Kyankwanzi district leaders are set to petition President Yoweri Museveni to intervene in the land wrangles that have left about 1,000 residents in Gayaza sub-county forcefully evicted from their ancestral land.
The affected residents from Kyerere North, Kyerere East, Kiyuni central, Kiryajobyo west, and Kibanda villages. They are feuding with Linda Nyakairima, the widow of the late Internal Affairs Minister Gen.Aronda Nyakairima who is alleged to have fraudulently acquired a title for the land measuring about 5 square miles.
On 19th February this year, over 10 graders and excavators started clearing the area destroying crops and over 30 soldiers have been deployed to guard the contested piece of land as the destruction of people’s crops is ongoing.
This was done despite the orders that were issued by the Minister of Land, Housing and Urban Development, Judith Nabakooba in October last year that stopped any further transactions on the land until investigations on the rightful owner are complete.
On February 20 this year, a team of Kyankwanzi district Officials held a meeting with the affected residents and expressed disappointment over impunity and lawlessness being used by armed personnel that are overseeing the destruction.
Dr. John Mpuuga, the district chairperson said the involvement of land’s minister has not yielded results and now they have no option but to petition the president.
“Ever since Minister Nabakooba came here, I have been closely following up the matter. I have given her office whatever document needed over the residents’ ownership. Even early this week, I was at her office but I am surprised that out of blue, the destruction took place. I will not sit. I am now going to meet the president himself to intervene,” Mpuuga said while addressing the residents
Joel Ssebikali, the Member of Parliament for Ntwetwe County wonders why the orders that were put by Minister for Land, Housing and Urban Development, Judith Nabakooba to stop any further transactions on the land until investigations are done were not followed by the security that spearheaded the eviction.
“It seems there are big people in this. This issue now beyond the district leaders and we need president’s intervention since the minister’s orders are irrelevant.
The Resident District Commissioner, Juuko Kasiita assured the residents that he will follow up the matter.
Leosam Sebalunzi, the LCIII Chairperson questions how the family of late Aronda Nyakairima acquired the land without the consent of the leaders. He says when they tasked the family to produce a title for the land, they were threatened by soldiers.
Linda Nyakairima could not be reached for comment.
More than 1,000 families in Gayaza sub-county Kyankwanzi District are facing forceful eviction from their ancestral land.
The affected families are from the villages of Kyerere North, Kyerere East, Kiyuni central, Kiryajobyo west, and Kibanda.
The residents are feuding with Linda Nyakairima, the widow of the late Internal Affairs Minister Gen.Aronda Nyakairima who is alleged to have fraudulently acquired a title for the land measuring about 5 square miles.
The residents say for long they have been threatened with forceful evictions from their ancestral land by Mrs. Nyakairima.
According to the residents, they have settled on the land since the 1940s and wonder how the family of late Aronda is claiming the land.
Trouble started on Saturday 19th February this year when over 10 graders and excavators started clearing the area; destroying garden crops including several acres of Banana plantations, beans, maize, mangoes, Cassava, coffee, Jack fruits, and rice planted by the residents.
More than 30 soldiers have been deployed to guard the contested piece of land as the destruction of people’s crops is ongoing. Access to the contested piece of land has also been restricted.
This compelled the aggrieved residents to protest by blocking all the roads leading to the land using tree branches, logs, and stones among others paralyzing business for several hours.
Racheal Kawala, the Wamala Region Police Spokesperson says that they rushed to the area after they received information that the aggrieved residents had blocked the Nkoko-Kiboga road.
According to Kawala, the land conflict between the family of the late Aronda and the locals has been on for a long time. She adds that the police are not in possession of any eviction order in the area.
“This land conflict has been on for so long and currently we don’t have any court order with us allowing any eviction to take place. We are also seeing what is taking place without our consent. We only rushed there to quell down the protest where the aggrieved residents had blocked the road not allowing anyone to go through; said Kawala.
