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Lubigi Wetland Restoration Exercise Enters Third Week as MPs Attempt to Thwart it


Lubigi Wetland Restoration Exercise Enters Third Week as MPs Attempt to Thwart it

The exercise to restore the Lubigi Wetland System spearheaded by teams from various Government Agencies, including the Ministry of Water and Environment, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Kampala Capital City Authority, Uganda Police Force, Uganda People’s Defense Forces, Wakiso District Local Government, Office of the President, Ministry of Works and Transport, and Uganda National Roads Authority has today entered its third week,.

Lubigi Wetland is the largest system serving Kampala City and the neighboring districts to the north and western parts of the city. It is a critical water catchment area for the central region and a major water source for the water-stressed areas of the cattle corridor in Central Uganda. The wetland is essential for flood regulation and pollution control and serves as a habitat for critical biodiversity, including the national bird, the Grey Crowned Crane.

Unfortunately, the restoration exercise has attracted criticism from some politicians, including MPs led by the Leader of Opposition in Parliament Hon Joel Ssenyonyi, who are calling for halting of the exercise and compensation for affected individuals. They argue that these individuals should be compensated for losing their houses and other properties because the government agencies allowed the encroachment on the wetland.

Today, some politicians attempted to incite the public against the teams, but officers from Nansana police station quickly restored order, allowing the exercise to continue.

On Monday, Buganda Kingdom issued a statement cautioning people who are in wetlands to adhere to the guidelines of NEMA, in order to avoid dire consequences

William Lubuulwa, the Senior Public Relations Officer at NEMA, noted that prior to the restoration exercise, the authority had issued restoration orders as far back as 2021 to all encroachers of the wetland. Failure to comply with these orders would result in NEMA enforcing them at the degraders’ cost and prosecuting those responsible where necessary. Restoration Orders give twenty-one (21) days within which to either challenge the Order or implement it.

“The restoration exercise has so far removed illegal gardens, makeshift settlements, and illegal structures. The law enforcement personnel ensure the safe evacuation of property and persons, and so far, we have not had any injuries or physical confrontations during the exercise. Today, some politicians tried to incite the public against the exercise, but the Nansana Police quickly restored order. Normalcy has returned, and the operation exercise continues,” said Lubuulwa.

In accordance with the National Environment Act, 2019, NEMA issued restoration orders upon establishing that there was encroachment on and degradation of the Lubigi Wetland System, including digging drainage channels in the wetland; depositing foreign material (marram/soil, hardcore) in the wetland; erecting illegal structures (houses) in the wetland; or fencing the wetland, hence obstructing free public access to the wetland.

Sarah K. Biryomumaisho is a seasoned multimedia Award Winning journalist with 11 years of experience in broadcast and writing. She is recognized for her expertise in the field and holds a Diploma in Business Administration from Makerere Business Institute, which has equipped her with a strong foundation in business principles. Sarah's commitment to professional development is evident through her continuous pursuit of knowledge and skills. She has obtained a Certificate in Media Management from Women in News, an esteemed organization dedicated to empowering women in the media industry. In 2020, she successfully completed a Course in Wikimedia, demonstrating her proficiency as one of the few Wikipedia Editors in the country. To further enhance her reporting capabilities, Sarah has also acquired a certificate in Gender Justice Reporting from The International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF). This specialized training has equipped her with a deeper understanding of gender-related issues and their portrayal in the media. Throughout her career, Sarah has contributed her talent to various media houses, including six radio stations, where she has showcased her versatility and adaptability. Her most recent engagements include Galaxy FM 100.2 and Radio 4. Additionally, she has served as a writer for Andariya Magazine, further demonstrating her ability to excel in different mediums. Sarah's expertise extends beyond journalism. She has worked as a Digital Communications consultant for the revitalized Uganda Airlines, leveraging her skills to effectively communicate the airline's message in the digital sphere. Her passion for digital media and technology makes her a valuable asset in the evolving landscape of communication. In her entrepreneurial pursuits, Sarah is the proud owner of TheUgPost, a renowned media organization with a strong presence in Uganda and a global reach. Through this platform, she continues to make a significant impact by providing reliable and engaging content to a wide audience. Sarah won the Top Environmental Journalist Award 2023 from Uganda Biodiversity Fund. Twitter;

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