Museveni Launches Industrial Park In Wetland Amidst Protests

4501 Views Luweero, Uganda

In short
In his speech, President Museveni asked residents to cooperate with the investors, saying the project will be key in transforming the economy. He also commended the Chinese government for not meddling in local affairs of the country like other countries.

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, which measures 383.092 hectares, connects Luweero to Nakasongola district. During the ground breaking ceremony at Ndibulungi village in Butuntumula Sub County in Luweero district on Tuesday, the President of Kehong Uganda Industrial Development Limited, Luo Hong said the company intends to inject $ 220 million (over Shillings 748 billion) and recruit more than 25, 000 workers.
 

(Chinese and English Byte)



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In his speech, President Museveni asked residents to cooperate with the investors, saying the project will be key in transforming the economy. He also commended the Chinese government for not meddling in local affairs of the country like other countries.
 

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Luganda Byte
 

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However, some residents and environmentalists have criticized Museveni for launching an industrial park in the wetland, saying it is affects their efforts to combat climate change in the area. Abbey Mukalazi, a local farmer argues that Lubenge Wetland has been source of water for pastoralists from both Luweero and Naksangola districts.

Mukalazi says with the clearance of the wetland, pastoralists will feel the pinch of drought that usually hits the area very hard.
 

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Joseph Mubiru, a pastoralist in Ndibulungi village says they are also worried that the activities of the Chinese firm may compromise the eco system of Lake Kyoga, where the water from Lubenge wetland has been flowing too.
 

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Recently, local leaders and Environment officers led by Nakasongola LC 5 chairman, James Wandira rose up in arms against the project and petitioned National Environmental Management Authority-NEMA for intervention. They accused Kehong Uganda Industrial Development Limited for clearing the wetland without getting an environment impact assessment certificate from NEMA.
 
 
As a result, the Water and Environment Ministry halted the activities of the firm. URN couldn't reach Naomi Karekaho, the NEMA spokesperson to confirm whether or not the company had finally secured the certificate. But Vincent Kityamuwesi, the focal person for the project in the office of Vice President told URN that the company secured the environmental impact assessment certificate and clearance from other relevant ministries.

 

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.