Environmental defenders, whistleblowers and concerned citizens in Kayabwe town council Mpigi district central Uganda,and other parts of the country continue to cry out to authorities and stakeholders for intervention amidst escalating threats; psychological torture, intimidation, arrests & physical attacks by perpetrators encroaching on wetlands in Mpigi central Uganda especially Kayabwe-Nkozi wetland. The victims allege that perpetrators are under the protection of some authorities including police.
On 27th April 2022, a group of environmental defenders were brutally beaten by people in plain clothes for demonstrating at the equator line in Kayabwe town council Mpigi district against the increasing encroachment on wetlands, accusing local authorities of corruption and other irregularities in environmental conservation. The perpetrators came on police truck that immediately left them beating defenders who later received medical attention. Three defenders were admitted at KK medical Centre in Kayabwe Town Council for medical attention.
When we contacted the local police, the OC station Mr. Akimu Monday disowned this group saying that they were not police officers and as police they will investigate this matter.
Our sources confirmed that traffic police blamed the defenders identified as Timothy Wangila, Joyce Nampamba, John Bosco and their colleagues for causing traffic jam and demonstrating without police permission.
The Environmental Wise Use Initiative, an NGO operating in Mpigi district now calls for community unity to strengthen the environmental defending campaigns & other interventions.
Kayabwe–Nkozi wetland is situated 2km from the Uganda Equator line and has been attracting tourists to see the beautiful wetland birds like crested cranes, ducks and others. Because of its strategic location, the council authorities have given out part of the wetland and licensed business people to set up washing bays, trucks parking yard and site for vehicle garage. About 2 acres on this wetland have been drained and prepared for business.
According to the mayor Kayabwe Town Council, Mr. Zzedi Mukasa Hassan the council has to look for sources of revenue to support council activities and that is why they have passed a council resolution to give away part of the wetland to business community as a one of the reliable sources of income. He adds that the parking yard at the wetland will reduce the congestion in the road side and will also reduce on insecurity.
Uganda’s wetland loss stands at the rate of 2.5% – 3 % annually and destruction of the environment explains the climate variability like prolonged drought, heavy rains, irregular rain and dry season patterns in Uganda.
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