News / 17 January 2013

New struggle for last patch of rainforest in Uganda?

In 2007 five protesters perished in demonstrations against the 'give away' of Mabira forest in favor of sugar cane production. Last week president Museveni called for a 'solution' and named demonstrators 'economic saboteurs'. Both ENDS partner NAPE and it's director Frank Muramuzi are ready to continue the struggle for Mabira.

Uncertain times for Mabira forest

In recent years there has been much uncertainty about the future of the Mabira rainforest. In 2007 it became known that the Ugandan government would grant a license to a sugar manufacturer to cut one third of the forest. In April of that year, a peaceful demonstration was organised against the government's plans, but it was violently knocked down by the army and the police.

Victory for environmentalists

The fact that the incident received a lot of international media attention did not stop the Ugandan government to file a lawsuit against the protesters. However, the pressure exerted by national and international environmental activists (including Ugandan parliament Beatrice Anywar) proved to be successful: after four years of uncertainty the Ugandan OM withdrew the indictment and President Museveni saw himself forced to officially give up his plans.

A new threat
With the recent call by President Museveni, the conflict flared up and a new threat to the Mabira forest arises. The area is of great importance because of its richness in endangered animal and plant species. Moreover, the indigenous population is a source of medicines and income from ecotourism. Sugar cultivation is not in the interest of the Ugandan population because they do not look back because of the sales proceeds and the cultivation of sugar depletes the soil and infertility. Frank Muramuzi said in 2011: "The Mabira case illustrates very well that when people fight together for a good cause, even guns can not stop them. For us it is time to fight for our environment and our rights to defend." Two years later Muramuzi's ruling is NAPE relevant again and ready for the fight to continue.


Both ENDS has been working together with NAPE since it was founded, and will continue to support the work of the organisation as much as possible.


For more information about the developments in and around Mariba rainforest:


September 2011: Government of Uganda seems to soften position on
clearing Mabira rainforest januari 2011

januari 2011: Ugandan Public Prosecutor withdraws indictment against protesters


Website NAPE


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