Authorities in Kagadi district have mounted an operation to restore the degraded natural resources in the district.
The operation that started with evaluation of the rate of degradation found out that over 30 hectares of Rwabituju swamp was degraded beyond recognition.
Kagadi District Forest and Environmental Conservation task force in conjunction with the office of the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) has embarked on a campaign to evict encroachers from Rwabituju Wetland that is under the threat of depletion.
Rwabituju wetland is surrounded by the four villages of Nyankubebe A & B, Katikara and Kisaara B in Nyamasa Parish, Bwikara Sub county.
According to the Survey, the community members have encroached on the wetland and cultivated crops like onions, Sugarcanes, Beans and cabbages.
Approximately 25 acres of Rwabituju wetland has been depleted.
Village Chairperson of Katikara and Nyankubebe B where the swamp passes say they tried to engage the residents but they instead took it personal and hatred emerged.
They also say that they reported the matter to district authorities who never intervened in time.
“We reported and got tired. People even said that I am a bad person just because I am a retired soldier. This swamp was very big stretching from one village to the other but as you see it is now covered with sugarcanes.” Abasi Katusabe, Chairman LCI Nyankubebe B told this website
“I have told people in Katikara to vacate the wetland but they refused and continued to dig. I even gave their names to the RDC and she would read them over the radio everyday but they never heeded to her warnings. Now that you have come, please save us.” Zabron Businge, Chairman LCI Katikara added
The Kagadi RDC Lillian Ruteraho said her team will collaborate with the local council one chairperson for the villages neighboring the swamp to get the names of the encroachers so that they are apprehended and charged.
Relatedly, Benjamin Tumusiime the Kagadi deputy Resident District commissioner revealed that 70% of the wetlands in the district have been depleted, also calling for the support of the leaders at all levels to restore the depleted wetlands.
Benjamin said in the next 2 to 3 years to come, they want to see the depletion below 40%.
Meanwhile, the Kagadi District Senior Environment Officer Gerald Byoona said the cases of encroachment on Rwabituju wetland and other swamps in the district have increased especially after Covid-19 induced lockdown.
He said that any person wishing to carry out any activity in the wetland, should write to NEMA for environmental impact assessment for clearance.
Byoona further urged residents to conserve the environment for a better living.
Some of the local council one chairpersons said they have always sensitized the residents to stop encroaching on the wetlands but the perpetrators have kept a deaf ear.
About 70% of the wetlands in Kagadi district were encroached on and destroyed after population increased and people lacked land for expansion thus opting for wetlands.
Kagadi district alone hosts three Hydro power stations of Muzizi HydroPower dam of 48MW being developed by UEGCL on R. Muziizi, Timex Bukinda small hydro power station of 6.5MW and Kigwabya mini power station on R. Nkuse thus the need for protection of all wetland and rivers in the district to safeguard all these developments.