On December 22, 2020, the Buliisa District Council in Uganda passed a district-level ordinance codifying the customary laws of the Bagungu People and protecting the sacred natural sites within Bagungu ancestral territory. This ordinance recognizes the customary law practices of the Bagungu and provides for preservation of Sacred Natural Sites (SNS) deriving from Earth Jurisprudence principles and practice, use of indigenous knowledge and practices to preserve the eco-system (customary governance systems) as well as the law on the rights of Nature (ANARDE).
The legislation provides for custodians (Balamansi) of these Sacred Natural Sites (Mpuluma) and chief custodians (Balamansi Bahandu) who are directly responsible for protecting these sites and carrying out rituals to keep the necessary balance between human activities and preservation of mother earth. It prohibits all other individuals or companies from accessing or undertaking any activity in Sacred Natural Sites (SNS) and sub-sites, making them no-go zones (ANARDE). The ordinance also provides for the creation of a co-governance body of Bagungu custodians and district officials, which will oversee the implementation of the ordinance, and promote and protect the well-being of sacred natural sites in Buliisa, and ensure the rights of the Bagungu People are safeguarded.
This legislation was informed by a resolution passed by the Buliisa District Council (the same council) in November 2019 that recognized the customary laws of the Bagungu People.