By Najibu Mulema
The cabinet minister for lands,housing and urban development,Betty Amongi came out to clear the air that Zoka forest will not be tampered with.
Last Friday, state minister for lands,Persis Namuganza told journalists that government was in plans to degazette part of Zoka forest in Adjuman in favour of investors like Madhvani and kakira sugar works to create land for sugarcane plantation.
Persis had said, the government was planning to get 10,000 hectares from Zoka forest to facilitate the project.
On hearing about this,the people of Adjuman were displeased which forced the deputy prime minister, Gen Moses Ali to engage the Madi people in a conference where he called the cabinet minister for lands,Betty Amongi to clarify on the issue of Zoka forest.
Amongi told the Madi people that the government wasn’t planning to degazatte Zoka forest.
“Am taking responsibility on behalf of my minister for state,on behalf of ministry of water,on behalf of National forestry Authority ,
that zoka forest will not be degazetted.” said Amongi.
She said,it’s true the government wants to get land for investors like Madhvani to plant sugarcanes but not Zoka forest,the land to be used is in Amuru district near murchison falls gamepark.
“We have agreed that we shall treat that land as customary land and we shall proceed according to land acquisition act and we shall acquire it and compensate the people of kololo in Amuru district.”Among added.
The deputy prime minister,General Moses Ali used this chance to decline the allegations that he is working with the government to destroy Zoka forest.
“we haven’t sold this land,if am supposed to have sold this land long time ago,i would have sold it before,but am telling you i have never sold any land in zoka and i have no way to sell it even if i wanted to.”said Gen.Moses Ali.
The people from Adjuman and Moyo who attended the conference warned the government not to try selling the zoka forest,they also want the government to arrest those trying to sell the forest.