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MP Nsereko Urges Government To Compensate Lubigi Swamp Encroachers

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By Hason Mutunzi Bwambale

Kampala, Uganda – Muhammad Nsereko, the Member of Parliament for Kampala Central, has appealed to the government to consider compensating individuals who built structures within the Lubigi swamp, rather than evicting them. Nsereko made the plea during a meeting between the Committee on Commissions, Statutory Authorities and State Enterprises (COSASE) and officials from Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) on Wednesday.

The meeting was convened to address the December 2023 Auditor General’s report, which highlighted concerns over the occupation of wetlands in Kampala. Nsereko argued that the government should show humanity and compensate the encroachers, given that they were allowed to build and occupy the area for nearly a decade without intervention from authorities like National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and local governments.

The MP cited a precedent where individuals who encroached on Lake Mburo game reserve were compensated and relocated, despite occupying the land illegally. He questioned why a similar gesture could not be extended to those who encroached on Lubigi swamp, considering the government’s inaction in preventing the occupation.

Nsereko’s appeal comes as the government faces pressure to address the environmental degradation of wetlands in Kampala. The Lubigi swamp, in particular, has been a contentious issue, with many calling for its preservation and others demanding compensation for their investments in the area.

The COSASE meeting aimed to explore solutions to the challenges facing KCCA, including the occupation of wetlands. Nsereko’s proposal has sparked debate, with some supporting his call for compensation and others arguing that it would set a dangerous precedent and encourage further encroachment on protected areas.

As the discussion continues, the fate of Lubigi swamp and its occupants hangs in the balance. Will the government heed Nsereko’s call and offer compensation, or will it stand firm on its commitment to protect the environment? Only time will tell.

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