Following increased vigilance by Uganda Wildlife Authority to fight illegal trade in wildlife products, another consignment of 42 poisonous snakes and 147 chameleons was this week impounded at Entebbe International Airport in what is yet more evidence of the need to strengthen the UWA presence at Entebbe Airport and other border outlets.
A consignment of 62kg of ivory was On Sunday night confiscated by Uganda Wildlife Authority rangers following a tip off from a security operative at the airport.
The ivory which was parked in two blue leather suitcases had already been cleared by airport security and the various organizations involved in clearing cargo for export before a whistleblower alerted UWA.
Fifty six senior officers of the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) on Saturday passed out after completing a three week course in leadership development and basic military training at the National Leadership Institute, Kyankwanzi.
The pass out ceremony was presided over by the minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities Mrs. Maria Mutagamba who was flanked by the director Tourism Mrs Grace Aulo and the commissioner for Wildlife Mr. James Lutalo.
Mrs. Mutagamba said the course was not only a fulfillment of a constitutional requirement under Article 17 which requires all able bodied Ugandans to undertake military training, but also a re-tooling and re-energizing step for UWA officers to refocus and manage resources more efficiently .
She urged the participants in the course to use the acquired skills to maintain the cohesion and implement the best practices in the running of the organization. The minister promised to address the challenges facing wildlife conservation and the tourism sector."We have the determination to address the challenges in tourism for us to claim our fair share in the global tourism market," she remarked.
Mrs Mutagamba argued that tourism sector has a potential to employ more Ugandans and increase its contribution to the GDP from the current 9% .
A member of the UWA Board of Trustees, Captain John Emily Otekat said the new board is determined to ensure to continued capacity building and morale for the for the staff .He called for discipline and determination for the staff to achieve their personal career aspirations and organizational objectives .
The acting Executive Director UWA, Mr. Stephen Masaba said the course was vital for leadership, management and practical skills while aiding one to appreciate own country. He revealed that UWA intends to recruit over 350 rangers to improve on the protection of the protected area integrity, curb illegal activities and improve tourist security. He also said the board had approved construction of more accommodation and establishment of an intelligence unit.
The deputy director NALI, Major Peter Ajoket said political education is the pillar of the National Resistance Movement with the purpose of harmonizing perception on what to do and how to do it. He said during the course duration, the students had tackled Political Education, Skills at Arms, Foot arms drills, Field craft, basic intelligence and patriotism among others. He said the overall performance was good and hooped the students would become dependable agents of transformation
The function was graced by the UWA Law enforcement Coordinator Colonel Charles Tusiime, the UWA Director Conservation Mr. John Makombo, the acting director finance Mr. Yunus Musisi and the Human Resource manager Mr. Chris Mwesiimo.