The Mt. Moroto Tree Planting Project launched by the speaker of parliament in semi-arid Karamoja last year has not lived up to expectation.
In June last year, speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga launched the tree planting project in Katikekile sub-county with the aim of protecting the environment and addressing the climate change threat in the region.
Parliament was to oversee the project for three years. The ten-hectare project on the slopes of Mt. Moroto in Tepeth county had a combination of tree species that include Mahogany, Markhamia, Neem, Cassia and Pine.
However, most of the trees have dried up. The anticipated forest area has also been swept by wild fire leaving the land almost bare. Some of the residents that our reporter found fetching water from the borehole meant for watering the trees said the project was abandoned by both local leaders and parliament officials.
They note that not much effort was put in the project after it was launched. During the launch, Kadaga promised that parliament staff would be checking on the progress of the project every month.
She also assigned National Forestry Authority (NFA) officials in Moroto and some local leaders to take charge of the project. Katikekile sub-county chairperson Michael Akol says the project was abandoned by the people entrusted to manage it. He notes that the team left behind after the launch of the project worked for only two months and disappeared.
Moroto district forestry officer, Zachary Lochoro said he was not involved in the management of the project. "Whatever happened to the trees. I am not aware. I was neither consulted nor involved in that tree planting project", he said on phone.
Chris Obore, the director of communications and public affairs in parliament, says the trees were affected by harsh weather.
"We have a report from the NFA area manager. He says due to harsh weather, some species died and need replanting. The nearby river used for manual irrigation also dried up. We are going to replant the dead species when the rain season starts," he said in a text.