Dr. Abed Bwanika Among Evicted Lwengo Wetland Encroachers

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In short
Two time Presidential candidate and party leader Dr. Abed Bwanika is among the top wetland encroachers in Lwengo district.

Dr. Abed Bwanika, the People’s Development Party president is among more than 300 wetland encroachers who were forcefully evicted last week in Lwengo district.
The eviction was carried out by environment officers backed by police. Encroachers were evicted from Kyoja wetland, Kyaruubu wetland and Kamenyamiggo wetland.
During the eviction, gardens of cabbages, tomatoes, onions, Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, green peppers, banana plantations, eucalyptus and coffee plantations were destroyed.
Dr. Abed Bwanika, the former Presidential candidate, had encroached on several acres of Kingo-Kimwanyi wetland. 
Mary Namulema, the Lwengo district Environment Officer said that these encroachers whose gardens were destroyed had been given a notice in 2012 to stop cultivating in the wetlands. Many chose to ignore the order and plant again.
Augustine Kaggwa, one of the enforcement officers said they were hunting for Dr. Abed Bwanika, the two time presidential candidate for illegal cultivation of the environment.
Willy Panuha, the Greater Masaka Region Environment Police Commander said most of the encroachers fled their homes for fear of arrest. He however says they are documenting them for prosecution.
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However Dr. Abed Bwanika could not be reached for a comment. He did not pick or return our calls.
But some of the other affected have complained that they asked for extension of the eviction notice which has not been honoured. Musa Bukenya, who had encroached on at least one acre of Kyaruubu wetland, said he had planted cabbage, tomatoes and green peppers into the wetland because of the dry spell.
Bukenya looked on and broke down when enforcement officers destroyed all his crops planted in the wetland.
Isabirye said it was important to clear wetlands of encroachers because they are important. He explained that due to degradation of the wetlands and mountains around the country, the climate had changed for the worse.=
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Encroachers were forced to raid wetlands in greater Masaka region following the persistent dry spell. Some of the most affected wetlands are River Bukoola, River Kyerwa, River Kagera, Sango Bay wetland. Others are Nakayiba wetland, Lake Nabugabo wetland, and Lweera.


About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.