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Shs 500 million ‘Holy’ tree: How much would have been paid in compensation for a church or a mosque? – Lawyer David Mpanga

By David Mpanga

Lots of sniggering about the Lugave Clan Tree but there are underlying questions which should be considered. Let’s start this thread with the basic one – what is the value of a tree? I suppose the answer depends on who you ask. In Japan trees are relocated to make way for roads.

Ask a scientist and they will tell you that trees make the very air [oxygen] that we breathe. Environmentalists would add that tree cover is critical to maintaining our favourable climate and guaranteeing rainfall aside from providing habitats for different insects and animals.

An anthropologist would also tell you that trees can be a central part of the cultural and spiritual belief systems. The concept of sacred trees, groves or forests is as widely held as humanity is spread around the world.

The controversy around the Lugave Clan Tree speaks to the lack of a proper Environmental and Social Impact assessment. It also speaks to the condescending (essentially racist) and hostile attitude that Abrahamic religions have towards native belief systems.

If you think I am wrong, pause and think for a moment how much would have been paid in compensation for a church or a mosque. If your instinctive response to that is “They are not the same!” you are proving my point.😁

The writer is a Buganda Kingdom lawyer.

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