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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