The chief magistrate’s court in Kamwenge has sentenced John Vian Matsiko to eight years in jail for illegally entering a wildlife protected area.
The 24-year-old fisherman is a resident of Nsika parish Kamwenge sub county Kamwenge district who was arrested by Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA personnel on January 17, 2023 while fishing along River Mpanga inside Queen Elizabeth National Park.
UWA spokesperson Bashir Hangi confirmed that the suspect was arraigned on Wednesday, February 1, 2023 on a charge of entering wildlife protected area without permission and he pleaded guilty.
The state prosecution told court that the wildlife generates revenue to the government and that there is a need to protect Uganda’s flora and fauna, further arguing that keeping people like Matsiko away for a long time may help wildlife to multiply and generate more revenue.
Kamwenge Chief Magistrate, Moses Lubangula agreed with prosecution saying that it is the duty of court and state to protect the country’s flora and fauna by deterring offenders from destroying wildlife for sustainability, and sentenced Matsiko to serve his next 8 years in prison.
The UWA act, section 30 and 70 stipulates that when one is guilty of illegal entry into wildlife protected areas is liable to more than 10 years in jail.
Uganda’s steadily growing tourist numbers are estimated to have reached 1.5 million per year, contributing 7.7% to GDP as of February 3, 2023 – with tourism earning Uganda’s GDP over 5.6 trillion Ugandan shillings (over US$1.60 billion) annually.