Wetland encroachers given six month to vacate

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Wetland encroachers in Kakumiro district have been given a grace period of six months to vacate wetlands before the face the wrath of the law.

The directive from the district comes at a time when several wetlands are under heavy encroachment by people who have depleted them to grow crops.

The LCV Chairperson Kakumiro district, Joseph Sentayi said that the grace-period is meant to give space to those who have already planted crops to harvest them. He adds that the district will also use this period to sensitize people on the importance of wetlands.

Ssentayi said that many areas in the district are already facing water shortage as a result of environment degradation.

The Kakumiro RDC Daniel Kikoola said that local leaders have been engaged on the matter adding that leaders should sensitize their people on protecting the environment.

Three people were last week arrested for encroaching on wetlands in Bugangaizi East County.

Last year, after several conflicts emerged due to sand mining in Mabengere Wetland in Buhonda village Kisiita Sub County Kakumiro district, Kakumiro district environment and natural resources department led by the Resident District Commissioner Apollo Mugume intervened and halted all activities of sand mining in the wetland.

Residents from 5 Sub Counties of Mwitanzige, Mpasana, Nkooko, Kisiita Sub county and Kisiita Town Council were conflicting over the wetland which they accused one of their residents Fred Magara of harassing them while they were mining sand from the same wetland.

They however said that this wetland was not a gazetted wetland in Uganda.

Jackson Aryampa the LC3 Chairperson Kisiita Sub County that hosts the wetland said that they had been having conflicts involving mob justices and murders over who should use the wetland for sand and asked the security team to help them before they shed blood.

Fred Magara the accused trouble causer who also claimed ownership of this wetland said that several teams of people had been claiming this wetland because of its sand yet he is the rightful user of this wetland.

Magara further said that he inherited the land from his grandparents 1982 and started using it in 2012 and that he is the rightful user and owner of the land in contention.

Apollo Mugume the then Kakumiro district RDC halted all activities in the wetland until they get the rightful user with an operating license from the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA).

RDC Apollo Mugume further warned all those who encroached on wetlands for their personal use to vacate as soon as possible before they are handled by the law during the restoration of wetlands exercise.

Wetlands in Kakumiro district have been encroached on especially for agriculture ever since the government settled Mpokya people under the resettlement scheme in 1992.


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