Uganda: Entebbe Mayor Asks Government to Compensate Namiiro Wetland Encroachers

Entebbe municipality mayor Vincent Kayanja De Paul has asked government to compensate encroachers of Namiiro wetland in Lugonjo- Nakiwogo village in Entebbe Municipality as eviction looms.

Mr Kayanja, in a letter dated June 30, 2020 addressed to the minister of water and environment indicated that settlements including construction in Namiiro swamp began in 2001 to date.

Entebbe municipality, Ministry of lands and National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) have since 2001 been silent as the settlement of over 1,200 households happens under their watch.

However, Mr Kayanja's letter states that the caution, sensitization and awareness campaigns were undertaken in 2018 and several community meetings were held to educate and inform the settlers about the need to preserve the wetlands and also the NEMA Act of 1995.

"I strongly believe that as the local Authority, we failed to do our part. As ministry of water and NEMA, you also didn't reach out and guide in spite of having total knowledge of the Environmental laws that came into effect in 1995," Mr Kayanja writes.

The letter added that " with the above background in mind and aware of Covid-19 lockdown and its accompanying negative economic and social challenges, we are making the following to the Ministry of Water and Environment plus it's enforcement agencies that the eviction will cause a lot of insecurity and instability in Entebbe because it impacts on the livelihoods of over 4000 people."

Mr Nicholas Magara, the coordinator of wetlands in central region under the Ministry of Water and Environment said the encroachers were served with an Environmental Restoration Order which the final document is warning them to vacate so that the wetland can be restored.

He also said there would be no compensation for the encroachers since they settled there illegally.

"If anyone occupied before the Nema Act of 1995 and has a land tittle then that person will be compensated but if they occupied after the Nema Act then no compensation will be effected and all the land titles will be cancelled," Mr Magara said.

Namiiro is one of the few remaining wetlands in Entebbe. Other wetlands that have been heavily degraded include: Mabamba, Nambigirwa, Lutembe and Nagadya wetlands.On Monday NEMA demolished Kyengeza Munyonyo market in Makindye Division, Kampala.

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