Uganda’s Mabire nature reserve threatened


This video is called Prevent destruction of the Mabira Forest.

From the World Socialist Web Site:

Ugandan President Museveni proposes land giveaways to international business interests

By our correspondent

10 September 2011

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni sparked widespread social anger this week by proposing that 7,297 hectares of the Mabira Central Forest Reserve be allocated to SCOUL, (Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited) a subsidiary of the Mehta Group of Companies, which is a private conglomerate based in Mumbai, India. Mehta operates on four continents.

The Mabira Central Forest Reserve is one of Uganda’s largest ecological reserves. It is home to hundreds of species of trees, birds, and primates.

Under Museveni’s proposal, SCOUL would acquire about 24 percent of the total area of the Mabira Reserve for the purpose of growing sugar. If this expropriation occurs, Museveni and SCOUL claim that the manufacturer could increase sugar production and save about US$25 million to US$50 million each year in sugar imports. Uganda has recently seen massive spikes in sugar prices. Also, the value of the Ugandan shilling has declined sharply against the US dollar in the last few months, which has caused a sharp increase in the cost of living.

On Tuesday August 23, Museveni addressed his NRM ruling party caucus declaring: “Uganda is suffering from low sugar supply due to lack of land for sugarcane growing.” In other words, Museveni is hijacking public land on behalf of international corporations, ostensibly to alleviate the high price of sugar. Nothing could be further from the truth. Most production of any resource inside Uganda is designated for export abroad. This is just the latest giveaway of Uganda’s assets to international financial interests in a sordid series of privatizations Museveni has carried out since coming to power in 1986.

This wholesale theft of resources on behalf of international capital has had a catastrophic effect on the Ugandan working class and deepened social inequality.

In Mayuge, a district that is near the Mabira Forest Reserve, families suffering financial hardship have been selling their land very cheaply to sugar companies and are left with very small pieces of land for food crops cultivation, a situation that has caused food insecurity in the district. These “dirt cheap” land acquisitions are not unique to Uganda, but are shockingly common in all parts of Africa.

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