Lubigi eviction has been one of the biggest stories in Uganda this week. Going viral on media, has been the Lubigi swamp on the northern outskirts of Kampala City of encroached.
This was reportedly ordered by the president Yoweri Museveni months ago, the authorities Resident District Commissioner for Kampala, the National Environment Management Authority NEMA and the Environment Police have been planning the execution behind the scenes.
The Lubigi Swamp eviction operation has been clothed, and rightly so, in the mantra of fighting climate change through restoring degraded environment. The media has done a great job bringing the operation to the public, the desperate and painful scenes notwithstanding.
The last operation was a few years ago when NEMA cleared Bugolobi Kitintale swamp south east of the city. The target for this operation was mainly the rich that had reclaimed the wetland and erected huge mansions. This time at Lubigi, the target is the ordinary folks and rich mafia that reclaimed the wetland and allowed the poor to erect shacks from which they collect rental.
It is not clear whether NEMA’s timing of this operation has anything to do with the prolonged dry spell the country has faced recently, or the flash floods that caused mayhem in Mbale a few weeks ago and are now all out to carry out their mandate. It is clear the country desperately needs to fix the environment.
The media has periodically highlighted many of these things either as news or features. Problem is that coverage of the environment has tended to be episodic and as you may have noticed, the Lubigi reclamation was covered for more than three days. Perhaps that was as long as the operation lasted.