Gov’t Resolves Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary Dispute

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Tourism Minister Tom Butime (C) after the agreement signing on 18th September, 2020
By :
Baluku Geoffrey

Kampala, Uganda – Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife & Antiquities-MTWA has successfully resolved a long time dispute between the Rhino Fund Uganda and Capt. Joe C. Roy.

In a statement to the press, Ms. Patricia Nuwagaba, the Public Relations Officer at Uganda’s Tourism Ministry noted that the mediation was presided over by sector line Minister Col. Tom Butime.

“The mediation presided over by the Honorable Minister for Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Hon, Tom Butime culminated into signing of an agreement, on 18th September, 2020 between the two parties,” Nuwagaba said.

– Dispute –

Following the extinction of rhinos in Uganda in the 1980’s, several efforts were made to re-introduce them into the country.

According to MTWA, Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU), a non-government organization, partnered with Capt. Roy of Ziwa Ranchers (ZR) to import the rhinos on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Uganda. Capt. Roy offered his 16,000ha piece of land to act as a sanctuary to the rhinos for a period of 30yrs with effect from October 2002.

Africa Tembelea has learnt that the reintroduction program saw two rhinos instituted at Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Center, and six at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary (ZRS) in 2002 and 2006 respectively.

However, in October, 2017 the cordial relationship that existed between Capt. Roy and RFU became constrained, which threatened the existence of the rhinos at the sanctuary, thus calling for government mediation.

Presdient Museveni poses for a group photograph at State House after a meeting with Ex Tourism Minister Ephraim Kamuntu, RFU Board Members Daudi Makobore (Vice Chairman) and RFU Executive Director Angie Renade

The President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni then met the two parties at the time, and gave guidance on the dispute resolve, assigning the Head of State House Legal Unit and MTWA to resolve the dispute.

A number of follow up meetings were then convened that culminated in yesterday’s mutual understanding.

“The historical meeting that saw the end of the dispute was held yesterday 18th September 2020, presided over by the Hon Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities,” a statement from MTWA said further.

Also in attendance was the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Doreen Katusiime, the Commissioner Wildlife Conservation, Dr. Barirega Akankwasah, the Executive Director of Uganda Wildlife Authority, Mr. Samuel Mwandha, the land owner, Capt. Joe C. Roy, the Chairperson of Rhino Fund Uganda, Mr. Daudi Makobore, the Executive Director of RFU, Ms. Angie Genade, lawyers from both sides and other Ministry technical officials,” a statement from MTWA said further.

According to Dr. Akankwasah Barirega, Commissioner Wildlife, the new tripartite arrangements will strengthen the cooperation between the parties and ultimately improve management of Rhinos at the sanctuary for eventual successful breeding and reintroduction of rhinos in the wild.

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