The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs has submitted its comprehensive report on the management of Bwabwata Communal Land.

Drawing from a petition presented by the Hambukushu Traditional Authority, the report unveils a multitude of findings and recommendations.

The report, presented by Kletus Karondo, sheds light on a range of issues, including the historical context surrounding Bwabwata National Park, community grievances, and governmental responses. 

Notably, it highlights discrepancies in communication between traditional authorities, government authorities, and government ministries, as well as concerns regarding wildlife and livestock interaction, specifically the collapse of the colonial-era fence, and the subsequent risk of diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD).

"The Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism and the Ministry of Agriculture, Water, and Forestry must repair the collapse fense in Bwabwata National Park, especially the Buffalo fense core boundary that was built during the colonial regime. The Ministry of Environment, Forestry, and Tourism should fast track the repair of the Mahango Game Park fence in order to avoid the mingling of livestock from wild animals and prevent the spread of foot and mouth disease."

Key recommendations from the committee emphasise the need for immediate action, urging engagement between ministries and traditional authorities to address longstanding grievances. Additionally, proposals for repairing the dilapidated fences, reassessing livestock removal initiatives, and enhancing community benefits from tourism development underscore the urgency of the situation.

MP and Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Technology, and Innovation Natalia |Goagoses and Deputy Minister of Works and Transport Nekundi Veikko contributed to this report after Karondo's motivation, stating that it has been a long wait for this matter to be addressed.

"When a matter of this magnitude was brought for solutions almost 7 to 8 years ago, yet there seems to be no clear direction as to how we want to address and assist this community, It is very clear there are problems, and these problems, I think, must be addressed, and there must be timelines given to who should do what, and they must come and report to this august house for us to see the logical solutions to the problems that were contained in that report."

"I really feel bad that we allowed, for seven years, the whole community under this community to cry to us, and we were just quiet. We must be fair in all our dealings, and it is paramount to address the issue that is being addressed here, comrade deputy speaker. In so far as the Bwabwata National Park is concerned, it has also relied on the natural resources and our government since its inception on March 21, 1990. One of its principles is to say, We must use our natural resources to kick poverty out of this country and to empower our people," says Deputy Minister of Works and Transport, Veikko Nekundi.


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Martha Mwafangeyo