Isaac Tinyinekabi, the Rweshama parish council who also doubles as a fishmonger, says that their ancestors under their clan umbrella Banyabutumbi United Association started fishing in Ntungwa and Nchwera rivers in 1953 as a source of food for their families.
There is a
dispute between Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF Marine soldiers attached to
Rweshama landing site on Lake Edward and fishermen in Bwambara Sub-county in
Rukungiri district over fishing in Nchwera and Ntungwa rivers.
rivers are tributaries of Lake Edward from Queen Elizabeth National park. Fishermen
claim that they started fishing in both rivers in the 1950s’ without any
disturbance from security.
claim that the situation started changing when the government deployed Marine
soldiers at Rweshama landing site.
According to the fishermen, the soldiers
started by restricting the number of people who can fish in both rivers before
went on to block everyone. They claim that the soldiers whip whoever they find
fishing in the rivers.
want the soldiers to explain where they got powers to ban them from fishing
into the two rivers yet their mission is to protect Lake Edward.
Tinyinekabi, the Rweshama parish council who also doubles as a fishmonger, says
that their ancestors under their clan umbrella Banyabutumbi United Association
started fishing in Ntungwa and Nchwera rivers in 1953 as a source of food for
Tinyinekabi, who is also the chairperson of the United Association, says that
in 1983, the association entered into a formal Memorandum of Understanding
(MOU) with the Uganda, Wildlife Authority-UWA to allow them to continue fishing
in the two rivers.
He says that in the
MOU, the fishmongers are required to take care of the rivers and control
overflows from both rivers during the rainy season. Prior to the
deployment of Marine soldiers at the landing site, the association members used
to pay UWA Shillings 400,000 for using the two rivers.
//Cue in: “itwe omugyera river…
Cue out: …babonamu ebye’nyanja.”//
says that a year after their deployment, the soldiers evicted them from the two
rivers. Tinyinekabi says that the soldiers also stopped residents from
accessing the rivers to get feeds for their chicken.
//Cue in: “Everything
Cue out: …the lake,”//
//Cue in: “FP kuyamazire kuhika…
Cue out: …gwa hameizi.”//
Henry Chance, the Vice-Chairperson of Rweshama Fishmongers Association, says
that part of the 3500 people occupying Rweshama landing site would benefit from
the two rivers through fishing and getting chicken feeds. Chance says that because locals no longer
control the water overflow to the national park, floods often affect the
landing site during heavy rains.
He says the soldiers should allow residents with license to fish from Lake
Edward and allow them to keep fishing in the two rivers because it is their
only source of survival since they can’t practice agriculture in the national
//Cue in: “omugyera tukaba twine…
Cue out: …kwabo nokukoza.”//
Enock Kasibayo and Gordian Kato, both fishmongers say that what angers them is
that soldiers whip whoever they find fishing in the two rivers.
//Cue in: “eza ntungwa eza…
Cue out: …bakushangayo nibakutererayo.”//
Bernard Baingana, the commandant of the UPDF Marine Operations on Lake Edward,
says they will not allow any person to access the rivers until the Fisheries
Ministry clears them. He says that two rivers are breeding zones for fish,
arguing that allowing fishmongers to fish there affects fish multiplication.