Godfrey Walakira 60, one of the affected residents in Kyerere North village who was born and raised up on the land wants government of Uganda to intervene and investigate how Linda Nyakairima acquired the land title.
Retired Captain George Ssenyonyi who was born in 1951 says the situation is currently tense as people are left without food. He wants the Office of the Prime Minister to immediately intervene and halt the eviction.
Hannington Nsibirwa 50, a resident of Kiyuni central says several acres of his Banana plantation have been destroyed by the Graders. He wants the government to investigate circumstances under which soldiers have connived with late Aronda’s wife to forcefully grab their land.
Leosam Sebalunzi, the LCIII Chairperson questions how the family of late Aronda Nyakairima acquired the land without the consent of the leaders. He says when they tasked the family to produce a title for the land, they were threatened by soldiers.
In 2018, Linda Nyakairima, appeared and recorded a statement with the Commission of Inquiry into Land matters.
This was after, Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, the Chairperson of the Commission summoned her for questioning in relation to a piece of land that was bought by her late husband.
The commission then received complaints from several families in Kiboga district who were ordered to vacate a 640-acre private mailo land that Aronda, wanted to acquire for private investment.
The land was initially registered as a private Mailo property in the names of late Matayo Kidimbo Mpanga on March 9, 1931.
But the late Gen. Aronda reportedly paid Gideon Kibirango, who claimed to be the rightful owner of the land before Mpanga’s grandson Ibrahim Lumu contested the transaction.
Linda Nyakairima could not be reached for comment.
The boundary opening exercise for Bugoma forest in Kikuube district western Uganda has resumed.
This after the exercise was halted by the district security committee led by the Kikuube Resident District Commissioner, RDC Amlan Tumusiime after stakeholders complained that the boundary reopening team was not following the guidelines issued earlier.
The exercise kicked off on 17th February with the sensitisation of different stakeholders.
Led by Wilson Ogaro, the commissioner of surveys and mapping in Uganda’s Ministry of Lands, the team has embarked on receiving copies of documents from people who claim land ownership in the forest reserve.
The claimants submit their documents to the office the Chief Administrative Officer- Kikuube and Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom lands offices.
Ogaro asked stakeholders to send representatives to join the team of surveyors before the exercise kicks off.
Amlan Tumusime, the Kikuube RDC who chaired called on the stakeholders to support the exercise to ensure that the forest boundaries are opened.
John Apolo Rwamparo, the first Deputy Prime Minister Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom says the Kingdom will verify all documents from people who claim that the kingdom gave them land.
National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) has joined the rest of the World to mark the International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week of Action (24th-30th October) with a call on the Ugandan Government to impose a total ban on the use of lead paint.
This week of action is an initiative of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint (the Lead Paint Alliance), which is jointly led by the UN Environment Programme and WHO.
With this year’s theme, “Working together for a world without lead,” NAPE has partnered with local leaders to create awareness using Uganda Community Green Radio about the harmful effects of Lead poison and its exposure pathways including paints, batteries, lead contaminated toys and lead contaminated dust.
Peruth Atukwatse, the Project Manager for Chemicals management and climate change at NAPE says though World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified Lead in particular lead paint as one the chemicals of major public health concern, the government of Uganda has given little attention to its regulation and raising awareness about its effects to the public.
She explains that there is need to draft a regulation to ban the manufacturing and production of lead paint that exceeds lead concentration of 90 parts per million (ppm), increase on awareness campaigns and assess the quantity of lead put in paints by manufacturers.
Medih Kyakonye, the Kasanda District Environmental Officer and a student of PHD in Environmental Chemistry explains that Lead is a cumulative toxicant that affects brain, liver, kidney and bones. He says lead can affect a child’s brain development and nervous system and also causes anaemia, hypertension and toxicity of the reproductive organs.
He, however, notes that people are innocently exposed to lead poisoning because they are not sensitized enough to know the effects.
