Uganda: Government to Evict Lakeshore Encroachers

The Minister of Water and Environment, Mr Sam Cheptoris, has said his ministry will evict encroachers of lakeshores, riverbanks and wetlands as per the President's directive.

Lately, people who stay near lakes have been affected by the rising levels of water which has left houses and businesses within 200 metres affected.

Scientists argue that increasing human activities around water bodies are majorly responsible for the unstable water levels and changing weather patterns.

"The President has instructed me to evict encroachers of the shores of our lakes, riverbanks and wetlands because their activities have destroyed stability of our lakes, rivers and wetlands. So we are going to act so that these people leave these places," he said.

In most parts of the country, wetlands have been turned into plantations and mining of sand and brick-laying have also largely increased. The most affected is Lwera wetland where sand mining and rice growing activities are uncontrolled. Lubigi wetland has also not been spared by the increasing number of encroachers.

However, the minister's statement remains a matter of debate since this is not the first time government is threatening to evict encroachers.

Mr Cheptoris made the call at the Office of the Prime Minister while handing over cash and an assortment of items to the National Covid-19 Taskforce to help in the fight against the raging pandemic.

The donations, which were received by Ms Mary Karooro Okurut, the Minister in-charge of General Duties, were from the Water and Environment Sector Partners and well-wishers and included Shs49m, 20 tonnes of maize flour, 1,500 pieces of face masks, while the Drillers Association donated 26 boreholes worth Shs658m.

The ministry's Principal Public Relations and Marketing Officer, Mr Charles Muwonge, said the ministry established regional offices to decongest government services.

"Our regional offices make it easier for Government to implement water, environment and sanitation activities; it is easy for us to coordinate our staff, stakeholders and the general public," Mr Muwonge said.

He added that since stakeholders know the ministry through their respective regions, it is easy for them to approach the ministry and hand over their contributions to the National Response Fund to Covid-19 taskforce.

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