Isingiro ward in Bugongi Town Council Sheema District are demanding a refund of
their money paid to the Town Council leadership for hiring a wetland for
than 1000 residents argue that in August 2021, they each paid 30, 000 Shillings
to Bugongi Town council and were each given an acre of land for cultivation. The wetland measures 2,672 acres covering Bugongi town council and Bugongi sub-county.
However, the residents say that they were surprised when officials from the National
Environment Management Authority-NEMA last week destroyed their gardens accusing them of
cultivating in a wetland.
Joseph Kiwanuka, one of the affected residents says that they were assured by
the LCIII Bugongi Town Council Wilson Tugume that they had agreed with NEMA to
allow residents to grow crops for four months.
//Cue in: “bakatahirira omusiiri gwangye…
…nyowe tinkuhakanisa gavumenti.”//
Kusiima, another resident says she paid 30,000 Shillings to the town council
leadership and they gave her a receipt. She now wants her money refunded and
compensation for the destroyed gardens.
“nyowe nimbashaba aba…
…kandi nekayangye yabaho.”//
Yiga, the Chairperson LC II Isingiro Ward says during sensitization programs residents
were given only four months’ ultimatum to remove their crops from the wetland
but unfortunately, the residents were evicted before the months had elapsed.
“kubizire enyuma bari…
…kushisha emere yabo.”//
Tugume said that he agreed to hire out the wetland noting that by the time they hired out the land to
residents it wasn’t yet demarcated. He says that they will hold a meeting with
the affected residents over the matter.
“abo nibenda kwegyezi waza…
…bagiira ngu tibakuhasigaho.”//
Bigirwa Mwangye, whose crops were also destroyed has threatened to sue Bugongi
Town Council leadership and the Sheema district for encroaching on his land and
destroying his property.
destroyed included 2,000 eucalyptus trees, 1,000 pineapples, and barbed wire all
valued at Six Million Shillings.
“ekizibu ekya bireho…
…ngu operation yagihoritinga.”//
Turyatunga, the Sheema District Environment Officer says they are not scared of
those intimidations noting that they are acting on the President’s directive.
“along the way…
Cue out: …does that show.”//
At the end
of last month, the NEMA and Ministry of Environment moved to restore over 2,000
acres of wetland in the Sheema district.