Museveni orders for cancellation of Lwera wetland titles

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Alex Byarugaba, the parliament's Natural Resources committee chairperson at one of the sand ditches in Lwera wetland last year. Photo Credit: Observer newspaper

By NECJOGHA TEAM

MASAKA, UGANDA – President Yoweri Museveni has said government is going to cancel all land titles in Lwera wetland in the southern Uganda district of Kalungu.

“Those that acquired titles in Lwera, they are also going to be cancelled. I am going to follow up the matter with Ministry of Lands because no one is allowed to acquire a land title in wetlands,” Museveni said while addressing a press conference at Masaka State Lodge in his countrywide tour of the country.

According to the Daily Monitor newspaper on Thursday, President’s remarks were prompted by a question about an eviction notice to more than 1,000 people at Makukulu Village in Lyantonde District who are occupying government land.

In an April 26 eviction notice issued by the ministry of Agriculture addressed to the secretary of the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters, more than 1,000 people at Makukulu Village were given a 90-day ultimatum to vacate and allow the ministry to repossess its land by July 31.
The disputed land used to house Makukulu Veterinary Field Station.

Museveni’s remarks come a week after Daily Monitor published a story that National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) had cleared Chinese investors operating in Lwera to expand their rice fields on Block 184 Plot 254, 255, 256, and 258, Magezi-Kizungu ward Lukaya Town Council, Kalungu District.

However, NEMA in the Environmental Impact Assessment certificate issued to investors dated December 21, 2018, warned the investors against extending their rice fields to plots 404, 406, located in Kamuwunga A Village and Plots 337 and 336 located in Bulingo C Village, insisting that these areas are located in Lake Victoria. 
On the other part of Lwera located in Mpigi District, there are also individual businessmen and companies that acquired titles and are engaging in sand mining and fish farming.

An aerial view of a section of Lwera wetland that has been encroached on. PPU PHOTO

However, last year Mary Goretti Kitutu, the state minister for Environment was quoted in the Observer newspaper last year as saying that that companies involved in sand mining in Lwera are licensed to do so, and, as a geologist, she doesn’t see any danger of mining sand there. Kitutu explained sand deposit in Lwera wetland happened in 1962 floods and they will reoccur around 2050 to refill the place.

“It is you lay persons who see a problem, for me when I pass there as a geologist, I don’t see any problem. We expect the heavy rains in around 50 years time, maybe around 2050 and Lwera will be flooded again. So those who have constructed houses around there should know this science fact. Lwera is that area where sand will always be deposited, mine it and it will again be deposited”, said Kitutu.

 

Facts on Lwera wetland

  • Lwera, a stretch covering over 20-kilometres from Mpigi to Kalungu district is a major water catchment area.
  • It connects several rivers and wetlands in Gomba, Mpigi and Kalungu districts and drains directly into Lake Victoria.  Lwera,

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