“The paint manufacturers add Lead in their paint to make it easy for the paint to dry quickly. These days almost every house is painted and that means every person in a painted house is exposed to Lead. Lead paint is worse in a newly painted house that is not dry as well as an old house with paint dust. But people are not aware of these dangers,” Kyakonye explains.
According to Kyakonye, the government has not done enough to protect the citizens. He said there should be clear laws to regulate toxic chemicals from flowing into the market for the safety of Ugandans. He says the local governments are not facilitated enough to raise awareness on lead poison yet the public needs to be protected.
“Like for us in Kassanda, our sensitization is focused much on mercury use since it its largely used in the gold mines but there is need to increase the district budget so that the public especially town dwellers who live in painted houses are sensitized on dangers of other harmful chemicals like Lead,” adds Kyakonye.
The Kiboga district Senior Environment Officer, Zaina Nakandi said the district is underfunded to carry out awareness campaigns on lead poison for public health. She also notes that lead poison is an issue that has not been given much attention because of the long term that effects take to manifest. She noted that people especially children who are most vulnerable since their bodies are still developing, need to be protected and this can only be done when parents are sensitized about the effects of Lead and its pathways.
“We need to sensitize the public because lead poisoning is a major public health concern but as the district, our hands are tied. That’s why we appreciate the efforts of NAPE for giving us the platform to sensitize people,” said Nakandi.
In 2017, NAPE with support from IPEN carried out a study on lead in solvent based paints for home use in Uganda aimed at assessing the levels of lead in paint produced in Uganda. It was found out that 20 out of 30 analysed solvent-based paints for home use (67% of paints) were lead paints. This means they contain lead concentrations above 90 parts per million.
Frank Muramuzi, the NAPE Executive Director, called upon the government of Uganda to join efforts with the rest of the world to eliminate lead paint by enforcing lead paint regulations and increasing public awareness campaigns about the health effects of lead exposure.
RELEASED BY NAPE’S CHEMICALS MANAGEMENT PROGRAMME
As COVID-19 pandemic ravages Ugandans, National Association of Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) has intensified the move to train Albertine reporters on health reporting and promoting public access to fact-based information during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The training was aimed at equipping journalists with essential skills to effectively serve as frontline workers during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
During the training, that was held at the radio premises in June, Julius Kyamanywa, Community Green radio station manager stated that the training is timely for the media sector to expose disinformation and misinformation related to the pandemic in Uganda.
“This training is timely and gives an opportunity to journalists to learn and avoid misinformation. It helps us learn to identify right sources of credible information”, he explained.
Professor Adolf Mbaine, a lecturer from Communications Department at Makerere University said journalists need to report on health based on facts and figures to avoid misleading the public.
“When you are equipped with facts and figures, you are good to go since you will be reporting from an authoritative point of view”, the Professor explained.
The training targeted journalists under the Albertine Journalists’ Platform (AJOP). AJOP was formed in March this year to build the capacity of rural journalists on reporting issues that affect communities.
AJOP, which is hosted by Community Green Radio, has over thirty radio journalists from radio in Hoima, Kibaale, Kagadi, Kakumiro, Buliisa and Kiboga.
Allan Kalangi, the Manager of the NAPE Sustainability Programme under NAPE says such trainings act as refresher courses for practicing journalists and enhances their capacity to serve communities better.
Kiboga District Woman Member of Parliament, Christine Kaaya Nakimwero on Saturday 5th. June handed over 200 tree seedlings to Community Green Radio as part of commemorations to mark the World Environment Day 2021. The handover of the trees took place at the offices of the radio in Kiboga.
While handing over the seedlings, the MP said she’s giving out tree seedlings as part of her commitment to environmental restoration and conservation.
“I chose to offer seedlings to organizations and community members as my personal contribution towards environmental conservation,” the MP explained.
The MP also said the choice of giving the seedling to the radio was based on the fact the radio is at the center of the community in the district and that the radio put environmental issues at the forefront in their programming.
