According to information obtained by URN, in its recent meeting cabinet resolved to demolish all structures of Ministries, Departments and Agencies in wetlands, river and lake catchment areas and other protected areas.
The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development is
crying foul as they are on the verge of losing one of their oldest properties in Entebbe following a
resolution by the cabinet to evict all government structures from protected
According to information obtained
by URN, in its recent meeting cabinet resolved
to demolish all structures of Ministries, Departments and Agencies in wetlands, river and lake catchment areas
and other protected areas.
The decision is one of the attempts
by the government to walk the talk and send a direct
message on its resolve to protect
and restore ecosystems that have been largely depleted.
As a result, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development is on the verge of losing the
multi-billion complex occupied by the Petroleum Authority of Uganda-PAU in Entebbe municipality that sits on the
shores of Lake Victoria.
The Energy and Mineral Development Minister, Ruth
Nankabirwa, says that the affected building has been experiencing flooding due to ever-rising water levels in Lake Victoria.
Nankabirwa notes that to contain the problem of flooding they had requested
Shillings 8million to construct
a barrier, which was turned down by the cabinet and instead recommended
the demolition of the entire building.
She revealed that the cabinet argued that the government cannot finance a structure that was
illegally constructed in the catchment area of Lake Victoria contrary to environmental
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According to the National Environment Act, a lake and any other water body have
a 200-meter buffer zone that is designated for environmental protection.
However, a 2015 report by NEMA indicates that Lake Victoria buffer zones had
been eaten up by human
activity including the construction of permanent structures.
Despite the cabinet decision to demolish structures in
protected areas, authorities in the Energy ministry are opposed to
Robert Kasande, the former Energy Minister Permanent Secretary, says the ministry
has not in any way encroached on the lake.
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Honey Malinga, the acting Director Directorate of Petroleum,
says the site where the building in question stands has been the home to the different government installations since
colonial times with silent improvements over time.
He says that the site was once used as a prison facility by the
colonial authorities and headquarters
of the Uganda surveys. To him, demolishing the structure will cost the Ministry over Shillings 20 billion that has since been injected into the construction works.
“It’s difficult to tag a figure on the structure, which is at risk of
demolition but we are talking about over Shillings 20billion. That’s too much to be just lost in a blink of an
eye,” Malinga said.
However, Nankabirwa notes that the cabinet's stand on protecting the
environment can’t be changed. She says that the building can only be saved if the Energy Ministry officials prove that it’s the lake that has
extended to their boundaries.
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A few weeks ago, the Ministry of Water and Environment declared the environmental restoration decade as one of the
moves to protect mother nature and
mitigate the effects of climate change.
The Ministry informed developers and other people occupying protected areas illegally
to voluntarily vacate before they are pushed