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Entebbe: A peninsular where residents are denied access to the lakeshores

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A beach fenced off with barbed wire

A beach fenced off with barbed wire and ridges in Entebbe. Photo by Martin Ssebuyira 

By Martin Ssebuyira

Posted  Thursday, July 31  2014 at  16:31

In Summary

Entebbe is surrounded by water and has Entebbe-Kampala highway as the only road-link that joins it to other parts of Uganda to stop it from being an island that makes it a peninsular.

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Entebbe- In 2007, the Bugonga Ward, Division A councillor in Entebbe Municipality, Mr Achilles Kiwanuka Ssubi, tabled a motion before the division council to demolish all illegal structures within the 200-meter lakeshore zone. Council threw out the motion.

In 2012, after he was elected vice chairman of the division, he tabled the same motion and the council this time around passed a resolution to demolish all structures along the lake shoreline in Entebbe.
The motion, however, was later shelved as no person took the initiative to implement what the division council had passed.

Entebbe is surrounded by water and has Entebbe-Kampala highway as the only road-link that joins it to other parts of Uganda to stop it from being an island that makes it a peninsular.

Fred Sseremba, a fisherman at Bugonga Landing Site, notes that right from Kigungu to Kitubulu where Entebbe ends, people have constructed beaches and hotels with fences running upto the lake.

The people who occupy the lakeshores even put up fences outside their gates baring residents from accessing the lake and stopping fishermen from fishing within their jurisdiction.

Many fishermen especially in Bugonga and Kigungu have been arrested over trespass when they attempt to fish in places where people have set up hotels and beaches.

“A guard at a fisheries company near the airport recently shot at fishermen fishing near the company waters, fortunately, no one was hurt. They later ordered us to leave and fish in the deeper waters away from their vicinity,” he said.

Mr Robert Sempala, a senior resident in Entebbe, says people used to get hooks and small boats to get fish to earn a livelihood but this has all ended with the increasing development where people construct beaches and hotels.

Worse still, some have erected toilets that drain all the wastes into the lake and these claim they got permission from National Environment Management Authority (Nema) and Entebbe Municipal Council.

“Even those leaving near the lake have built past their gates and expanded towards the lake to set up mini beaches like it is the case on Nambi Road,” he says.

Save for gazetted landing sites like Kigungu, Bugonga, Nakiwogo and Guda where people freely go and fish, all the lake surrounding Entebbe has been taken over by developers and the army that has two main barracks along the lakeshore.

Kitubulu Landing Site was closed towards the Common wealth Heads of Government Conference in 2008 and no fisherman has ever been allowed to go back there and fish.

The National Environment Management Authority and Entebbe Municipal Council in 2012 gave a 90-day ultimatum to all people who had constructed within the 200-meter zone to demolish their structures.

The matter was, however, a media show off as no action was taken to follow up whether the suspected encroachers vacated.

As time went on, both Entebbe Municipal Council and NEMA started trading blame on how each had failed to raze the illegal beaches.

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