PAKWACH. Local leaders in Pakwach district have asked Uganda Wild Authority (UWA) at Murchison Falls National game park to ring fence certain jobs for communities neighbouring the game park.
They say the move would instill a sense of ownership, reduce poaching and promote tourism in the long run.
The leaders were meeting the officials from Parra Murchison park on Friday to advance symbiotic working relations to regulate poaching by the community neighbouring the park.
The officials from Parra Murchison park explained that despite community driven intervention like revenue sharing channeled towards pressing needs of the nearby community, the rate of poaching has persisted.
Mr Robert Omito Steen, the district chairman expressed displeasure of continued sidelining of potential members of the community who meet the necessary perquisite during the recruitment as wardens.
He said such special considerations for jobs for the locals would send a strong message that they own and those recruited would in turn act as good will ambassadors.
"As district leadership of Pakwach, we have enjoyed partnering with UWA, the main issue drawing us together today could easily be solved by recruiting daughters and sons where some of these poachers come from", he said.
He continued "We have received many complaints from those that have tried the few available opportunities that with almost all the requirements, they are sidelined and this is worrying for us as a district".
Pakwach district neighbours Murchison Falls national game park with mainly the area of Pujwang village in Pakwach town council and Mukale parish in Pakwach Sub County. UWA says at least 10 poachers are arrested monthly from the said areas.
Mr Mike Okethwengwu, an official from the town council said the council shares the same position on recruitment with the district.
He said the benefits of park revenue sharing has not yielded much due to what he termed " imposing" of priority needs on the community by UWA.
The Uganda Wildlife Act Cap 200 of 2000 requires UWA to allocate 20 percent of the collected park entry fees to the local governments surrounding the protected area to strengthen partnerships between local communities and management of wildlife areas leading to sustainable management of wildlife resources in protected areas.
In response, Mr Wilson Kagoro, the Community Conservation Warden Murchison Falls game park based at Parra clarified that all due processes are duly considered while recruiting staff.
"The concerns raised by you leaders are legitimate but I want to make it clear that jobs at Uganda wildlife Authority are of national standard without creating sectarianism and compromise, let us encourage our community to keep trying in case they feel cheated, they can launch their complaints to our offices", he said.