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By Mulengera Reporter

Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) has responded to Acholi leaders who have accused the conservation agency of hindering development by blocking a road.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mulengera News reported that Acholi leaders, headed by Amuru District LC5 chairman Mike Lakony, were cursing UWA officials for blocking the construction of a road that is supposed to link Bombay to Kampala landing site in Amuru Sub County. (See: ACHOLI LEADERS GANG UP ON UWA BRANDING IT SABOTUERS OF DEV’T).

The road is also expected to pass through part of East Madi Game Reserve and areas of Amuru. Once complete, people who eke a living from the Madhivani Sugar Factory will find travel to their workplace easier.

The leaders further note that UWA officials threw spanners in the road works in late 2019, an action that has accumulated extra costs since the contractor’s machinery has stayed idle for months now. According to Lakony, UWA’s sabotage had also rendered hundreds of youths working on the project jobless.

An initiative under the Project for the Restoration of Livelihood in Northern Uganda (PRELNOR), a plan under the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), the road works were being undertaken by Davrich Construction Ltd.

UWA’s rift with Acholi leaders is now putting Shs1.9bn at stake, with the money expected to return to the Consolidated Fund at the end of this financial year in case it is not utilized on the project.

Bashir Hangi, UWA’s Communications Manager, told Mulengera News the conservation body won’t allow the 14km road to pass through East Madi Wildlife Reserve because it (the road) is not necessary.

“There is no need for a road in a wildlife reserve, we cannot allow that,” said Hangi. “There is a public road already; so, there is no need of a second one.”

For now, continued the publicist, the “integrity of the reserve is our main priority.”

“Any developments in the reserve have to be approved by UWA, which is the body responsible for the Management of Wildlife reserves in Uganda,” he said.

UWA manages at least 40 wildlife conservation areas, including 10 national parks, 12 wildlife reserves, five community wildlife management areas and 13 wildlife sanctuaries.

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