Farmers from Kabale, Rubanda and Rukiga districts have petitioned the Speaker of Parliament to halt the ongoing forceful eviction from wetlands.

President Museveni has consistently urged all Ugandans cultivating in wetland areas to vacate as part of environmental restoration efforts. In late 2023, Museveni ordered the forceful eviction of individuals still cultivating in wetlands.

In January, authorities in Kabale district commenced implementing the directive by destroying locals’ crops grown in wetlands and issuing directives prohibiting further cultivation in these areas.

The implementation sparked anger among the affected locals who lost their crops and land. Last month, Moses Kamuntu Mwongyera, Rubanda County West MP and Nelson Nshangabasheija, Kabale District LC5 Chairman clashed with district technical and security authorities led by Ronald Bakak, Kabale Deputy Resident District Commissioner and Jane Amumpeire, Rubanda  District Environment and Natural Resources Officer.

Denis Ndyomugyenyi Nzeirwe, a farmer from Katuna town council who is leading petitioners told our reporter that the eviction is set to leave dairy farmers who have been feeding their cows from wetlands to lose 5.4 billion Shillings from milk and 6.2 billion shillings from meat they sell per year.  Nzeirwe also says that as farmers they want the government to understand that there is not enough land where to grow crops and rear animals in the area.

Julius Arinaitwe, another petitioner said that if the directive is implemented, people will die of hunger because the land on the hillside is not fertile to produce adequate food compared to that in the lowlands. 

Their lawyer Justus Muhangi, of Muhangi and Partners Advocates, said that the forceful eviction is affecting about 32,000 households in Kabale, Rukiga and Rubanda. Muhangi added that some of the alternative interventions the government is proposing like fish farming, and beekeeping to replace dairy farming are not applicable in Kabale, Rukiga and Rubanda.

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