MPs to Gov’t: Don’t Carry out selective eviction on wetlands

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MPs on the committee on climate change speaking during a press conference in parliament on Friday; Courtesy Photo

By Mary Asujo

Members of Parliament on the Committee on Climate Change have urged government to take a non-selective approach during operations to evict wetland encroachers.

The call was made by the chairperson of the committee on climate change; Lawrence Songa together with members on the committee today during a press conference who said that eviction should be for all encroachers regardless of their social status.

Songa also Ora county MP, said there is need to devise means of how we can address climate change by reducing greenhouse gases because a lot of it comes from agriculture, industries and other sources.

Mbale North MP, Seth Wambede said that they need to advocate for a law which will go deeper into tracing the people who issue land titles to wetland encroachers.

“When evicting, the law does not discriminate the poor from the rich; they are all encroachers after all” Songa said.

The MPs commended government for the efforts it has put in addressing issues of climate change and urged it to increase the budget to enable the advocacy achieves its intended goal.

Kiboga district Woman MP, Kaaya Christine Nakimwero said that they are in the process of drafting a law that will particularly punish government officials who issue wetland land titles to those who encroach on the wetlands.

“We don’t know far this has gone. We wonder how far this action has gone,” noted Kaaya.

In 2019, the then State Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Dr Chris Baryomunsi stated that cancelation of land titles in protected areas will be extended to all regions across Uganda. He added that Cabinet was undertaking several strategic actions to implement a Cabinet directive aimed at curbing environment degradation across Uganda.

Kaaya wondered that instead of government giving condolences to the affected families of Kasese, it should have invested it in providing for them safe areas.

Kapelebyong District woman MP, Jacinta Atuto who is also the Vice chairperson appealed to Ugandans to show their love towards the environment through planting more trees.

“We have turned what God has blessed us with. We are destroying forests which could have mitigated effects of climate change. Let’s stop building in the wetlands too,” said Atuto.

MP Bungokho North, Dr. Magolo Faith about the Kasese disaster which has claimed over 15 lives, shows that government was not properly well prepared to mitigate the disaster before it happens the country would not have incurred huge costs.

“Imagine government spending Shs 2.5bn into replacing infrastructure which was destroyed within a period of two days,” noted Magolo.

Female MP for Elders persons, Hon. Peggy Joy Waako urged Ugandans to desist from blaming government for the effects of climate change but become sensitive and conscious of the environment.

“Effects of climate change are caused by us. Let’s be concerned about our environment. In our time, we didn’t have kaveras to do shopping instead we used banana leaves or paper bags. Kaveras don’t decay and are affecting our environment. Let’s all be sensitive,” added Waako.

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