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'Corruption frustrating efforts to restore wetlands' - Uganda Newswire

‘Corruption frustrating efforts to restore wetlands’

Officials from the water ministry and other government agencies including National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) have decried what they call the high level of corruption among local leaders. They say as a result of corruption, efforts to restore wetlands and other water sources have been frustrated.

They add that despite President Yoweri Museveni giving a directive to wetland encroachers to vacate immediately, the efforts by the implementers have hit a dead end due to corruption and lack of political will among the local leaders.

The outcry was made on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, during the launch of the Water and Environment Week which will be celebrated under the theme: Water and Environment for Climate-Resilient Development. The launch was at the water and environment regional offices in Mbarara city.

Capt. John Bosco Bamuturaki, the chairperson R. Rwizi Catchment Committee operating under the water ministry, said the Government put environmental structures at all levels in local councils, “but we have found a major challenge of corruption among leaders who promise cover-ups in case there is an attempt to be evicted”.

Bamuturaki, said most of the structures that have been erected near the wetlands and other sources of water, especially on R. Rwizi have approved plans an indicator that, “these people connive with some officials in the local leadership”.

NEMA southwestern region manager Jeconius Musingwire said for the last six years, they have tried to recover a number of wetlands such as Nyakambu swamp in Buhweju district, Kakigani and Kongoro swamps in Rwampara district, but “have suffered a challenge of lack of political will and corruption”.

“Every time we go and chase away people from the wetlands, in a few days, they come back because they are promised a backup from local leadership right away from LC1s. Because some of these people sit in councils and know that we don’t have enough manpower to keep enforcement on ground due to limited budget,” Musingwire said.

He added that during one of the exercises of erecting mark stones on the buffer zones of River Rwizi, “we were with all the local leaders, but as we moved along erecting mark stones, I found myself alone with a few officials from the ministry all others political leaders abandoned the exercise”.

About the water and environment week

Water ministry manager for Mbarara region Eng. Enock Mwanje said the water and environment week activities will last for six days highlighting the role of inclusiveness in water and environment systems for climate-resilient communities and ecosystems.

“We shall emphasise identifying legal policies and institutional approaches for enhancing water and environment security for climate resilient development and exploring opportunities for developing and strengthening capacity for multisectoral partnership," Mwanje said.

Source: New Vision

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