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Destruction of wetlands blamed on corrupt public officials

By Wilson Asiimwe

Added 12th March 2019 11:10 AM

In conjunction with NEMA, all land titles within the wetlands are to be cancelled immediately

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Pastor Musinguzi (2nd left) after he was dragged out of his church by Police. Photo by Wilson Asiimwe

In conjunction with NEMA, all land titles within the wetlands are to be cancelled immediately

The Kabarole district Resident District commissioner, Stephen Asiimwe, has attributed the continuous wetland encroachment on corrupt civil servants who issue illegal land titles in water catchment areas in the district.

Asiimwe said during a consultative meeting last week in Fort Portal municipality that technical urban and municipal authorities connive with rich people to give them physical plans and land titles in wetlands which is against the law.

He said that in conjunction with the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) all land titles within the wetlands are to be cancelled immediately.

“Most of the wetlands in Kabarole have been destroyed by people and they have land titles which they acquired fraudulently,” Asiimwe said.

He said that the Police should start investigating public servants who recommend people to get land titles in the wetlands.

“Most of the building plans are approved by the public servants and yet people are constructing in the wetlands,” Asiimwe said.

Recently, the Police raided the church of Pastor Patrick Muhumuza Munyaka while he was conducting prayers and arrested him for degrading wetlands.

The assistant commissioner in the ministry of water and environment, Joseph Engol, said Muhumuza had destroyed a big section of the wetland in Kitembe by constructing a church and a school.

Engol decried the rate at which wetlands are being degraded in the district and said that the ministry is yet to embark on the restoration of wetlands in Kabarole.

“We have arrested the pastor and we cannot allow him to continue operating in the wetland and to all those operating in wetlands, we are going to arrest them,” Engol said.

Olivia Bahwayo Busobozi the Fort Portal municipality physical planner was also recently interdicted for soliciting a bribe to approve a building plan.

According to the interdiction letter written by the Fort Portal Municipal Council town clerk, Godfrey Bamanyisa, it is alleged that Busobozi solicited a bribe of sh10m from M/S Don Uganda Ltd so as to approve plans for the construction of a fuel station along Tibeyalirwa Road in Fort Portal Municipality. 

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