Wednesday April 23 2014

Rosebud case on wetland set for hearing

By Martin Ssebuyira

Kampala- The High Court Civil Division has finally set a date to start hearing the case filed by four environment civil society organisations against Rosebud Limited, a flower farm for encroaching on the Lutembe Bay wetland in Namulanda on Entebbe Road.

The organisations, National Association for Professional Environmentalists (NAPE), Green Watch, Nature Uganda and Advocates for Natural Resources Governance (ANARDE) sued the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) and Rosebud Limited for breaching articles 50, and 22 of the 1995 Constitution on the right to a clean and healthy environment.

“The actions of Nema and activities of Rosebud are in breach of international environmental law. In 2006, Lutembe wetland was designated as a wetland of international importance (Ramsar site). NEMA however went ahead to approve Rosebud’s illegal activities of pouring soils into this wetland,” the complaint reads in part.

The High Court Civil Division has set October 1 to start hearing the case by Justice Benjamin Kabito.

Police last year engaged in running battles with Namulanda residents led by Wakiso District chairman Matia Bwanika who staged demonstrations protesting pouring soils into Lutembe wetland.

Mr Sudhir Ruparelia, the director Rosebud, however, in an interview said he was cleared by Nema and was working within the law.

Lutembe Bay wetland was designated a Ramsar site on September 15, 2006 making it a wetland of international importance. It has globally threatened bird species, bio-medical species and category species.

It has always been threatened by real estate developers and a family who have been selling it off and lately Rosebud flower farm. However, residents have on all occassions been running to various offices to ensure its safety.