People who built residences or doing business within the recommended 200-metre buffer zone of Lake Victoria have one week to vacate or risk having their properties forcefully removed as government moves to protect the world’s third-largest freshwater body.
According to the State Minister for Environment Beatrice Anywar, people who are occupying water banks, protected zones and wetlands should leave immediately since their lives are at risk due to the rising water levels of the lake.
Anywar says that whoever fails to comply with the directive will be forcefully evicted.
“If you’re in a wetland, protected zone along the banks of our water bodies, please do the best and leave. However, if you don’t leave voluntarily, as government, effective next week, will go out to the points talk to people. Those who feel they need an extra force to go, to save lives of Ugandans… there are those who don’t listen; we shall use reasonable force to ensure that those who are wrongfully in the wetlands are evicted,” Anywar said.
Lake Victoria’s water levels have of recent been increasing, submerging several properties and beaches in Entebbe and Kampala notably, the luxurious Serena Lake Victoria Golf Resort and Spa.
The commissioner for Water Regulation and Management at the Ministry of Water and Environment, Dr. Caliste Tindimugaya, warned that the floods could get worse due to the rains and increasing inflows from mainly River Kagera and other rivers that pour water into Lake Victoria.
Last weekend, President Yoweri Museveni, in his televised Covid-19 address, asked people who built or are cultivating along the Lake Victoria shores to vacate peacefully before the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) forces them out.
Museveni’s warning was based on his tour of the Kiira and Nalubaale power dams in Jinja whose power generation had been disrupted by floating islands that were swept into the hydropower dams by the increased water volumes running out of Lake Victoria.