“This radio has put environmental conservation as a priority in it programming. They are passionate about environmental issues and thus ideal partners in environmental conservation”, added Mrs.Nakimwero.
While receiving the seedlings on behalf of the radio, Julius Kyamanywa, the Station Manager appreciated the MP for the offer. He explained that as a radio, they will continue putting environmental issues on top of their agenda.
“We thank you honorable for considering us. As a radio and our mother organization the National Association of Professional Environmentalists, NAPE shall continue offering a platform for discussion on environmental issues”, Kyamanywa explained.
World Environment Day is celebrated annually on 5 June and is the United Nations‘ principal vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of the environment. First held in 1974, it has been a platform for raising awareness on environmental issue such as marine pollution, human overpopulation, global warming, sustainable consumption and wildlife crime. World Environment Day is a global platform for public outreach, with participation from over 143 countries annually. Each year, the program has provided a theme and forum for businesses, non-government organizations, communities, governments and celebrities to advocate environmental causes.
The theme of this year’s World Environment Day is Ecosystem Restoration. Pakistan will act as global host of the day. World Environment Day 2021 will see the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.
Ecosystem restoration can take many forms: Growing trees, greening cities, rewilding gardens, changing diets or cleaning up rivers and coasts. This is the generation that can make peace with nature.
Micro plastics have been detected in Fish and water according to Noble Banadda a professor from Makerere University.
Professor Banadda says the study about Micro plastics is new and that the technology was not available until recently. Banadda says they detected the micro plastics during a study being conducted by Makerere University and the University of Cambridge.
In an interview with green radio Banadda said plastics take long to decompose but give off tiny materials measuring five millimeters.
He said these go into water and also contaminate fish and food.
Banadda says plastic pollution results in flooding and damage to coastal and marine ecosystems and is creating an unhealthy environment for local populations.
“Success will entail residents engaging in the separation of plastics from their regular waste as well as community members adopting better practices”, he said.
Banadda said many consumers are not aware how much plastic there may be in the personal care items they use daily on their faces and bodies.
The professor says from the plastic in packaging to the under-5mm micro plastics hidden within the products, including beads or glitters; they are designed to wash down the drain, travel through rivers and ultimately end up in the sea.
Banadda says Micro plastics are too small to be filtered out by waste treatment plants and attract waterborne toxins and bacteria that stick to their surfaces.
In addition to endangering marine life, the health implications of micro plastics on humans are not yet fully known, but considering their prevalence in clothes, food, water and cosmetics, are expected to be far reaching.
Tiny pieces of degraded plastic, synthetic fibers and plastic beads, collectively called micro plastics, have turned up in every corner of the planet.
Both micro plastics and these chemicals may accumulate up the food chain, potentially impacting whole ecosystems, including the health of soils in which we grow our food. Micro plastics in the water we drink and the air we breathe can also hit humans directly.
Micro plastics could be a last straw for species subject to pressures as chemical pollutants, overfishing and climate change.
The British high commission Kampala and Community Green Radio are collaborating on various projects aimed at conserving the environment. The two are currently running a project aimed at raising awareness on plastic recycling.
According to research, every year about 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the Oceans from coastal nations. While Uganda is not a coastal nation, it is linked to global waters through the river Nile.
Community Green Radio has thus started mobilizing communities through its various listeners clubs, to collect and come up with innovative ways of recycling plastics.
Community Green Radio Senior News Editor Ms. Precious Naturinda says the partnership will enhance the work of the radio and the National Association of professional Environmentalists, NAPE in their efforts towards environmental conservation.
“Our partnership with the British High Commission is timely. This will complement our efforts in empowering communities to take up the fight of environmental conservation,” Ms. Naturinda told this website.
Musisi Ndabirwamu, a member of Lwamata Community Green Radio listeners club, says the campaign on proper disposal and recycling of plastics by the radio has opened the communities’ eyes.
