By Gad Masereka
In a resolute call to action, the Minister of Water and Environment, Hon Sam Mangusho Cheptoris, has urged collective efforts to protect threatened wetlands, shedding light on persistent challenges posed by influential figures, including parliamentarians, who have encroached upon these vital ecosystems.
During a press briefing at the Media Center, Minister Cheptoris declared the ministry’s unwavering commitment to enforcing laws against violators, regardless of their status or political influence. He specifically pointed out parliamentarians and other influential individuals who, he claimed, have encroached upon wetlands, considering themselves untouchable.
Minister Cheptoris emphasized, “We are not going to tolerate impunity; nobody is above the law. However big you are, we are going to crush you if you degrade our wetlands.” This stern warning reflects the government’s determination to address the persistent issue of wetland degradation and encroachment.
The government’s actions this year, including the cancellation of wetland titles and restoration of degraded areas, illustrate a firm stance on wetland conservation. Minister Cheptoris reiterated the importance of public participation in safeguarding wetlands, highlighting the interdependence between people and these crucial ecosystems.
“As we approach World Wetlands Day on February 2, 2024, under the theme ‘Wetlands and Human Well-being,’ we must recognize the global significance of wetlands stewardship,” remarked Minister Cheptoris. The World Wetlands Day celebration is scheduled to take place at Kaunda Grounds in Gulu City, marking the occasion with a strong message on wetland preservation.
The Minister urged citizens to actively contribute to wetland conservation by ending wetland pollution, supporting national initiatives, and engaging in local restoration efforts. The government’s commitment to strike with an iron hand on those who defy environmental laws, regardless of their stature, reflects a determination to ensure the sustainable management of Uganda’s wetlands.