National Water and Sewerage Cooperation-NWSC has raised alarm over the ongoing destruction of Lweera wetland in Kalungu district.
Lweera wetland is found in Lukaya town council along the Masaka-Kampala Highway. Residents have reclaimed several hectares of land in Lweera wetland and set up settlements, sand mines and gardens.
Some of the prominent people with huge chunks of land in Lweera wetland are Vincent Bamulangaki Ssempijja, the State Minister for Agriculture, city businessman John Ssebalamu, Herman Kizito and Vincent Ssemakula. Ssebalamu is currently constructing a hotel in the wetland.
A private Chinese firm only identified as China is also involved in sand mining in the wetland. Vincent Ssempijja, the State Minister for Agriculture subleased his land in Lweera wetland to farmers for farming. The degradation of Lweera wetland has drawn the attention of National Water and Sewerage Cooperation.
Dr. Silver Mugisha, the Executive Director National Water and Sewerage Cooperation says he is surprised that NEMA is looking on as Lweera wetland gets depleted. According to Dr. Mugisha, he has visited the wetland several times and is disturbed by the magnitude of destruction.
He explains that the destruction of Lweera and Katonga wetlands directly impacts on water supply in the country. Dr. Mugisha wants NEMA and the Wetland Protection Department to intervene and address wetland encroachment across the country.
// Cue in: â€œLweera is someâ€¦
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Dr. Mugisha says wetland encroachment affected their capacity to supply water to Mityana district in March this year during the dry spell.
// Cue in: â€œThe Ugandan constitutionâ€¦
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Mulinde Mukasa, the Commissioner in Charge of Land Administration in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development says they have not parceled out any land in Lweera wetland.
Mukasa says they don\'t know how the people in Lweera wetland got there adding that, they are evaluating documents to see who owns land in the wetland.
// Cue in: â€œIt is not thatâ€¦
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But Vincent Ssempijja, the State Minister for Agriculture says he acquired several acres of land in Lweera legally. He also denies claims that he has leased out land in Lweera wetland to farmers.
// Cue in: â€œThis careless talkâ€¦
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Naomi Karekaho, the Public Relations Officer National Environment Management Authority declined to comment on the matter saying she was busy. When our reporter called back about an hour later her phone was switched.
URN sent two emails to Karekaho to comment on the encroachment on Lweera wetland but they were not replied.