“As you can see our town is now clean and organized. Since the start of the radio campaign on plastics, our town is clean,” Musisi explained.
Musisi adds that plastics have always been littered all over the area since community members have considered them only as garbage with no associated long-term damage. But with the campaign, members have understood the dangers of plastic pollution and begun to find ways of managing them including value in them.
“I didn’t know that plastics could be of value but with this campaign, I’m beginning to see the value of plastics and the many uses they can serve,” Musisi explained.
Ms. Kengozi Janat the Secretary Lwamata Listeners’ club says recycling of plastics will help mitigate adverse effects of climate change and help some members raise income.
“Plastics, if not managed well, end up in drainage channels and wetlands and pose a problem to soil productivity which affects farmers. With this campaign, we are going to mobilize our members to properly manage plastics but also make money through locally using these plastics,” Kengozi said.
Kayongo Godfrey, a resident of Kyekumbya village in Kyekumbya Sub County says he has been earning from collecting and selling plastics for many years.
“I have been collecting and selling plastics and selling them to companies in Kampala. I even export them to countries like Rwanda,” Kayongo explained.
Kayongo says the motivation to collect plastics was money and the desire to conserve the environment.
“At first I collected them because I was earning from them but later I realized it was also good in conserving the environment,” Kayongo added.
Kiboga District Senior Environmental Officer Ms. Nakandi Zainabu says the radio campaign on plastics will go a long way in supplementing government efforts of conserving the environment and improving livelihoods.
“The effort by the radio and their partner the British High Commission is a step in the right direction. As a government we highly welcome these efforts and shall support you,” Ms.Nakandi told Community Green Radio reporter.
National Environment Management Authority- NEMA reports indicate that about 51% of the plastic garbage in Kampala city is not collected and ends up in drainage channels, wetlands, natural watercourses, manholes, undeveloped plots and on the roadsides increasing vulnerability of many people to climate change induced impacts. In Uganda less than 5% of plastic is recycled.
To help raise awareness of the plastic problem in Uganda, the British High Commission along with other partners, is supporting an expedition around Lake Victoria of the world’s first 100% recycled plastic boat. Named Flipflopi because the plastic boat is covered in 30,000 flipflops, the team will sail around Lake Victoria in a campaign to raise awareness and engage key stakeholders in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania in the fight against plastic pollution. The campaign is an integral part of the Uganda Water and Environment Week (UWEWK) 2021 led by the Ministry of Water and Environment of Uganda through the Water Resources Institute.
The partnership with the British High Commission is meant to help publicise the voyage and bring the region’s attention to the need to conserve our waterways, protect livelihoods and save the environment. The expedition will include various stops around the lake with national events in each country, engaging key players and stakeholders.
Lake Victoria supports more than 40 million people and has been under increased pressure from the dramatic effects of climate change and pollution, which has severely impacted the lake and threatens the health and livelihoods of communities.
The covid-19 pandemic has also accelerated the need to address the environmental crisis, which can only be done through regional and global consensus on key issues. As plastic pollution continues to build at an alarmingly fast pace and East African nations continue to feel the effects of climate change, Flipflopi’s Lake Victoria expedition will be calling for action by governments, local communities, private sector and the international community to end unnecessary single use plastic and implement circular economy solutions and policies, to aid a green and sustainable recovery from the impacts of COVID 19.
STORY COMPILED BY JULIUS KYAMANYWA AND SAMUEL MUGABI
The outbreak and spread of COVID-19 pandemic has taken aback every individual world over.
In Uganda, the first corona virus case was reported in March 2020 and ever since, government set out strict rules to contain the spread of the virus across the country. Some of the measures include movement restrictions and a ban on gatherings.
Though such measures have incapacitated people socially and economically, the rural communities are becoming strengthened and resilient to the pandemic by coming up with their own community-centered solutions to slow down the spread and mitigate the impacts.
