Gifted by Nature, Disposessed by Parliament: The Plight of Mpungu Community in Kanungu District

"The purpose of this briefing paper is three fold: First, the paper provides information to the policy makers and particularly Parliament on the illegality of its resolution that formally alienated and gazetted the six villages of Mpungu Parish in Kanungu to constitute part of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Second, this paper highlights the injustice that has been occasioned on the people of Mpungu parish that has remained unresolved for over six years notwithstanding the community’s concerted effort to have the matter amicably resolved. Third, this paper provides options of solving the dispute.In spite of the value that the rural poor attach to their land in the fight against poverty, the government and its agencies have on different occasions and more especially in establishment of protected areas infringed upon their land rights. Since the colonial period, the communities whose land rights are alienated are more often neither meaningfully involved in decision making nor adequately compensated prior to the establishment of these protected areas. The Batwa in Western and South Western Uganda and the Benet in Eastern Uganda are examples of victims of this unfair and unconstitutional practice. The gazettement of the Mbwa Tract in violation of the constitutional provisions is a classic example of the recent injustices occasioned to communities without redress. Indeed that’s why there is need for government action on this matter to restore confidence in the population and restore its image in the crusade to fight injustice and poverty."