Minister Accuses Police of Protecting Wetland, Forest Encroachers

She says this has frustrated many of their efforts since they are also supposed to use police to do enforcement in places where people have failed to heed to their directives to vacate the wetlands they have illegally occupied

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The State Minister for Environment Flavia Munaaba has accused the Police of frustrating the efforts of the ministry in fighting people who have illegally encroached into the wetlands across the country.

While addressing a media conference in Kampala on Friday, the minister said many people have illegally built houses, factories and settled on wetlands but when their enforcement officers want them evicted they find police guarding them.

She said this has frustrated many of their efforts since they are also supposed to use police to effect these evictions.

Munaaba said some encroachers present titles to wetlands they claim have been issued by Uganda Land Commission.

But she was quick to reveal that with the help of officials from Ministry of Lands, government has been able to cancel over 1000 land titles issued for people in wetlands countrywide which is a breakthrough though police is frustrating them.

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However the minister says in the 16 districts where they have already completed the demarcation exercise for wetlands a total of 689.2 hectares of wetland have been restored and 443 kilometres of wetlands demarcated.

Dr. Tom Okurut, the Executive director of National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) however said after they will complete the demarcation exercise the ministry will be able to come up with a countrywide atlas for wetlands to prevent people from encroaching in to the wetlands when they are already aware.

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But when contacted Fred Enanga, the police spokesperson says they have always intervened to help in issues of wetlands and forests when they suspect crime has been committed. He tasked the minister to come up with specific cases in which police have frustrated their efforts.