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Bunyoro Leaders Fault Gov't Over Planned Closure of Illegal Landing Sites

Pius Wakabi, the Bugahya county Member of parliament, says it is totally wrong for government to come up with a decision of closing the illegal landing sites during the lock down.
Fishing community at Sebigoro landing site in Kikuube district. Photo by Emmanuel Okello..

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Several leaders in Bunyoro Sub region are protesting government’s decision to close illegal landing sites on Lake Albert shores without consulting them. Last week, Maj. General Leopold Kyanda, the UPDF Chief of Staff for Land Forces held a meeting with top security officials in the Albertine region where it was resolved to close over 200 ungazetted landing sites spread in Kagadi, Kikuube, Hoima and Buliisa districts. 

The security officers said Congolese nationals to sneak to the illegal landing sites, most of which are inaccessible by road and thereby expose Ugandans to danger. Kyanda said they would close 61 illegal landing sites in the four districts in the first phase and close the remaining in phase two.  

Some of the landing sites earmarked for closure in Hoima district are Buhuma, Pentye, Nana, Kabanda, Kiryatete, Kisege and Kacuru. Those in Kikuube are Bulinga, Wangjok, Kiina, Kachunde, Busigi, Nsunzu and Ususa among others while those to be closed in Buliisa are Kawaibanda, Tuugo Mbili, Chula, Masaka, Katonge, Wankende, Kigagaizi, Bubwe and Kololo among others.  

The proposed closure of the illegal landing sites hasn’t gone down well with leaders in Bunyoro sub region, saying they were never consulted.   Pius Wakabi, the Bugahya county Member of parliament, says it is totally wrong for government to come up with a decision of closing the illegal landing sites during the lock down. According to Wakabi, there is need for wide consultations by government before the proposal is implemented. 

//Cue in;”Iam not in…

Cue out:…better than them.”//  

Runyoro byte.

//cue in;”Ekyo kubanza tikiyikire….

Cue out:…ba duna obwiganiza.”//

Geoffrey Kumakech, the Buseruka Sub county LC 5 Councilor who doubles as the Hoima District Natural Resources Secretary, wonders how government will cater for the evicted  fishermen. 

//Cue in: ”We were shocked…

Cue out:…cause more problem.”//  

Kumakech says that most of the landing sites that are said to be illegal have been tendered out to various business personalities to generate local revenue. He fears that once closed, the contractors could drag the district to court for breach of contract. 

//Cue in: ”By the way…

Cue in:… us to court.”//  

Kadir Kirungi, the Hoima District LC5 Chairperson wonders how security can sit along and decide on such a matter without involving local leaders. 

Dan Muhairwe, the Buhaguzi County Member of Parliament in Kikuube district also asked whether government has a resettlement action plan for the fishermen and whether or not they will be compensated.  

//Cue in: ”I actually haven’t…

 

Cue out:…package for them,”//

Vicente Alpher Opio, the Kabwoya Sub County LC 5 Councilor in Kikuube district, says government should compensate the fishermen whose lives will be affected once they are evicted. He said some of the fishermen have stayed on the said landing sites for years and had established permanent homes.    

 

Samuel Kisembo, the Hoima Resident District Commissioner-RDC and caretaker of Kikuube district, says the process of closing the illegal landing sites is ongoing, saying none will stop it. Early this week, fishermen protested the proposed closure of the illegal landing sites, saying fishing is their sole source of livelihood and survival.

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