Kabarole District Struggles to Restore Wetlands

1694 Views Fort Portal, Uganda

In short
Godfrey Ruyonga, the Kabarole District Natural Resources Coordinator, says the campaign is being hindered by interference from local leaders.

Kabarole district is struggling to restore 250 wetlands following a campaign launched last year. The campaign followed a resolution passed by the district council to evict encroachers from the 250 wetlands. 


The restoration campaign involves demolition of permanent structures, cutting down eucalyptus trees and banana plantations that were planted in wetlands by communities especially in Karambi, Busoro, Kichwamba and Harugongo sub-counties.

However, a year after the campaign was launched, it has not yielded fruits. Several encroachers continue cultivating crops in the wetlands. Godfrey Ruyonga, the Kabarole District Natural Resources Coordinator, says the campaign is being hindered by interference from local leaders.

 
He explains that even after passing the resolution, LC chairpersons and councilors have been reluctant to support the department in the campaign. 

He adds that lack of funds has also affected their efforts to restore the wetlands, adding that they presented their budget to the District Executive Committee but they have not received any funds. 

//Cue in: "many areas… 
Cue out: '…wetland banks."//

In Kihigami wetland, Busoro Sub County, the LC1 Chairperson, Francis Mwesige and other encroachers have also planted rice and beans inside the wetland. 

Sande Mugisa, the Kihagami area environmental committee chairperson, says that politicians in the area have frustrated efforts to restore the wetland.
 
Mugisa explains that five months ago, the regional environmental police evicted more than 300 encroachers from wetlands, but the encroachers returned less than two months after on the directives of Mwesige, who claimed ownership of the wetland. 

Mugisa says that in a bid to protect the wetlands, they plan to implement the wetland management and conservation programme at the village, parish and sub county levels. 

Under the programme, neighbouring communities utilize the wetlands for economic benefits, while at the same time protecting them from destruction. It was introduced by the districts in the region. 

This is not the first time wetland protection programmes have stalled in Kabarole district. 

In 2015, the district in partnership with the Water and Environment Ministry embarked on the demarcation of wetlands. 


The demarcation included retracing the wetland boundaries and placing mark stones. However the programmme stalled due to lack of funds. 

 

About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.