On Thursday, January 14, Uganda vote for their leaders, including President and Members of Parliament. These and other leaders are key in implementation of policies that can help to protect our environment from destruction.
Last year, climate change in Uganda and other parts of the world, manifested itself in storms, flooding, unpredictable increase of lake water levels, onslaught of locusts and Covid-19 pandemic, among others.
These disasters have greatly affected the livelihoods of many Ugandans and beyond. This include government spending a lot of money to mitigate the impact of climate change, which could have been avoided by just protecting the environment.
On December 30 last year, rivers Nchweera and Ntungwa both in Queen Elizabeth National Park burst their banks, leading to the flooding of the Rwenshama landing site on Lake Edward in Rukungiri District. The floods destroyed houses and displaced more than 100 families hence exposing residents to cholera.
Floods also destroyed businesses in the affected areas. For instance, fishermen can no longer access the lakes yet fishing is one of their major source of livelihood.
When we talk about the issue of conserving environment, the concern is about taking care not only of present, but also our future. The environment provides essential needs of human life. We often forget how much humanity depends on environment (ecosystem services).
Yet despite the great benefits and free ecosystem services we get from our environment, human beings continue to destroy the environment with reckless abandon.
Governments and its agencies mandated to protect, safeguard and conserve the environment (ecosystem services) for the present and future generations are doing very little to ensure that the destruction of the environment is brought to an end.
It is on record that many government officials have been participating in the destruction of the environments.
Due to high levels of corruption coupled with pressure to acquire land for industrialisation, wetlands, forests, and water bodies, among others, have been destroyed or encroached upon to the detriment of human life. Without a clean and safe environment, neither humanity nor investment can thrive.
Therefore, I appeal to Ugandans that on January 14, they should elect leaders whose manifesto is prioritise environment conservation.
In order to protect and safeguard Ugandans against the present and future dire impact of climate change that is already manifest in environment today, we ne need to vote into positions of responsibility leaders who prioritise environment protection. Wish all Ugandans a peaceful election.