Uganda’s Batwa, and Conservation’s Double-Edged Sword [analysis]

The word ‘conservation’ sends warm fuzzies pulsing through the hearts of greenies. Yet with conservation of the environment often comes the neglect of the indigenous communities that have been there all along. Just ask the Batwa tribe of Uganda.

Over five years ago, Simako Amos and Kedres Ntezitchi, two elder members of Uganda’s Batwa tribe, travelled east from the Kabale district to the country’s capital, Kampala, on an eleven-hour bus ride.

Their mission: to see President Yoweri Museveni, and ask him, first hand, when they would be able to return to their home in the aptly named Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. After 23 years of dispossession from their home, they had grown agitated and desperate with the empty promises of the government and poorly enacted land and constitutional rights. They wanted reparation, and they wanted answers.

The president “was nowhere to be seen”, says Amos of their journey to State House.

Ntezitchi, the tribe’s female leader, nods her head vigorously. “There were only people who kept writing on papers no one would even look at us,” she adds.

This journey was both redundant and humiliating for a tribe that is identified as the earliest inhabitants of the East…

Source : Daily Maverick

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