On Wednesday, the water and environment minister Betty Bigombe and her disaster and refugees counterpart Dr. Steven Malinga moved to Isingiro District to launch an operation to save Lake Nakivale.
Tension is mounting in Isingiro district following plans by the Ministries of Justice, refugees, water and Environment to evict encroachers on the shores of Lake Nakivale. On Wednesday, the water and environment minister Betty Bigombe and her disaster and refugees counterpart Dr. Steven Malinga moved to Isingiro District to launch an operation to save Lake Nakivale.
They issued an eviction notice to encroachers on part of the lake to evacuate the area by the end of July or risk forceful eviction. Bigombe ordered residents to move at least 200 meters away from the lake to pave way for the replanting of trees in the water catchment area.
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The proposal by government to evict the encroachers has generated tension most in Ruhoko parish, which is densely populated. Julius Ntabara, one of the affected residents has vowed not to leave saying that the he is occupies belonged to his ancestors. Ntabara says that unless government finds alternative land to resettle him and his family, he is ready to be killed defending his land.
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65- year- old Maudi Ncuranza, a mother of nine says the proposed eviction by Government is aimed at breeding bad blood amongst residents. She explains that the majority of the 400 people on the lake shores are citizens with only a small community of refugees. Ncuranza says that they are ready to protest their eviction because they have nowhere else to go. The affected families on the 64 square miles of the disputed land are involved in farming as their major source of income. Some the plants on the disputed land include sorghum, maize, potatoes, cassava and bananas.
The residents also carry out fishing and bricklaying. Joseph Mwesigwa, Isingiro district environmental officer says that the water volume in the lake has drastically dropped because of silting resulting from human activities. He says that some of the residents graze their animals in Orukinga, which has affected the crater lake.
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