Two weeks ago, when Maj. Gen. (rtd) Kasirye Ggwanga announced a struggle to protect and preserve the environment in Mityana, he warned that nobody should go to the forest reserves in Busujju county and cut trees.
A few days later, the retired army officer stopped a lorry carrying eucalyptus tree logs, and shot at its tyres, warning the driver never to carry away any tree from Busujju.
Last Saturday evening, Kasirye found another lorry carrying tree logs, stopped it and shot at all its tyres, warning the occupants that they should only carry away the vehicle, but leave the logs. Both incidents have happened at Kajoji village in Maanyi sub-county, Busujju County, Mityana district.
This is near his home at Munkene village, which he calls ‘Camp David’. The Fuso lorry was loading eucalyptus tree logs when Kasirye Ggwanga found it. Gerald Wambi, the trader who had hired the lorry to carry the logs, said he was still loading the logs from two different forests.
“Due to the poor roads, we had first loaded a few logs and we were driving to a better place, where we could load more logs. This is when he (Kasirye) learnt about it,” Wambi said.
He said he had hired the lorry from Kampala, to transport the logs from his private forests.
Wambi told journalists that after the incident, he went to Maanyi Police Station and reported a case of malicious damage by shooting, appealing for help.
“What I wanted most is the security to escort me so that I can carry away the lorry. However, Police kept on confusing me and did not help me,” he said.
Police spokesperson for Wamala Region Nobert Ochom said they had got the complaint and were investigating. Other residents in Maanyi sub-county, where the incident occurred, declined to comment.
When Gwanga was asked about the incident he neither denied nor accepted having done it, but said he had started a struggle to preserve the environment.
“Many people were cultivating in these forest reserves and they would earn a living. However, they were evicted and a few people from far away were offered leases to plant eucalyptus there. Now they are cutting and selling them. We shall not accept this,” he said.
He said eucalyptus trees are dangerous to the environment and the communities have already started experiencing the effects of environmental not in the reserves, but at Kigogola village.
Kasirye, who boasted of having received his pension, said he is no longer ‘yawning for anything in this world’, but only wants to support his village mates and the nation.
“Our people are basically depending on agriculture, but agricultural activities cannot be productive when the environment is degraded. These people have now planted eucalyptus trees in swamps and around wells, which I cannot allow,” he said