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Discontent as Rukiga Declares Portions of Muhanga-Kandago Bulime Wetlands :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Discontent as Rukiga Declares Portions of Muhanga-Kandago Bulime Wetlands

Emmanuel Ariho, the Rukiga District Environment Officer, explained that this move aligns with the government's initiative, the "Wetland Restoration Program," funded by the non-governmental organization Green Climate Fund, aiming to restore the environment.
Some of the affected locals

Audio 5

The declaration of 250 out of 350 hectares of land in Muhanga-Kandago Bulime, situated within Muhanga Town Council and Bukinda Sub County, Rukiga District, as a wetland has stirred discontent among locals. Rukiga District authorities have designated 250 hectares of land as a wetland, instructing locals to refrain from agricultural activities on this portion.

Emmanuel Ariho, the Rukiga District Environment Officer, explained that this move aligns with the government's initiative, the "Wetland Restoration Program," funded by the non-governmental organization Green Climate Fund, aiming to restore the environment. 

Ariho emphasized that authorities are actively educating locals about the significance of classifying the land as a wetland, citing previous unsustainable land usage practices.

//Cue in: “The wetland under…

 

Cue out: …250 hectares.”//

However, this decision has sparked frustration among locals, notably Milton Tibabyesiga and Bonny Tibategyeza. They argue that this sudden classification disrupts their traditional use of the land inherited from their ancestors, leaving them without an alternative space for agricultural activities.

Locals express confusion regarding the lack of compensation for the sudden prohibition on land use. They question why authorities have barred them from utilizing the land without offering compensation.

//Cue in: “hati kumwatwakire eitaka….

 

Cue out:  ….kuza kuribona.”//  

Gideon Akampurira, a resident and district councilor representing Bukinda Sub County, highlighted the scarcity of land in the area, leaving locals with no alternative for agriculture, crucial for sustenance. He also raised concerns about individuals who have taken loans for agricultural investments, pondering whether it would be the authorities' responsibility to repay these loans.  

//Cue in: …because at times…

 

Cue out: …challenged there.”//

Additionally, Akampurira mentioned that besides being restricted from using the land, authorities have demanded that affected groups pay a fee of 100,000 Ugandan Shillings each (without providing receipts), purportedly for association funding as they seek compensation from the government.

//Cue in: “kiretegyerezibwa ngu mwatugambiire…

 

Cue out: …very challenged”//  

In response, Emmanuel Ariho, the Rukiga District Environment Officer, and Robert Mbabazi Kakwerere, the Rukiga District LCV chairman, called for calm among affected locals. They urge the locals to recognize the long-term benefits of the program despite concerns about climate change stemming from encroachment on wetlands. 

Furthermore, they encourage locals to shift focus towards environmentally friendly activities such as beekeeping and fish farming if they intend to utilize the land.

//Cue in: “obwiire obyingi nitukora…

 

Cue out: … beekeeping.”//

President, Yoweri Museveni, has consistently urged locals to vacate wetlands voluntarily, emphasizing this as a crucial step in environmental restoration to avoid forceful evictions.

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