In the New Testament, Matthew 22:21 Jesus said: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.”
The verse has been figuratively used overtime to demand that things are given to the right people. We splashed a picture in yesterday’s edition of a section of Mulungu Beach in Munyonyo, Kampala, which had been submerged by water from Lake Victoria.
In an effort to stamp our belief in environmental conservation, we have done a special report on the same in today’s edition (see pages 30-31). The thrust of the matter is that the lake has burst its shoreline and reclaimed its original habitat that had been encroached on for human activity.
On many occasions, we have written in this space and elsewhere about the need to conserve our wetlands and fight encroachment on natural resources.
Wetlands, commonly known as swamps, filter water from pollutants, are a source raw material for crafts making, habitat for several creatures such as birds and reptiles that not only act as tourism attraction, but also balance the bionetwork. Many people living near wetlands use them for grazing, fishing, and water supply, among others.
Yet even when the National Environment Management Authority has put in place guidelines for using the wetlands, many people abuse this – and with impunity.
As a result, they have reclaimed such spaces and put recreational facilities, factories, residential homes and many other facilities, in total disregard of the law. Sections of the population have been quick to point the finger at unscrupulous government officials, who issue titles for such land.
But mother nature knows when to revenge or ask for what is due to her. Lake Victoria is simply coming back home. And the purported occupants must leave. The development even comes a month after the Ministry of Water and Environment warned encroachers on wetlands near Lake Victoria to vacate them as the lake starts filling up the spaces it had receded.
Dr Callist Tindimugaya, the water resources specialist at the Ministry of Water and Environment in charge of Lake Victoria management, said they were not sure how much water the lake would receive following persistent downpour countrywide.
“When it rains, all the rain water from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo comes into Lake Victoria and it does not come in one day. It travels through Kabale, Kagera, Ibanda, Ntungamo, Buhweju, which does not take one day,” he said.
We say give Lake Victoria and other wetlands what belongs to them. If not, we shall pay through the nose.