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Kasese District Authorities Struggle to Evict Residents from River Banks

In 2013, Kasese municipal council passed a resolution to evict all the sand miners along the river banks, but to date, this resolution has never been implemented.
Ayeni Geoffrey the president Walkers Association of Uganda planting a bamboo at River Nyamwamba banks

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Kasese District authorities are struggling to evict people living along the river banks.

In May last year, both the municipal authorities and district authorities ordered people leaving near the banks of Nyamwamba and Mubuku rivers to vacate with immediate effect following a wave of floods that washed away Kilembe Mines Hospital and destroyed several villages across the district.

The authorities reasoned that human activities had continued to destroy the river bed and banks resulting in flooding.

In 2013, Kasese municipal council passed a resolution to evict all the sand miners along the river banks, but to date, this resolution has never been implemented.

Evelyn Mugume, the Kasese Municipality Environment Officer says they are facing a lot of resistance from those living near the banks and residents mining sand from the rivers. 

She says on several occasions law enforcement agents and other officers have survived being attacked by the community.

//Cue in: “They have chased… 

Cue out: …move e step.”//

Mugume also says illegal sand mining near rivers has had diverse effects on the surrounding surface and groundwater.

However, she says the district is carrying out massive sensitization of the population in Kasese through radio programs, community dialogues and seminars, about the effects of mining on the banks of the river.

Augustine Kooli the Kasese District Environment officer says human settlement along the river banks has led to the degradation of the Nyamwamba river valley.

However, he says the lack of manpower has continued to derail their efforts to involve those operating around the banks.

Yassin Tumwine, the Director of National Youth Organization for Development- NAYODE, a local NGO championing environment conservation says there is a need for the district authorities to partner with other stakeholders to increase awareness.

Research findings have indicated that heavy rains in Kasese have washed copper pyrites down-slope into River Nyamwamba and Lake George where a high concentration of iron, copper, zinc and cadmium have accumulated in water, plants and soil.

There are also fears that activities such as fishing and tourism are being endangered. 

In May, Kasese District leaders asked the government to relocate persons living along the banks of major Rivers. The leaders argue that they don’t have land to resettle the persons.

In March Kasese District leaders asked the government to establish an inter-ministerial committee to address the problem of disasters especially floods in the district. 

The leaders argue that the committee would also help the district to plan ahead of heavy rains between March and May. However,  this committee is yet to be considered by the government.

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