UGANDA, Nakawa | Real Muloodi News | A combined team of military and environment police deployed by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) demolished concrete poles and iron sheets used to fence off a disputed wetland in Nakawa.
The purported owner of the land, Mr John Imaniraguha, claims he was not aware of the poles being erected on the land, measuring almost a hectare.
However, NEMA maintains that it has not issued any approvals for developments on wetlands since 2021, and the wetland in question is a critical ecosystem that requires an environmental impact assessment before any development can occur.
A Long-Standing Dispute
Mr Imaniraguha has been in a legal battle with both NEMA and the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) over the wetland since 2010.
The wetland, which used to have a lagoon collecting sewerage from Naguru, the Police Barracks, Ntinda, and parts of the Nakawa-Ntinda Industrial Area, has been the subject of various attempts at development, including an unsuccessful bid to set up a fuel station on the land in 2012.
The structures erected on the land were subsequently demolished by KCCA and NEMA, who claimed that they were illegal and had no environmental impact assessment report.
No Approvals for Wetland Development
Since 2021, NEMA stopped issuing approvals for any developments on wetlands, including the disputed Nakawa wetland. Despite this, the recent fencing off of the wetland suggests that land grabbers may be attempting to take control of the land.
On Sunday, March 12, 2023, Mr Tony Achidri, the spokesperson of NEMA said, “Nema demolished the iron sheets because the developer did not get the requisite approvals since NEMA stopped issuing approvals in 2021. As far as we are concerned, this is a critical wetland system and for any development to take place there, the developer should undertake an environmental impact assessment.”
Mr Imaniraguha believes that the people responsible for erecting the fence did not inform him about the demolition and may be working with land grabbers to take control of the land.
“Those people did not inform me about the demolition. I think they are working with land grabbers to take it. I cannot do anything, but I put my complaint and I am waiting for a response from police,” he said.
Waiting for Police Response
Mr Imaniraguha has complained to the police and is waiting for a response.
However, it remains to be seen whether any action will be taken to resolve the dispute over the Nakawa wetland.
With wetlands playing a vital role in maintaining ecosystems and providing important ecosystem services such as water purification and flood control, they must be protected from illegal development and land grabbing.
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