ASIAN JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENT & ECOLOGY
5(2): 1-18, 2017; Article no.AJEE.37838
ISSN: 2456-690X

Adonia Kakurungu Kamukasa Bintoora and Richard Godfrey Matanda
School of Sciences, Nkumba University, P.O.Box 237, Entebbe, Uganda.
Uganda Wildlife Authority, P.O.Box, 3530, Kampala, Uganda.

 

Abstract

Mount Elgon forest is a trans-boundary ecosystem transcending Kenya – Uganda border. It is an important watershed which nourishes Lake Victoria, Lake Kyoga, Lake Turkana and a vast array of rivers including the Nile. The Benet/Ndorobo community has for a long time been using the forest as a shelter, source of pasture for livestock and wild food as well as products like handcrafts materials. In the recent past, the community has adopted crop farming with adverse effect on the forest ecosystem. To avert the dire consequences of forest degradation as a result of human settlement, the government decided to degazette about 6000 ha of the forest to systematically resettle this group. However, the resettlement exercise was mismanaged and as a result, many people were either not properly resettled or totally ignored. Further attempts by the government to portion more forest land for Benet/Ndorobos was in vain. Against this background, a study was carried out between August 2014 and June 2015 aimed at identifying the governance issues involved in the management of the forest and root causes of the resettlement problems, leading to the government’s failure to peacefully, fairly and justly handle Benet/Ndorobos’ land case. The document analysis approach coupled with systematic verification of land claims was applied. In addition, structured interviews with government officials and opinion leaders who were selected using purposive sampling technique were carried out. The results indicated that whereas, the resettlement exercise was initially intended to benefit the marginalised community; over 80% of land recipients were non-Benet/Ndorobos. Also, the land allocation exercise was characterised by political interference, nepotism, incompetence, corruption, abuse of the resettlement guidelines and total neglect of interests and concerns of targeted community. The study concludes that Benet resettlement is more or less a structural problem that demands a high degree of good governance practices.

 

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