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Don’t litter! Court convicts 5 people over dumping garbage on street as Mbarara closes all garbage centers

The convicts with some sacks of garbage in the courtroom before they were convicted (PHOTO/BOB)

MBARARA – The grade II Magistrate at Mbarara Municipal court on Wednesday, September 11, convicted five people after they were found dumping garbage on the roadside.

Court presided over by His worship Copan Muhanguzi convicted Linnet Tumwine 20, a student of Metropolitan International University who is a resident of Kisenyi cell, Evelyne Tushabe 33, a resident of central cell in Kakoba division, Asuman Mwesigwa a resident of Kakoba ward, Robert Baguma a resident of Kyapotani cell in Kakoba and Muhamad Ssentamu 30, a resident of Kisenyi.

Court heard that all these on September 10, were found dumping solid waste on the roadside which is against the laws of the municipal council.

The five were convicted on their own plea of guilt.

Others who were brought to court but denied charges Include; Ivan Musiime 17 a resident of Kamukuzi division,Fred Musimenta 30 a resident of Agip cell in Kakoba.

These denied charges and were remanded to Kyamugorani Prison until September 23, for mention of their case. One Steven Kyomukama 15, was set free after taking cognizance that he is still underage.

His worship Muhanguzi asked those who were convicted on their own plea of guilt to pay a fine of UGX 150, 000 each or else spend a month in prison.

Muhanguzi noted that they have a right to appeal to a higher court if any is not satisfied with the ruling.

The suspects being brought to court before they were convicted (PHOTO/BOB)

Municipal council speaks out;

We have been told that way back in 2005, Mbarara Municipal council passed solid waste management bylaws that were aiming at keeping Mbarara clean but these bylaws had never been implemented.

Late last week Mbarara Municipal council enforcement team embarked on the campaign to remove all the garbage skips with in town and closed off all the garbage collections centers.

Francis Balabanawe the Municipal town Clerk in an exclusive interview in his office on Wednesday said there has been uncontrolled payment for garbage collection to wrong people.

“Initially there have been two categories of people, one getting it from his/her home to the collection center without paying any body, another group would get it from homes after being paid to collection centers. Those who have been involved in this business have been mainly lumpens and street kids,” stated Balabanawe.

“Garbage should come from the home up to the dumping site, why should it go to the collection center, to do what? Why should garbage have stopovers? We realized that was redundancy and useless and it has been consuming a lot of resources that’s why we have opted for this initiative,”he added.

Balabanawe further revealed that there were collection centers in town which had no purposes apart from showing people that Mbarara has littered with garbage.

“There is nothing new that has been introduced apart from now improving efficiency from home straight to the dumping site in Kenkombe.”

He said that there have been private collectors of garbage but have been collecting it selectively which was not helping council that’s why there was garbage all over town.

He noted that the public will be required to pay a sum of money to those who will be collecting it from home depending on how big the garbage is. He added that they did not fix a specific amount of money for the contractor to charge people in homes.

When asked whether this won’t bring clashes between the public and contractor for charging high fees, Balabanawe answered that the contractor of Home clean was given only three months to first operate.

“We haven’t signed an MoU with the contractor we just gave him permission to collect and we want to assess him in a period of three months. And garbage is very difficult to set its price because people generate different volumes. What we told the contractor was to ensure that he agrees with the people should not be prohibitive,” said Balabanawe.

“The contractor will do massive collection whether is paid or not he will have to collect garbage from homes but still NEMA laws are very clear that “he who generates garbage must pay for it. So we said as we head for the city status we cannot have a city full of garbage”

L-R: Evelyn Tushabe and Linet Tumwine a student of Metropolitan International University in court (PHOTO/BOB)

He called upon the public to ensure this new system is adhered to and that after garbage they will go to illegal structures and then River Rwizi restoration.

“We want to have a town that is ultimately clean and very attractive”

Balabanawe said that council has been spending billions of money on garbage collection and that this will be devoted to public health and ensuring that roads are good.

Benjamin Ssebuliba the Municipal senior enforcement officer said they have intensified garbage operations to ensure whoever dumps it on the way is arrested and prosecuted.

“We have engaged all stakeholders at all levels to ensure that the message is sent to the rest of the public that we no longer want garbage in town and streets like it has been before” Said Ssebuliba.

He added that they have deployed on all areas both enforcement officers andplain clothed members of public to ensure whoever dumps garbage is arrested.

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