Meet Nampura Ronald from Uganda.
Ronald is an Advocate of the High Court of Uganda. He is driven by a commitment to social justice and environmental conservation. He desires to live in a society where justice is accessible to all and where protection of the environment is a priority. Currently Ronald serves as a Resident Associate at Green Deal — a non-governmental organization that is dedicated to advocating for climate and environmental justice and holding authorities accountable through public interest litigation (PIL). Through his work, he hopes to tackle systemic issues and empower the voiceless through PIL so as to ensure that environmental justice is a lived reality.
Ronald’s practicum placement is at Kiiza and Mugisha Advocates. Ronald has found this new working environment enlightening and one that instills a serious work ethic. He also greatly appreciates the supportive colleagues who motivate him to continue learning.
For his project, Ronald is working on environmental degradation, particularly threats to Zoka forest reserve. Zoka forest is located 500 km North-west of Uganda’s capital city — Kampala. The forest which covers a land area of 1259 hectares also serves as a key water catchment area because of River Zoka. The forest is rich in biodiversity, hosting a myriad of bird species, insects, flying squirrels, 75% of the world’s butterfly species as well as the Afzelia Africana trees. To the local community, Zoka forest provides medicinal herbs, and is a key climate driver in the region. Zoka forest was gazetted by the British protectorate government in 1948 and has since been a forest reserve protected under the laws of Uganda. Article 237(2), (b) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda 1995 (as amended) provides that the Government shall hold in trust for the people and protect natural lakes, rivers, wetlands, forest reserves, game reserves, national parks and any land to be reserved for ecological and touristic purposes for the common good of all citizens.
Despite the legal protection offered, in 2013 the forest was invaded by illegal loggers and encroachers who have since then cut down the forest for charcoal and timber. This has reduced the size of the forest by 52%. This is an indicator of the Government’s failure to protect forest reserves as legally mandated. The destruction of the forest has also threatened the livelihood of the people living around Zoka, who depended on the forest for income through tourism as well as in exchange for information provided to botany researchers. The proposed case therefore seeks legal action to compel the Government to protect Zoka forest reserve, as mandated by the law. Ronald hopes this project will add on to the jurisprudence of environmental law in the region, and offer the much needed protection to Zoka forest and the local communities living around the forest reserve.
Something interesting about Ronald is his love for cows — especially the long horned Ankole cattle. In his downtime, you’ll find him at the farm taking care of cows.
“We are the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it.” — Barack Obama
We wish Nampura the very best in his PIL endeavours, as he works towards the change he wishes to see.