Batwa Cultural leader, Jeofrey Nzito has demanded that the government of Uganda recognize him as a king.
“I want the Government to recognize me and my subjects and facilitate me like it has done to other Kings in the country,” Nzito said.
“Bassua also known as Batwa should not be marginalized. We are also Ugandans,” he said in a mixture of Luwitsi, Rutoro and English.
At the pygmy camp in Ntandi in Bundibugyo district, Nzito called on the government to give special consideration for his subjects to access education and benefit from income generating projects.
“The government should gather all school-going age Bassua children and take them to boarding schools far from their camp to avoid escaping from school,” Nzito added.
His proposal on education among the Bassua (Batwa), who reportedly do not exceed 60 in number, was in response to reports that the children escape from class to go hunting in the forests.
A pygmy youth, Julius Balyebulya, asked the government to build tertiary institutions in the area to enable them acquire technical skills like motor vehicle mechanics, carpertry and tailoring.
The Bundibugyo Seventh Day Adventist Church Education project manager, Enock Isebojo, attributed the increasing rates of school drop- out rates among Batwa children to early marriages.
The Batwa (so-called Pygmies) are the Indigenous peoples of south-west Uganda and are among the different cultures in Uganda that are looked for by many tourists trekking safaris in Uganda, Africa.
They lived in Mgahinga national park and Bwindi impenetrable forest that are homes to theendangered mountain gorillas, popular for gorilla tracking, an activity that attracts many visitors to undertake Uganda safaris.
In 1991, the Bwindi and Mgahinga National Parks were established which caused great suffering to Batwa and other neighboring local communities because they were expelled from the land they called their own.
In recognition of the devastating impact on the Batwa of the creation of the National Parks – a proportion of the conservation Trust’s community development budget was allocated to a Batwa component, the most important element being a process of buying small fields for individual Batwa families.