UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | The Ministry of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development has named city tycoons, media moguls and government officials with land titles in the Kinawataka Wetland Belt in Kampala.
Following complaints from the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and the Ministry of Water and Environment, those whose names have been called out have been asked to appear for a public hearing on September 29, 2022, to defend their case as to why their titles should not be revoked.
Members of Parliament have since called on the law enforcement authorities to consider arresting officers in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development who issue such land titles in wetlands. The MPs who sit on the Committee on Climate Change observed that evicting illegal occupants had been compromised because the ‘big fish’ continue to occupy wetlands, thus the need to focus on the source of land titles.
Meanwhile, Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) has threatened to take severe action against the city tycoons and political leaders themselves who infringe on wetlands within its areas of jurisdiction.
While reading the riot act, the Executive Director of KCCA, Dorothy Kisaka, declared that the Authority will no longer provide licences to construct wetlands and that any such conduct is unlawful.
“Building in wetlands is strictly prohibited by a presidential directive and can’t be condoned by KCCA at all. We need to amplify this message through every media platform. KCCA will not issue permissions to build in wetlands and any such action is illegal. Our Physical Planning Committee and our Building Committee are very strict on this issue,” she said.
According to Bigira B. Johnson, speaking on behalf of the Commissioner of Land Registration, the individuals whose names are listed below as having titles in the Kinawataka Wetland Belt have been ordered to appear for a public hearing slated on September 29, 2022, and do so without fail.
Not only will they need to defend why their titles shouldn’t be cancelled, but they have also been asked to bring the documentation proving their claim to ownership of the specified land.
On the list with land titles in the Kinawataka Wetland Belt is Sudhir Rupareila through Meera Investments Limited. He has seven freehold land titles within the belt namely, Plot 2 Hill crescent Banda Kampala, Plot 4 hill crescent also located in Banda and five more plots within the area.
Kenneth Mugambe, the former Director of Budget, also owns Plot 94 Lake Drive Nakawa.
Kin Ibrahim Karisa, the owner of Next Media Services, and his wife Juliet Tumusiime Karisa own a freehold title to Plot 42 Lake Drive in Luzira, Kampala.
Moses Mayanja, the Wakiso District LC V Chairperson owns Plot 5 Peninsula Close.
Seroma Limited, with Plot 2A in Butabika, is another important name. Others include Mukunda Aggrey Sanyu has Plots 6 and Aqua Close, Cissy Nanyanzi owns Plot6A Butabika Road, Kataali Rogers has Plot4-5 Aqua Close in Luzira, Emmanuel Gasaana has Plot 4 Butabika Valley Access, and Aisha Mulungi has Plots 2-3 Butabika Valley Road. The list goes on.
Attempts by President Museveni to get people to leave wetlands have been thwarted on several occasions.
On August 14, 2022, Milly Babalanda Babirye, Minister of the Presidency, sent a circular informing RDCs and RCCs of the presidential order requesting them to clear wetlands of all encroachers.
The Ministry of Water and Environment reports that between 1994 and 2008, the nation’s wetland acreage decreased by 30% and that in 2014, the area covered by wetlands increased. The growth from 26,307km2 in 2008 to 26,315km2 in 2014 was a negligible 0.03%. (MWE2014).
The research also demonstrates a drop in the area covered by wetlands in the various river basins.
From over 53.8% in the Lake Victoria drainage basin to 14.7% in the Lake Albert drainage basin, the degree of decrease varies.
Destroying or degrading wetlands can lead to severe consequences. These include among others; increased flooding, extinction of species, and decline in water quality. However, this can be avoided by maintaining the valuable wetlands still available and or restoring the lost or impaired wetlands where possible. And the latter option is what NEMA, through the Ministry of Lands, is trying to implement.
It is still unclear if these businessmen have any chance of retaining their land given President Museveni’s stated stance against wetland invaders.
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