What you need to know:
- The marshland stretches through the central Uganda districts of Luweero, Kayunga, Mukono, Mpigi and Wakiso.
- In Luweero District alone, encroachment currently stands at 85 per cent and more than 8,000 encroachers are engaged in farming and other projects.
The government through the Ministry of Water and Environment has rolled out a restoration plan for degraded Lwajali wetland.
The marshland stretches through the central Uganda districts of Luweero, Kayunga, Mukono, Mpigi and Wakiso.
In Luweero District alone, encroachment currently stands at 85 per cent and more than 8,000 encroachers are engaged in farming and other projects.
While the recent presidential directive on securing wetlands is emphasizing eviction, the Ministry of Water and Environment officials have started engagement meetings with both the local leaders and the affected encroachers on how to restore the wetland.
“The engagement meetings are in line with the National Wetland Restoration Programme under the Ministry of Water and Environment. The Lwajali wetland is among the targeted areas for restoration. We have already agreed on the means under a participatory approach,” Ms Lydia Kyotalimye, the information and communication official at the Wetland Management Department of Ministry of Water and Environment, revealed Friday.
While the ministry is already executing some eviction orders at the different depleted wetlands across the Country, at Lwajali wetland, the execution plan will move with the availability of funds to ensure total restoration.
“Government will also ensure that the mark stones are erected at the wetland boundary to avoid further encroachment.
In Zirobwe Sub County, the grossly encroached areas include; Bajja, Nakigoza, Ndalike, Buyuki, Tongo, Timba, Sanga and Bubengwa among others. Some encroachers have established permanent structures while many others own gardens in the wetland.
“We shall also take into account the tributary water catchment areas that feed into the greater Lwajali wetland for restoration. The tributary water catchment areas that are under encroachment and feed into the greater Lwajali include; Natyaba, Nabuyaga, Nayasandeku and Rwamirindi in Bamunanika Sub County,” Ms Scovia Kayonga, the Luweero Environment Officer said.
Stakeholders speak out
Mr Sperito Kirooli, the Zirobwe Sub County chairperson said that his area is likely to face another catastrophe as a result of the gross encroachment at the Lwajali wetland where many homesteads in his area derive livelihood.
“In 2019 at the onset of the heavy rains, we lost property when some gardens and buildings got submerged. Despite the warning from both the environmentalists and leaders, the encroachers are defiant. We need a government enforcement team to conduct the sensitisation and possible eviction,” he said.
Mr Erasto Kibirango, the Luweero District Chairperson said that encroachment on the gazetted wetland areas is at its height despite the presidential directive for all encroachers to vacate the wetland areas. The District leaders have played their part through sensitisation. We want the government to use the law enforcers in areas where the encroachers have remained defiant,” he said.
Statistics at the District Natural Resources Office in Luweero reveal that the encroachment on both the forest lands and wetland areas stands at more than 80 per cent.