suffer property damage by animals escaping from wildlife protected areas.
While the law was passed in 2019, the tourism ministry has not effected implementation of its guidelines.
“We passed a law here but people are not being compensated. I request that the Minister comes here on Thursday next week with a comprehensive statement on the implementation of the law” Mr Tayebwa said.
Michael Wanyama Odwori, the Member of Parliament for Namayingo South, tabled the matter saying that the hippopotami from Lake Victoria have been destroying crops for his constituents. At least 57 islanders have been killed by hippos in the last two years.
Similarly, legislators Robert Migadde of Buvuma Islands and Joseph Ssewungu Kalungu West also questioned why people continue to be killed by the wild animals and crops destroyed without compensation
Third Deputy Prime Minister, Rukia Nakadama told Parliament that she was “going to speak to the Minister of Tourism to take action on the case of Namayingo South but it attracted an unsympathetic response from the house.”
About the law
The Uganda Wildlife Act, 2019 provides that compensation be made where someone suffers harm, injury or destruction or property or crops by animals from neighboring parks.
The Compensation is supposed to be affected when the victims’ legal representative submits a claim to the wildlife compensation verification committee. The committee shall verify a claim and submit it to the board together with its recommendation. The board will then review the claim and if approved, compensate victims according to the market rates.
Animals whose damage on crops and property are eligible for compensation are; elephants, buffalos, lions, leopards, hippopotami, baboons, gorillas, chimpanzees and bush pigs.
Meanwhile, animals whose damage leads to loss of human life or causes body injury that shall be compensated for are; elephants, lions, leopards, crocodiles, buffalos, hyenas, hippopotami, gorillas and chimpanzees.