The rain poured down when the concert was about to start but it did not stop the party.
To amplify the call for climate justice a stream of the biggest names from Uganda’s music scene had been engaged, among them Angella Katakumba and Bobi Wine. There was no way the audience would want to miss the opportunity of a free gig with their favourite musicians.
Though it was not all about having a ball.
Already at the press meeting for the 'Call 4 Climate Justice' Event, in Kampala on 12th November, Bobi Wine emphasised the importance of speaking up for climate justice.
"I'm involved with this project because it is my social responsibility as a Ugandan, as a citizen of this country, as a citizen of this world. Every little thing you do can either improve or degrade the climate. So we are here to learn and improve."
Every little thing you do can either improve or degrade the climate. So we are here to learn and improve.
However, climate change and in particularly deforestation is not completely new on Uganda’s public agenda.
For years Mabira Forest, Uganda’s largest rainforest located about an hour's drive outside Kampala, has been an extremely contentious political topic.
The issue is that Mabira Forest is in serious danger of reduction.
The Ugandan government wants to sell close to 10,000 acres of the 3,000-hectare rainforest to sugar manufacturers.
The first time the plans of selling Mabira Forest caused a public outcry was in 2007. At first the outcry manifested itself in a peaceful, creative campaign, which apart from using traditional media and communications methods also included sms chains and hooting in car horns during Kampala’s rush hour.
Later on, the Save Mabira Forest campaign turned to violent street fights leaving three people dead. The plans to sell Mabira were put on hold, but only temporarily. Over the years Mabira Forest has become a saga that has not disappeared from the public agenda. Everybody is aware that thousands of plants and bird species will disappear if Mabira is cut down and that the water levels of Lake Victoria and the River Nile will decrease drastically.
"When you speak about climate change in Uganda, Mabira Forest is what comes to most people's minds," explained Gloria Najjuma caravinite from Uganda and member of Environmental Management for Livelihood.
The latest development in the Mabira saga came in August this year, when President Museveni in a meeting with district leaders and agriculturalists at State House announced that the 2007 plans remained alive and that Mabira must go.
Again the Mabira issue went all over the wires and rushed through every possible news outlet. Even though it did not appear on the posters for the Speak up 4 Climate Justice event in Kampala and it was not mentioned in the official speech by Vice President Edward Ssekandi or any of the other speakers, Save Mabira Forest was part and parcel of the speak up message on Makerere Rugby Ground.
It’s a non-debatable issue; Mabira Forest cannot go.
As Muramuzi Frank, Exeutive Director, National Association of Professional Environmentalists, NAPE said: "The people of Uganda have already spoken up against the plans of selling Mabira Forest numerous times. It’s a non-debatable issue; Mabira Forest cannot go."
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