Cyclists from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi and South Sudan have said Uganda is very dirty because it has failed to manage plastic waste and polythene bags that are scattered everywhere and are dangerous for the environment.
More than 20 bicycle cyclists from the great East African Countries, under the Great African Cyclists Safari (G.A.C.S) began their journey on August 1st 2021 in Arusha, Tanzania and uniformly rode into Kenya then into Uganda.
Over the weekend the team entered into Rwanda via Cyanika, Kisoro district and intend to continue into Burundi and eventually end their excursion in Tanzania covering 6,000Kms in 55 days.
The objective, according to the Cyclist group is to promote peace, Unity, tourism, sports, Environmental conservation and East African integration. The riders began the initiative back in 2016.
While riding through Kisoro district, the Cyclists observed that its beauty is unmatched however the level of plastic waste and polythene bags, commonly known as Kaveera are too many and post a risk to the environment.
G.A.C.S team leader and Founder John Balongo said Kisoro is not the only direst place in the country because Ugandans have a poor attitude towards preserving their environment.
Balongo made the remarks while addressing the Kisoro Resident District Commissioner Rtd. Captain Peter Mugisha who was encouraged to form Climate clubs in Kisoro to ensure younger generations become more aware of Climate change issues.
The Kisoro RDC Peter Mugisha said the solidarity among the East African riders will go a long way in promoting regional cohesion.
Gift Ali Charles Munga, cyclist from Kenya says that Ugandans should choose to use bicycles instead of vehicles.
He also recommended that Government poses a serious ban on Kaveera just like it is being done across East Africa.
The Great African Cyclists got involved in a cleanup exercise at the Kisoro district headquarters where they found a lot of plastic rubbish and kaveera.
Before crossing from Uganda to Rwanda, G.A.C.S organizers, cyclists, political leaders and security heads planted trees in Uganda named after Peace, Unity, integration and love as a reminder for leaders to work towards achieving the one East Africa.
Government Position on Regional Integration
The Minister for Internal affairs Kahinda Otafire has called on all East African nations to seek integration alongside promoting peace in the region.
The Minister’s remarks were made by the Assistant Commissioner of Immigration from the Directorate of citizenship and immigration control Moses Murari at Cyanika border with Uganda and Rwanda.
Murari, who spoke on behalf of the Minister said it is a desire for the Ugandan Government to have all East African countries working together in Political, economic and social aspects.
He noted that through President Museveni’s dream of East African Community, citizens can now easily cross borders for trade and personal issues without passports.
“As of today, Ugandans can cross to Kenya or any other East African Country with only a National Identity Card and without much interrogation on the intention of the journey and time to be spent in the destination or country of choice,” Murari explained.
The Kisoro District Deputy Resident District Commissioner Dan Ndikumwami commended the organization of G.A.C.S for putting the East African Integration plan into practice.
The Uganda Peoples ‘Defense Forces (UPDF) 35th Battalion commander Lt. Colonel Kafureka Gumizamu called upon G.A.C.S to organize more events aimed at limiting border restrictions among East African Nations.
Lt. Kafureka said that the boundaries are a hindrance to free movement of goods and services hence blocking development.
He further noted that they also create unnecessary tension between countries.
The visiting team planted trees at various points within the district including Kisoro district headquarters, Kisoro Municipal offices, Cyanika border and no man’s land between Uganda and Rwanda among other places.
These trees are meant to signify Peace, Unity, Integration and Environmental conservation.
Vomuhabura has learnt that the cyclists are still in Rwanda but are all in good spirits and intend to proceed to Burundi.