KAMPALA, (Xinhua) --
The Ugandan government on Tuesday issued
a 21-day ultimatum to residents of 11 villages that have
encroached on one of the biggest wetlands located in
northwest of Kampala, capital of Uganda.
wetland is one of the many wetlands facing destruction
despite its critical roles of filtering, retaining and
controlling floods in and around the surrounding
districts of Kampala, Wakiso and Mpigi.
state minister for Environment Mary Gorreti Kitutu said
hundreds of people during Christmas season and New Year
2018 invaded the wetland, filled it with lay soil and
set up houses while some converted it for agriculture.
are there to play their roles but not to be distrusted.
What the law requires of us is to issue restoration
orders. So what was in the papers was a reminder for
them to restore and get out of the wetlands in a period
of 21 days, and if they don’t vacate, then we shall get
them out of the wetland by force,” said Kitutu.
wetland has for long been a soft target for encroachers
who reclaim it for settlement, farming, bricklaying,
washing bays and other activities.
shields parts of Kampala as well as Wakiso District from
flooding, in 2011 people claiming to be army veterans
attempted to settle there but were stopped.
2013, a group of traders under Uganda Patriotic
Voluntary Organisation (UPAVO) descended on the same
wetland and started constructing stalls, claiming they
had authorization from State House.
officials from the National Environment Management
Authority (Nema) warned that should this wetland
disappear, the entire Central Cattle Corridor, which
includes Luweero, Nakasongola and Nakaseke among other
districts will not have water.
Nema officials cut down gardens of several food and cash
crops such as cassava, potatoes, maize, and sugarcane in
a bid to protect the wetland. However, several
encroachers returned to the wetland.
of Uganda’s National Environment Act provides for
protection of wetlands and prohibits any person from
reclaiming, erecting or demolishing any structure that
is fixed in, on, under or above any wetland.