Mityana, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Twenty-eight people in Mityana district are in trouble for encroaching on wetlands during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Yasiin Bbira, the Mityana district natural resources officer says some of the encroachers have already appeared in court while others are in the process of being arraigned.
According to Bbira, the suspects used the lockdown to scale up their activities in wetlands in disregard of a 21 days ultimatum asking them to vacate wetlands.
Prior to the lockdown, Mityana district had just given the encroachers 21 days to vacate the wetlands or else risk forceful eviction.
Bbira identifies Kalangaalo and Bulera sub-counties, Mityana municipality and Busunju town council as the most affected when it comes to wetland encroachment.
Being a rural district, cultivation of crops like beans, maize, sweet potatoes, sugar cane, grazing and eucalyptus tree planting among others are the major threat to wetlands.
Bbira however says Mityana district natural resources department faces various challenges which affects its operations.
Some of the residents interviewed by URN said it is not their wish to encroach on the wetlands but they are forced by circumstances. Richard Sekayombya, a resident of Kiwanda village in Mwera parish says that he can only get food to feed his family by cultivating in wetlands where he finds free land.
He says the little piece of land he has is insufficient to host his house and a garden for cultivating food. Sekayombya however condemns residents who plant trees and construct permanent or semi-permanent structures in wetlands.