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UPC Demands Fair And Non-Selective Law Enforcement On Wetland Encroachers

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By Gad Masereka

Kampala: The Uganda People’s Congress (UPC), through its Head of Media and Communications, Mr. Muzeyi Faizo, has expressed strong concerns over the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA)’s failure to prevent wetland encroachment. This comes after NEMA launched an operation to evict people from the Lubigi Wetland.

During a press conference held at UPC headquarters in Kampala, Mr. Faizo criticized NEMA for “sleeping” while people encroach on wetlands, questioning why the authority did not act sooner. He emphasized the need for clear land use guidelines as Uganda’s population continues to grow, increasing pressure on natural resources.

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“Land as a natural resource is becoming scarce and expensive. This calls for proper land use planning to secure our future,” said Mr. Faizo. He highlighted that the operation to protect wetlands should include all key stakeholders, including the central and local governments.

The UPC also questioned the role of various authorities in allowing wetland encroachment and stressed the need for consistent enforcement of environmental laws.

“Activities in wetlands have gone beyond traditional uses like hunting and fishing to constructing permanent homes and establishing factories. This indicates a failure by NEMA and local authorities to protect these vital ecosystems,” Mr. Faizo stated. He warned of the harmful consequences of such activities, including climate change impacts, reduced flood mitigation, and loss of habitats for wildlife.

Mr. Faizo also addressed public concerns about selective evictions from wetlands, urging that the law be enforced fairly and without favoring any person or big companies. He called on the government to provide support and relocation assistance to those being evicted.

Furthermore, the UPC proposed opening up new areas for settlement to manage population pressure and protect wetlands. They cited the successful relocation of Kigezi people to Bunyoro and Ankoro Sub regions during the 1960s and 1970s as a model.

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