President Yoweri Museveni has delivered a stern warning to Sub-County Chiefs and Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) for their failure to carry out his directives aimed at evicting individuals encroaching on wetlands.
Museveni emphasized the importance of safeguarding forests, rivers, lakes, and high mountains like the Rwenzori, Elgon, Kigyezi, Agago hills, and Ssingo hills. He noted that these natural features provide essential resources such as water and air, crucial for human survival.
The President urged those who had encroached upon wetlands in Busoga, Bukedi, and Kigyezi to vacate immediately, stating that they were well-informed about the consequences. He attributed the encroachments to misleading actions by previous governments, citing the example of the Kibimba Rice scheme.
In response to the situation, President Museveni issued a directive to RDCs and chiefs, instructing them to ensure the prompt evacuation of people from wetlands. He also cautioned that failure to implement his directive could result in arrest.
Museveni emphasized the need to protect rivers such as Rwizi, Mpanga, Mayanja, Kafu, Lugogo, Manaafwa, Aswa, Agago, Mpologoma, Mubuku, and their associated wetlands from uninformed encroachment. He stressed the importance of sharing water resources generated within Uganda and those obtained from neighboring countries like South Sudan, Sudan, and Egypt.
The President highlighted the abundance of water in Africa, citing the Congo River’s annual production of 3009 billion cubic meters of water. He noted that the Nile River, which flows through Uganda, only contributes 85 billion cubic meters annually but has been a source of contention among Nile Valley nations.
Museveni granted exemption to existing factories built by investors across the country. However, he issued an ultimatum to new factories, warning them against constructing within wetland areas. Additionally, he directed the complete demolition of residential houses constructed within wetlands.