Luweero District Starts Campaign to Restore Wetlands

1564 Views Luweero, Uganda

In short
Early this month, President Yoweri Museveni threatened to sack Chief Administrative Officers, Resident District Commissioners and Police Commanders in Nakaseke and Luweero district after witnessing several wetlands degraded during a visit to the area.

Authorities in Luweero district have embarked on a campaign to restore degraded wetlands after President Yoweri Museveni threatened to sack them.

Early this month, President Yoweri Museveni threatened to sack Chief Administrative Officers, Resident District Commissioners and Police Commanders in Nakaseke and Luweero district after witnessing several wetlands degraded during a visit to the area.

Museveni listed wetlands at Kabeere, Kagembe, Wabikokoma, Bulega, Lwetunga, Mayanja, Wakasanke, Kalasa, Lukumbi, Walubumba, Kyerezi and Danze wetland which had been had been degraded under their watch.

Speaking at the Commissioning of Goodwill ceramics industry in Kapeeka Sub County, Nakaseke district Museveni vowed that next time he finds the wetlands encroached on he will fire the officers.

Teopista Gateese, the Luweero District Natural Resources Officer says that 10 out of 13 sub-counties have been visited to sensitise the residents against encroachment, regulated farming activities, applying for user -permits and laws governing the wetland use.

Gateese says that with support from Ministry of Water and Environment they also have demarcated boundaries of Lumansi wetland system to control further encroachment.

She adds that they have conducted environmental inspection and compliance monitoring visits for wetlands, stone quarries and other projects in natural resources.

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Ssozi Bakisuula the District Secretary for Production says that the environmental degradation has already caused adverse effects of climate change in Luweero leading to prolonged drought.

Bakisuula says that they are going to work with the environmental Police Protection Unit to ensure they evict all those who encroached on the wetlands. He, however, expressed fears that some of the encroachers are connected to top government officials.

However, the campaign has attracted mixed reactions from local leaders and users of the wetland.

George Walugembe Musoma the LC 3 Chairperson of Bamunanika sub county says that people have encroached on the wetlands because of adverse climate effects whereby the upland is no longer fertile and ideal for farming.

Musoma says the district must help residents to utilize the wetlands within stipulated guidelines rather than evicting them.

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Sam Musoke a farmer in Kagoye wetland explained that they have nowhere to cultivate and if they are evicted their families will face starvation.

Others asked President Museveni to first cancel land titles and stop commissioning factories which cause great damage to environment.

Museveni has been criticized for commissioning factories constructed in wetlands and central forest reserves.

In 2016 President Yoweri Museveni has launched an Agricultural Industrial park project in Lubenge wetland amidst environmental concerns.  

The China-Uganda Agricultural Industrial Park is under Kehong Uganda Industrial Development Limited, a private Chinese firm, which secured a 99-year lease to use the wetland. The wetland measures 383.092 hectares and connects Luweero to Nakasongola district.

In 2014, Cabinet issued a directive to Nema to cancel all land titles acquired in wetlands after the 1995 Constitution.

In June this year, the National Environment Management Authority cancelled more than 600 land titles that were acquired in wetlands around Kampala after the 1995 Constitution.

 

About the author

Brian Luwaga
Since Brian Luwaga joined Uganda Radio Network in 2011, he is still amazed how, "URN is a place that gives journalists a chance to enhance their skills . It gives a journalist an opportunity to adopt and master various aspects of journalism that include radio broadcast, social media, photography and television production."

A practicing journalist since 2009, first with Star FM, Luwaga has always been keen to write about the concerns of the "common person." Based for much of his career in Luweero, Luwaga takes it as a compliment if politicians complain that his reporting is too harsh.

In his journalism, Luwaga likes to merge the past with the present. He believes you cannot understand what is happening now, if you do not have a grounding in the past. Brian Luwaga is the Luweero URN bureau chief. Nakasongola, Nakaseke, Mityana, Mubende and Wakiso districts fall under his docket.

Luwaga is interested in humanitarian work and is a keen Rotarian.