Monday, 21 November 2011


Three gorilla killers were fined 50,000 Ugandan shilling which is of course less than 20 US dollars though were caught red-handed by the ranger and brought before the Kanungu magistrate’s court. This is caused some sort of mischief to the magistrate from conservationist within Uganda and beyond boarders.
Among the so many attractions within the tourism industry in Uganda, gorilla tracking is one of the most important elements attracting so many tourists from all over the world to visit Bwindi and Mgahinga the 2 gorilla parks with in Uganda. Gorilla tracking permits cost USD500 excluding all other facilities like the meals, accommodations, transport any other while on the tour. When the three poachers were caught a number of weeks ago by the ranger after killing a silverback gorilla, this was shocking news to the conservationist crew. Fortunately however, they appeared before the judge to be charged for the crime they had committed and the media was well represented when the case came up for hearing though the magistrate’s decision to only fine them just shs50,000 and not send them to jail is an action that might send a wrong message to the rest of the poachers in other parks out there. Because of this decision, the magistrate has been named incompetent and an accomplice to poaching criminal punishment are often in outdated laws especially in Kenya and Tanzania.
The conservationist in East African demanded for at least 10 years in prison as the minimum sentence to together with sever hard labor incases of commercial poaching and fines heavy enough to have both the poachers and those funding their work run bankrupt. Unfortunately up to now none of the parliaments has come up with an appropriate amendment to those laws in existence so as to deter those inappropriate ones.
Conservationists’ leaders have in messages to this correspondent overnight repeatedly mentioned the ‘poor judgment’ by the magistrate and called for a judicial  report on the case by higher courts, saying ‘this decision will encourage poaching in Uganda. They say they a provision in law equating killing a prized gorilla to committing manslaughter so that the sentence can become stronger since the fines no longer yield any impacts on the public. Because of this verdict was disgrace upon the entire judiciary, conservationists think the magistrate should regime from office since while tourists pay 500 US Dollars to see gorillas and the poachers were fined 55 US Dollars all together which equating it to their despicable offence committed.

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