Mbale. Business came to standstill on the Mbale-Kumi highway at the weekend as residents of Mbale Municipality protested against the destruction of a spring well by unidentified developer.
Armed with machetes and hoes, the residents of Namakwekwe Ward in Northern Division chanted slogans “water is life” and blocked the road with huge stones and logs.
According to the residents, the developer is attempting to block a protected water source that has been their source of livelihood since 1984.
On Friday night, the developer reportedly hired a tractor and trucks that levelled the ground where the well is located and poured murram into it.
The residents allege that the developer also deployed armed men who cut down the banana plantation, trees and slashed crops to create land for development in a wetland where the spring well is located.
Mr Yasin Kawanguzi, the division deputy speaker, accused some leaders of selling the land to a developer even when they are aware that it is a wetland supposed to be managed by Nema.
“This place is a wetland which can’t be given away for development. Worst of all, this area has a spring well which is a source of water for many residents,” Mr Kawanguzi said.
Mr Sezi Mafabi, the division chairperson, decried the increasing cases of land grabbing in Mbale, appealing to the ministry of Lands to intervene.
The district police commander, Mr Gerald Twishime, who calmed down the demonstrators, said the Force will investigate to establish the owner of the land.
The demonstration comes barely six months after Mbale Municipality residents petitioned the Inspector General of Government over the alleged fraudulent sale of the land in the municipality.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor