Kikuube RDC gives ultimatum to River Nguse encroachers

Kikuube RDC, Mr Amlan Tumusiime (with stick), in a rice garden at Nguse River. In front of him is a boat encroachers use to cross to the other side of the river for encroachment. (Image: Gad Asaba)

An approximate more than 200 people who encroached on Nguse River in Kabwoya Sub-county, Kikuube District, have been given an ultimatum of two months to voluntarily vacate the wetland or else face forceful eviction.

During his monitoring tour in the district, Mr Amlan Tumusiime, the Kikuube Resident District Commissioner (RDC), found that some residents of Karama village had encroached on the river for rice growing and charcoal burning putting the existence of the wetland at risk of complete degradation.

It was discovered that in order to access the farthest point of the river for human activity, some encroachers use a boat to cross over the water so they can cultivate and burn charcoal there.

Ms Elizabeth Busiinge, a resident of Karama village attributed the encroachment on the river partly to people’s ignorance of the significant role rivers and other wetlands play in moderating weather conditions to stave off climate change.

She urged the authorities to scale up their sensitisation campaigns massively so people come to know the importance of wetlands to the environment and the biodiversity.

The Karama Village Chairman, Mr Maxon Hakizimana, also urged the authorities to sensitise people about beauty of wetlands and the challenges likely to be faced when the environment is degraded.

He said the current encroachers on the river are remnants after the rest vacated it following a sensitisation carried out by Care Uganda – a non-government organisation about the dangers of destroying the river.

The chairman said efforts by the village council to sensitise the encroachers fell on deaf ears as many as hundreds remained encroaching on the wetland.

“We have tried as LC1 committee to sensitise the locals to vacate the wetland but many have just kept a deaf ear and as LC we don’t have powers to evict them from wetlands. I ask the higher authorities to intervene and arrest whoever is degrading the wetlands,” he said.

It is on this basis that Mr Tumusiime told the encroachers who have already planted their rice crop in the river to harvest it, vacate and never again encroach on it in order to salvage the river from destruction.

The RDC said Nguse is one of the biggest rivers in Bunyoro enough to moderate weather conditions but it is only being degraded by human activities at an alarming rate with the few trees at its periphery being felled for charcoal burning.

Security officers destroy a charcoal mound at Nguse River in Karama Village, Kabwoya Sub-county in Kikuube District. (Image: Gad Asaba)

It is on this basis that Mr Tumusiime told the encroachers who have already planted their rice crop in the river to harvest it, vacate and never again encroach on it in order to salvage the river from destruction.

The RDC said Nguse is one of the biggest rivers in Bunyoro enough to moderate weather conditions but it is only being degraded by human activities at an alarming rate with the few trees at its periphery being felled for charcoal burning.

Audio: Tumusiime on Nguse River (English)

Mr Tumusiime warned local people selling land in wetlands to desist from the act in order not to be caught by the arm of the law.

The RDC also people against politicising evictions of encroachers from wetlands to gain popularity well aware that they are committing a crime.

Audio: Tumusiime on politicising evictions (English)

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