While many generals may use their rifles to fight bloody wars, Ugandan General Kasirye Ggwanga uses his AK47 assault rifle to protect the environment.
For the past decade, Ggwanga has shot to disable a number of trucks that have involved in elicit timber trade. But that is not just all, Ggwanga seems to have a deeper understanding of the environment. as he does not only protect the forest but the noise too. He is on record for shooting at born again Christians who make continuous uncontrolled noise . He has also shot at revelers who play music at level that interfere with other peoples freedom.
On 27th-December 2009, while speaking to news reporters from NTV Uganda, Ggwanga admitted having shot 2 bullets in the air to disperse a group of born again Christians who were playing loud music that interrupted peace and tranquility in Makindye a suburb of Kampala city. “I tried to talk to them, they ignored me, so I had to shoot 2 bullets in the air. I never touched their machines as purported in the news“. said Kasirye Ggwanga adding that he only took these steps after he had received repeated complaints and pleas for help from his community that the born again Christians were making unbearable noise even in the wee hours of the night.
In January 2019, General Ggwanga fired bullets and deflated a car that was being driven by an aides of a local artiste Catherine Kusasira on the grounds that the aides of the artist were playing loud music that disrupted peace at a public place.
In August 2019, Ggwanga in two separate incidents shot and deflated tires of two lorries that he said were involved in the cutting down and ferrying of Eucalyptus logs from Bussujju county, Mityana District.
Those involved in the harvesting of the eucalyptus claim that they are cutting their own commercial forests that they planted. However Ggwanga vowed to stop them from cutting this forest from his ancestral place of birth saying that these people destroyed the indigenous forests to pave way for the planting of the eucalyptus. Therefore to Ggwanga, the Eucalyptus must be left uncut to compensate the indigenous forest that were cut down by these commercial tree planters and harvesters.
To many, General Kasirye Ggwangas’ actions are presumed to be acts of impunity that he derives from his military history and rank. But I believe the world owes to critically examine Kasirye Ggwangas’ argument before judging him.
According to him, he is opposed to the idea of People coming from Kabale district that is about 200 kilometers from Mityana to destroy forest in his ancestral village. He adds that people some times think that he is tribal but he says no, no, no its not that he is tribal but he cares about his environment.
Despite our roars from critics, Kasirye Ggwanga vows to continue to protect the forests in his community, adding that if need be, he will shoot to kill anyone who plays around the forest in Mityana. His argument may not seen genuine to many but if listened to carefully and time taken to observe the impact of climate change in his community, he should in fact be recognized as a hero.
He blames the commercial tree planters and harvesters for destroying the water catchment areas that has resulted to drastic shortage of water. “ We used to have water here flowing at all times at door steps. but today we do not have water, people in my community have to walk for miles to get water.: says Kasirye Ggwanga.
Its now up to you to judge whether he is really misusing his rank or his gun. But to a few environmental enthusiasts, he deserves a medal of honor.