Hoima Authorties Create Buffer Zone To Separate Cultivators from Cattle Keepers

1369 Views Hoima, Uganda

In short
Mwesigye who is overseeing the work says the buffer zone was erected following the traditional zones that separated the two communities to avoid conflict.

Hoima district authorities have created a buffer zone in Kigorobya Sub County to ease conflicts between pastoralists and farmers in the area.


 
The area, which is situated near Lake Albert, has been a hotbed of constant clashes between pastoral and farming communities, leading to bloodshed and property destruction. The farmers always accuse the pastoralists of letting animals to destroy their crop gardens, while the pastoralists blame the cultivators for encroaching on their grazing land.
 

Ambrose Mwesigye, the Hoima Deputy Resident District Commissioner says the conflict in the area has been giving authorities headache until recently when a stakeholders' meeting was convened to agree on a lasting solution.
 
He says it was agreed that a buffer zone be created separating the two communities. Work to erect the buffer zone started on Wednesday, with community members erecting a barbed wire barrier, spanning the villages of Kapapi 1 and 2 in Kapaapi parish and Runga in Kibiro parish.

Mwesigye who is overseeing the work says the buffer zone was erected following the traditional zones that separated the two communities to avoid conflict. Mwesigye says anyone who crosses either side of the buffer zone will be held liable.

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In August last year, clashes broke out in Lenju village in Bwikya parish Kigorobya Sub County pitting the Bahima pastoralists against Alur cultivators. More than 20 huts were burnt, two people injured and four cows killed.
 
Similar clashes have occurred in the previous years. For the last two weeks, tension has been simmering in the area following an attack on a pastoralists' child by suspected Alur cultivators. Local leaders have always blamed the land conflicts on the failure by the two immigrant communities to respect the traditional zones. 

James Mugenyi Mulindambura, the Kigorobya Sub County LC V councilor says the indigenous Bagungu had split the area into fishing, grazing and farming zones. He says the Lake Albert area was a fishing zone, while the upper side of the escarpment was gazzated into grazing and farmland.
 
 
Mulindambura who is a native Mugungu says these zones were so much respected adding that none one would get into another's zone anyhow.

He says when the Alur and Bahima immigrants came in around 1998, they disregarded these zones. Mulindambura says re-zoning the area is a step in the right direction and urges community members to respect the buffer zone.