NEW AGREEMENT PUTS PAST DISPUTES OVER THE ZIWA RHINO SANCTUARY TO REST
(Posted 19th September 2020)
The government of Uganda has successfully resolved a long time dispute between the Rhino Fund Uganda and Capt. Joe C. Roy.
The mediation presided over by the Honorable Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Hon, Tom Butime culminated into signing of an agreement, on 18th September, 2020 between the two parties, Government of Uganda represented by the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, and Uganda Wildlife Authority.
Following the extinction of the rhinos in Uganda in the 1980’s, several efforts were made to reintroduce them into the country. Rhino Fund Uganda (RFU), a non-government organization, partnered with Capt. Roy of Ziwa Ranchers (ZR) to import the rhinos on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Uganda. Capt. Roy offered his 16,000ha piece of land to act as a sanctuary to the rhinos for a period of 30yrs with effect from October 2002. The reintroduction program saw two rhinos instituted at Uganda Wildlife Conservation Education Center, and six at Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary (ZRS) in 2002 and 2006 respectively. Management of the sanctuary has since been done by Rhino Fund Uganda, with Uganda Wildlife Authority providing security on the sanctuary.
In October 2017, the cordial relationship that existed between Capt. Roy and RFU became constrained, which threatened the existence of the rhinos at the sanctuary, thus calling for government mediation.
HE the President of Uganda met the two parties at the time, and gave guidance on the dispute resolve, assigning the Head of State House Legal Unit and the Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities to reconcile the matter. The Honorable Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, Hon Tom R. Butime, has convened several meetings to this cause.
The historical meeting that saw the end of the dispute was held yesterday 18th September 2020, presided over by the Hon Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities, in attendance the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Doreen S. Katusiime, the Commissioner Wildlife Conservation, Dr. Barirega Akankwasah, the Executive Director of Uganda Wildlife Authority, Mr. Samuel Mwandha, the land owner, Capt. Joe C. Roy, the Chairperson of Rhino Fund Uganda, Mr. Daudi Makobore, the Executive Director of RFU, Ms Angie Genade, lawyers from both sides and other Ministry technical officials. The new tripartite arrangements will strengthen the cooperation between the parties and ultimately improve the management of Rhinos at the sanctuary for eventual successful breeding and reintroduction of rhinos in the wild.
Said RFU’s Executive Director Angie Genade to ATCNews following the release of above official press statement from the Ugandan government when asked to comment: ‘My statement is simple. We are happy that we could come to an agreement and look forward to the positive development of the rhino program in the future. We are grateful to all who assisted in the mediation of the agreement.‘
That is indeed the wish of every conservationist in Uganda and beyond and of all people who stood by RFU in the past by putting the well being of the rhinos and the continued – and globally unprecedented – success of the breeding programme first.