Court Throws Our Rhino Fund’s Application to Block Eviction from Ziwa Sanctuary

High Court in Kampala has dismissed an application to stay the eviction of Rhino Fund Uganda from Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary in Nakasongora district. The Civil Division Registrar Jamson Karemani dismissed the application on Monday on grounds that it lacks merit and that it had been overtaken by events following government’s decision to take over the sanctuary. 

Rhino Fund Uganda, which has been managing sanctuary, petitioned the High Court last week challenging the decision by Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranch Limited and Captain Joseph Charles Roy to evict them from 62 Square kilometer acres of land where it was managing 33 white rhinos.  

The non-governmental organisation said that Captain Roy wrote to them on April 17 2021 asking them to vacate his land on grounds that they no longer had business on the premises since Uganda Wildlife Authority-UWA revoked their license three months ago.   As a result, Rhino Fund applied to Court for interim orders restraining Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranches Limited and Captain Roy from evicting them and interfering with the breeding program of the Rhinos pending determination of their main application.  

They also informed the court that the respondents had threatened to close the sanctuary and ordered them to vacate the premises not later than April 23rd, 2021for alleged breaching the fundamental principles of their obligation under the contract. Rhino fund argued that failure by the court to stay their eviction they would suffer irreparable damages since they have invested heavily in the ranch in terms of infrastructural development.

However, on their part, the respondents told Court that the application was overtaken by events because the government through Uganda Wildlife Authority has since taken over the sanctuary. In his ruling delivered to the parties via email, the Civil Division High Court Registrar, Karemani said that the move that was taken by Uganda Wildlife Authority to take over management of sanctuary changed the status quo and hence there is no imminent threat posed by the respondents to warrant an interim order.

“In the instant case from the pleadings and the submissions of both parties it has been shown that the space that accommodates the sanctuary in dispute is currently under the management of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). In a letter written by the Executive Director Uganda Wildlife Authority dated 20/4/2021 UWA took over the management of the sanctuary from any person”, said Karemani. 

Adding that, “Whatever fear is envisaged by the applicant in this case about the change of the status quo the same is not imminent and can wait for the substantive application to be disposed of.  My finding is that there is no imminent threat posed by the respondents to warrant an interim order of injunction before the main application is heard.

He accordingly dismissed the application and ordered that costs will be in the main case challenging the decision to revoke the license of Rhino fund before the agreed period of 30 years.



News Agencies