Some of the local partners of National Association Professional Environmentalists (NAPE) say they have been resilient to finding solutions amidst COVID-19.
Rev. Fred Musimenta, the Chairperson of Butimba sustainability Conservation Association in Butimba village in Kikuube district says the lock down and restrictions on access to markets and movements have incapacitated their efforts to earn income and this has dragged people into poverty.
“People have been selling their food to get some money. But now that the gatherings are suspended, the markets are closed and movements restricted; they have nowhere to sell to. They have been forced to sell within at very low prices,” he says.
He adds that, “BUSUCA has also been earning some income through selling tree seedlings and honey to local organisations and other community members. However, the buyers suspended buying since they have no money,”
Musimenta, however, says such challenges have hindered BUSUCA from carrying out their advocacy work and environmental conservation activities.
“We have learnt to live in the new normal, we still hold meetings of small numbers to sensitize people about their land rights and how they should use the COVID-19 lock down to grow more food to ensure food security at households. We have also decided to give out trees freely for people to use this lock down to plant trees to increase the forest cover,” he says.
On community health, Rev. Musimenta says they are living by examples in washing the hands and putting on masks. He says in addition to getting COVID messages on preventive measures from Community Green Radio, they are advising communities to come up with their own solutions other than waiting for the government to come in.
“NAPE gave us a hand washing water tank which we put at the office to teach communities how to wash hands and why we should wash hands. Community Green Radio has also played a big role in raising awareness in COVID prevention and people are putting it into actions. Away from that, we have told people to buy masks, emphasize hand washing using soap to prevent the virus,” he said.
Alice Kazimura, the Director of Kakindo Integrated Women’s Development Agency (KAWIDA) in Buliisa district says COVID lock down and displacements due to floods resulting from rising water levels on Lake Albert have fueled domestic violence.
“These two natural calamities have largely affected fishing which is Buliisa’s main economic activity. As a result people have become to poor and poverty goes along with domestic violence. Because of poverty, many families are breaking up with many women running to road construction workers in the area for money. So far we have 11 families have broken up since he lock down,” she says.
She says KAWIDA has partnered with the district officials and other local community based organisations to sensitize communities on domestic violence which has taken toll in the wake of COVID-19.
“We have sought permission from the Resident District Commissioner to allow us have small meetings of like 30 people to engage them on domestic violence. We are also carrying out radio talk shows in partnership with the district local government and other organisations to sensitize people. Since many people are at home; men, children and wives, sharing responsibilities has become a challenge,” she explains.
For people living in Kijayo camp for the Internally Displaced People, the COVID-19 pandemic has made life complicated since they depend on causal labor for their livelihood and food.
“This pandemic has taught us to understand that it’s only us who must get solutions to our own problems. The people we have been working for have no money. You either work for cheap labour or food. Some of us have decided to hire some pieces land to grow crops. Like me I hired some piece of land and planted cabbages that I have been eating and selling. I sometimes go to my disputed land and get some avocados which I also sell,” says Ms.Hariet Kemirembe, a resident in the IDP camp.
Kemirembe says being in the camp has not stopped people from embracing hand washing as a preventive measure to COVID-19. She says the hand washing water tank received from NAPE has helped them to emphasize hand washing before one accesses the camp.
The communities say the radio has played a big role in spreading messages from credible services like World Health Organisation and Ministry of Health translated in local languages and rising awareness on preventive measures.
As the country continues to fight the spread of COVID-19, the role of communities in responding to COVID-19 pandemic cannot be underestimated especially in designing their own solutions to the needs of communities at grassroots.
It’s disastrous to encroach on rivers, lakes and wetlands as stressed by the Executive Director National Association of Professional Environmentalists, NAPE Mr. Frank Muramuzi
VIDEO: Frank Muramuzi, an environmentalist on the way forward following the rising water levels of Lake Victoria. #NBSMorningBreeze #NBSUpdates #StaySafeUG
Posted by NBS Television on Tuesday, April 21, 2020