In the past, leaders in Masaka city and environmental conservation activists have been at loggerheads with a senior officer of Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF identified as Major Patrice Mugume who hired trucks to dump the soil in a wetland, clearing part of it for construction.
Nabajuzi Wetland in Masaka City where dumping is taking place, the contractor had apparently abandoned the site as dispute heightens
Construction works in a major wetland in Masaka City have been
In the past, leaders in Masaka city and environmental conservation
activists have been at loggerheads with a senior officer of Uganda People’s
Defense Forces-UPDF identified as Major Patrice Mugume. Mugume hired trucks to dump
the soil in the wetland, clearing part of it for construction.
The Nabajuzi wetland which serves as the main catchment for Masaka
district’s main water source was being damaged by heavy trucks which were
ferrying and dumping heaps in its section located along Masaka-Mbarara bypass,
towards Kijjabwemi trading centre.
However, the construction site is now abandoned with no activities
currently taking place.
Andrew Katongole, one of the people residing in
the neighbourhood of the wetland says that the works have been off for about a
week now after the workers who were levelling the area left the
He also says that private guards who have to guard the area have since
disappeared, which gives him hope that the claimant might have given up on the
“The works had been continuous for two weeks and residents were
not allowed to get any close to the scene. But for a while now, nobody has even
returned to check on the progress of the work,” he says.
At the site, some of the road-guard rails which were earlier
removed to open access into the construction area; off the highway have also been
Antonio Kalyanngo, the Executive Director of Biodiversity
Conservation Foundation-BCF, a local environmental conservation civil society
organization, says despite the halt of the activities, they want the National Environment Management Authority-NEMA to come out strong on
all persons that were involved even in whatever slight destruction of the
He says that NEMA should also compel the officer to restore
the wetland to its original state.
Florence Namayanja, the Masaka City Mayor says they formally
complained to the authorities in the Uganda People Defense Forces-UPDF, asking
them to reign over their officer who she says is evasive to the local
Namayanja says despite abandoning the site by the contractors,
they have instructed the City Clerk to look for Major Mugume or his agents to
serve them with orders to remove the soil from the affected wetland.
Major Ninsiima Rwemijuma, the Spokesperson of the UPDF Armoured Brigade
in Masaka also declines to comment on the accusations about the officer, saying
he needed time to study the matter.