Time is running out for people who encroached and settled in wetlands,  lake shoreline and river banks  following a directive from President Yoweri Museveni that  they should vacate the hitherto protected areas immediately.

In a two page letter addressed to the  Minister of Water and Environment, Mr. Sam Cheptoris, President Museveni  said that it was unacceptable for encroachers to stay in protected wetlands  which has led to flooding  due to the rising water levels on  many water bodies across the country .

“ I am therefore, directing  you to remove  all the people on the  wetlands, shore-line, river-banks and government  forests,” Museveni says  in the letter which is copied to the Vice President, the Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and  mineral development .

He said that government will only  exempt the  people who are  settled in  Busoga- Bukedi- and Kigyezi because they were “ misled by the earlier governments .”

“ You should not only  remove the encroachers but should  working with local government ensure that Muruka  and Gombolala  Chiefs who never took action against  the encroachers  should be dismissed ,” he directed .

 The President was alarmed by the fact that gardens were found on the floating island that  hit the Owen Fall Dam last month and caused nationwide power shutdown . Many Villas for the rich that were built along the lake Victoria shoreline  have flooded in recent days as the lake water levels continue to swell .

The National  Environment Act the law that relates to environment management in Uganda prohibits encroachment and settlements in protected areas such as forests , wetlands ,lake shore-lines and river banks .

Inter generational -international environmental law principles  provides for equity in the exploitation of environmental resources between and among generations. The principles alludes to the fact that  the present generation should ensure that the healthy, diversity and productivity of the environment are maintained for  the benefit of the present and future generations.

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