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Rice Farmers, Environmental Officer Clash Over Lumboka Swamp Conservation

Charles Ongasia, another resident says that they are opposed to the proposal to evict them from the swamp because is a trick by the government to grab their land.

Audio 4

Rice farmers in Busia district have clashed with the environment officer, Jimmy Ngolobe for stopping them from utilizing the degraded Lumboka swamp. The swamp is found in Buyunda village in Buyanga sub-county sub-county.

It all started when Ngolobe ordered the farmers during a sensitization meeting on wetland conservation at Buyunda primary school in Buyanga sub-county on Monday to stop cultivating the swamp. The farmers turned rowdy, saying that the swamp is their only source of livelihood. 

Ngolobe says that residents misunderstood him thinking that the government wants to grab their land. He promised to continue with the sensitization program by using the area local leaders so that people stop degradation the wetlands in the area.

English audio:  

//Cue in: “They kind of resisted…         

Cue out:…wetlands in a better way,”//

 

Wejuli Kabeda, a rice farmer in Lumboka swamp in Buyunda village, described the directive by the environmental officer to push them from the swamp as inhuman.

According to Kabeda, their great grandparents started cultivating the swamp even before the 1995 land act was put in place.

 

Samia audio:

//Cue in: “Ebidiirana hu mwalo…        

Cue out:…batule mumwalo kweeli,”//

Charles Ongasia, another resident says that they are opposed to the proposal to evict them from the swamp because is a trick by the government to grab their land. 

He says that several people in the area have embarked on rice farming and other quick maturing crops in Lumboka swamp to earn a living.

 

Samia audio:

//Cue in: “District environmental officer….       

Cue out;..kudonge koti okwabwe,”//  

Joseph Erima Omulim, the LC 3 chairman of Buyanga sub-county says that the situation worsened when the environmental officer started citing environmental laws for the residents about the ownership of wetlands and their management.

English audio:  

//Cue in: "They didn't want...                         

Cue out:...land from them,'//