The war of words between two legislators Nathan Nandala Mafabi of Budadiri west constituency and Jack Wamanga Wamai of Mbale district is increasing almost every moment in spite the fact that they are all from Bugisu sub region.
This cold war erupted when the Mbale legislator supported the motion that was tabled by Mudimi Wamakuyu the Elgon county MP of the degazettement of all forests in Uganda. This motion was totally opposed by the Budadiri west MP and this left a discord among parties.
Addressing the press in Mbale On Friday 11th, honorable Wamai attacked Nandala for contrasting the degazetting of forests in Uganda well knowing that Mbale also needs a city status which he said can be achieved through degazetting this forest. “All members of parliament were surprised when he stood up and opposed the degazetting forests including his own in Mbale. I don’t expect a normal person really to have said no to the development of the town why do you refuse Mbale to grow?” Wamai asked.
Wamai who was angry said that honorable Nandala rebuked and shouted at him like a young child because of his supporting the degazetting of the forests.
According to Wamai, in 2006 the Association of town councils of Mbale, Gulu, Jinja, Mbarara, Fort portal and Arua went and met president Museveni and requested for their towns to be granted city status.
He added that the president responded to them that they should fulfil the conditions that are required for them to become city status and among them were to get alternative land for National Forest authority to give them land. “the municipal council had to sell its own land found in Namakwekwe ward in order to raise money for buying land for National forest authority as an alternative and in fact it was Nandala who bought it at a giveaway price of ugsh180 million”. He said.
He added that the municipal council went ahead and asked for permission from the Minister and attorney general to grant them permission such that they can borrow money from bank which they did.
He said that the municipal council later borrowed ugx800m from Housing Finance bank and bought 550 hectares of land in Bunambutye in Bulambuli district as an exchange to National
Nandala responded during a press briefing held on 12th Saturday in Mbale, the Budadiri west legislator who doubles as the secretary general of Forum for democratic change FDC blamed Wamai for being a hindrance to Mbale’s development. “We should not use our offices to abuse others. Why does Wamai and Zandya (mayor) think that the forest is a hindrance to town?” he asked.
“I am surprised to hear that wamai who has ever been in big cities like Beijing can destroy the forest yet there, they destroy shops, roads and plant trees. Instead of destroying it lets just improve the eco-system, build cafes, hotels and enjoy the places” he said
Nandala said that the Mbale district MP has his own selfish interest in that forest that is why he is championing the act of degazetting it. “he did not show up during the controversial age limit bill, social media tax, land issues now he has come out on digazetting of forests but I shall not allow” he said.
Nandala said that he bought land in Namakwewe in lawful manner. “The municipal council placed announcements in paper calling for bidders. I was the highest bidder because the government valuer had put it at ugsh100million but me I bought it at ugshs185million” he said adding that by then USD1 was equivalent to ugshs1100 and he paid USD180, 000
However, the Manjiya County MP John Baptist Nambeshe said that degazeting forests in towns is being championed by greedy land grabbers who want to benefit themselves saying any city like Washington and others all have forest reserves because they combat climate change.