Home News Ham Kigo Land Saga: MPs Want Officials Issuing Titles in Wetlands Arrested

Ham Kigo Land Saga: MPs Want Officials Issuing Titles in Wetlands Arrested

Caption here (Beatrice Lamwaka, GPJ Uganda)

Members of Parliament sitting on the Committee of Climate Change have called upon the authorities to arrest officials in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development (MoLHUD) for issuing titles in wetlands.

MPs say that those operating on wetlands are there illegally and should not only be evicted but even those who gave them titles arrested.

Their call comes a few days after Baker Mugano the Ag. Commissioner Land Registration at the MoLHUD called for a cancellation of all titles in the Kigo land since it’s in wetlands.

The said land is being fought for by business mogul Hamis Kiggundu the CEO of Kiham Enterprise and the Kabaka of Buganda through the Buganda Land Board.

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“I think we should not go for only those who built in wetlands – we have to go for those who have issued titles in wetlands. Whoever issues documentation to facilitate land acquisition in wetlands must be fired,” said Hon. Seth Wambede, (NRM, Northern Division, Mbale City).

This was during a press briefing held on Friday in the Members’ Lounge at Parliament.

Members observed that the process of evicting illegal occupants has been compromised and that the ‘big fish‘ continue to occupy wetlands, thus the need to focus on the source of land titles.

“We see the eviction of vulnerable people. Why is it selective implementation of the law?” asked Hon. Christine Kaaya Kiboga District woman MP.

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Kaaya wondered if the government was monitoring the authorized projects in wetlands such as Lwera in Lukaaya Town Council in Kalungu district, central Uganda, to ensure adherence to environmental law.

“Earlier there was a move to cancel all titles in wetlands. How far have we gone with fulfilling this? How far have we gone with their demarcation? Where is Environmental Police to monitor adherence to what we set out to do with these wetlands?” she asked.

The committee chairperson, Hon. Lawrence Songa said: “First of all, it is bad to issue title in the wetland. I have seen people who say that they have land and when you go to see the land, it is in water – but they say, ‘My land is under there, it is the water which came over it’ ”.

Songa said the rampant floods in Kasese district, western Uganda and landslides in the Elgon region, eastern Uganda should be a lesson that there is a need to reclaim wetlands and other green cover such as forests.  

He was concerned that the government was spending heavily on managing disasters, saying it could spend less if it focused on disaster prevention.

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“Most of the time what we are spending at the Office of the Prime Minister is for addressing challenges after disasters. If you calculate the money we spend on relief items after disasters, it is higher than the money we will have used to prevent it,” he said.

Legislators also urged the government to consider a comprehensive campaign to encourage households to embrace climate change best practices such as tree planting, and protection of forests and wetlands from encroachers.

“We want climate change actions such as the use and disposal of [polythene bags] kaveera to be owned at the household level. We need to own this fight Individually like how we fought COVID-19 and HIV/AIDS,” said Hon. Anthony Esenu (NRM, Kapelebyong County).

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