Rhino fund Uganda withdraws Case against Ziwa wildlife ranches

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Rhino Fund Uganda has withdrawn a case of breach of contract against Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranches. 

The case was filed in April 2021 against Ziwa Rhino and Wildlife Ranches Limited led by Captain Charles Roy who is being accused of terminating the agreement and has since ordered Rhino Fund Uganda to vacate the land.    

The licence in question was signed on August 20th 2002 to run for 30 years and it was cancelled in January 2021 after 18 years.    

According to court records, Captain Roy on April 16th 2021 wrote to the Rhino Fund Uganda asking them to vacate his land on grounds that the organization no longer had businesses there since Uganda Wildlife Authority had revoked their license.    

Captain Roy gave Rhino Fund Uganda only seven days to vacate his place where they were managing 33 rhinos.  Later, Rhino Fund Uganda filed a case of breach of contract and also an application seeking to stay the implementation of the eviction notice given to them. 

However, the fund lost the application to block the eviction on grounds that the organization had failed to prove that they were to suffer irreparable damages if the eviction goes ahead.  

Court records indicate that the case was withdrawn before Justice Musa Ssekaana in a letter submitted on May 14th 2021. 

According to the letter copy of which URN has seen, it doesn’t state reasons for withdrawing the case save for saying that the respondents had not yet filed their Defense by the time the request to withdraw was made.   

“We refer to the above matter wherein we represent the plaintiff with instructions to address you as hereunder”, reads the letter in part. It adds “the above suit was filed on 20th April 2021 and both defendants were served on 22nd April 2021. To date, the defendants have not filed and or served their respective defences. In the circumstances, we hereby withdraw the suit and all applications with no order as to costs”.   

However, also the records show that after presenting the withdrawal letter, the owners of the land led by their lawyer Richard Omongole asked to be given costs.    

Justice Ssekaana granted the withdraw with orders that the organization pays costs to the landowners.     In April, the Uganda Wildlife Authority- UWA issued a statement closing the sanctuary from the public until further notice due to the land wrangle.    

But the lawyer representing the landowners Omongole says that there are ongoing negotiations to reopen the sanctuary to the public.    

According to Omongole, after losing the application for an interim injunction, the organization did not have any plan other than withdrawing the main case.    

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