The National Forest Authority, which has been without a substantive Executive Director for the past two years following the initial suspension and then, depending where one stands either sacking or non-renewal of contract for Damian Akankwasa who suffered from a wide range of personal and professional woes, has finally seen a new Executive Director appointed.
The Minister for choice finally was for Mr. Michael Mugisa, defeated earlier in the year as Kabarole (Ft. Portal) District Chairman, who incidentally was ruled out during an earlier recruitment process by the Board of the NFA for lacking the experience required to hold such an important position.
This contradiction apparently notwithstanding, promptly brought claims of political favouritism into play, which if found true would further hollow out and undermine the past records of the NFA as a determined defender of the countrys forests. Media reports in fact swiftly fanned the sentiment of his appointment being a consolation price as he was apparently promised to get something to do when his political defeat had become known at the time.
The NFA of last has been embroiled in a range of controversies, from the repeat attempt to once again give a quarter of the Mabira rainforest to a financially ailing sugar baron to alleged permissions to dissect the Kitibulu Forest Reserve in Entebbe to forest invasions across the country going unchecked after having spend vast resources to evict squatters and encroachers in the past.
Will the year 2012 bring this crucial environmental protection agency back into calmer waters, given these reports? Time will tell