Antonio Kalyango, the Executive Director of ASDI, says encroachers have taken advantage of the laxity in enforcing environmental protection laws during the lockdown, to take over protected areas in parts of Masaka, Lwengo, Rakai, Kyotera and Kalungu district.
The swamp stretches from Nakiwogo landing site through Lugonjo to Kigungu road after the UN Regional Service Center in Entebbe Division B. On November 29th, 2018, the Commissioner in Charge of Wetlands and Environment, Inspector Collins Oloya wrote a notice to the affected persons.
But a walk through the area shows that not everyone was evicted. Area residents cited a eucalyptus plantation owned by a businessman only identified as Ntaganda which still stands intact despite the destruction of acres of other plantations during the swoop.
Kabarole district and the Ministry of Water and Environment have embarked on boundary demarcation of wetlands in the district. The move is aimed at conserving the wetlands which are fast disappearing due to encroachment.
The most affected wetlands are Kyogya, Nabajuzi, Nzizi, Katolerwa, Sserinya and Lukenke which have been taken over by farmers growing seasonal crops such as cabbages, tomatoes, onions, carrots, maize, beans, water melon and cocoyams.
Hoima Municipality is failing to crackdown on wetland encroachers, with officials saying about 90 percent of wetlands in the municipality have been encroached on either by settlers, farmers or owners of car washing bays.
Wetland encroachers in Rakai district have up to end of day on Wednesday to vacate or be forcefully evicted. Last year, Rakai district environment authorities gave the encroachers, numbering over 15,000, up to end of January to leave the wetlands to give way for wetland reclamation campaign.