• Sun. May 28th, 2023

MPs Sacco Criticised for Purchasing Wetland in Kitukutwe

UGANDA, Wakiso | Real Muloodi News | Uganda’s Parliamentary Saving and Credit Cooperative Society (Sacco), whose membership comprises lawmakers and parliamentary staff, has been criticised for purchasing land that is partially a wetland in Kitukutwe.

The land in question is in Kitukutwe Village, Kimwani Ward of Kira Municipality, Wakiso District. Some of the members who have bought land there have already built permanent residential houses and lobbied the Uganda Police Force to institute Kitukutwe Police Post to guarantee their safety.

However, some residents and local officials have expressed concerns that the development of the land purchased by the parliamentary Sacco presents risks of flooding to residents during rainfall, as part of it constitutes the Nakiyaga River corridor, which opens into a water body downstream.

Purchase of the Wetland Land by the Parliamentary Sacco

Mr Fred Mukasa, the Kitukutwe Village Chairperson said that the parliamentary Sacco bought the land from a lady named Mariam during the term of the 8th Parliament. However, it is not clear how much the parliamentary Sacco paid for the land.

Under parts 27 and 28 of the regulation, a person convicted of reclaiming or draining a wetland or building in it, among others, is liable to three-month imprisonment or a USh3m fine or both. In addition, the individual may be required to do community work that protects or restores wetlands. Despite this, some legislators have already started building in the area.

Concerns of Residents and Officials

Part of the land acquired by the parliamentary Sacco is drier but slopes into a marshland that opens into a water body downstream, and it is not gazetted.

Mr Mukasa said that by the time he was voted into leadership in 2015, the land transaction had already been concluded, and the swathe subdivided into plots that several members of Parliament and House technical staff have since snapped up.

He added that developing the land presented risks of flooding to residents during rainfall, as part of it constitutes the Nakiyaga River corridor.

The parliamentary Sacco bought a titled land, and if there is an issue of wetland, then it is not Sacco’s blame, argued Chris Obore, the parliament spokesperson.

However, a resident who spoke anonymously for fear of retribution questioned how MPs who make the laws could turn to break it by permitting their own Sacco to buy land that the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) is investigating as a possible wetland, even if ungazetted.

Nema’s Involvement

The environmental watchdog has picked interest in the alleged encroachment of wetlands by MPs after a whistleblower tipped the agency

Dr Barirega Akankwasah, the Nema executive director, said they have never authorised the parliamentary Sacco to use a wetland for any housing development.


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