KAMPALA – President Museveni has directed the Minister for Water and Encouragement, Ms Sam Cheptoris, to apply force where necessary and evict all people who have encroached on wetlands, swamps, lakes and rivers across the country.
In a letter dated April 21, the President said that the country is already feeling the effects of encroachment on its natural resources in form of lakes and rivers bursting banks and flooding.
“I am, therefore, directing you to remove all the people on the wetlands, shore-lines, river banks and government forward except the historical ones of Busoga, Bukedi and Kigezi that were misled by the earlier governments of the day,” he said.
According to the President, the government has already spent massively on clearing floating bio-masses that hit Owen Falls dam in Jinja early this month.
“God wanted us to use the grasslands and Savannah for agriculture and livestock, and, the forests, wetlands and swamps for hunting, timber, honey, water, grass for mulching crops, fishing and transport etc,” Mr Museveni’s letter reads in part.
He also accused past governments of misleading people to cultivate in forests and wetlands in Busoga, Bukedi and Kigezi sub-regions.
Mr Museveni, however, said the government has plans to transform their farming from crop growing to fish farming which is friendly to wetland and swamps sustainability.
“There, we shall use the model of acquaculture where people are helped to move to the fish ponds and away from growing crops in swaps and other farming activities. Swamps are granaries (dero, kitara, kyagyi) for water and not gardens (emisiri)” he stated.