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    Residents Decry Sudden Demolitions on Lubigi Wetland

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    Residents Decry Sudden Demolitions on Lubigi Wetland
    • June 12, 2024 • 1 month ago
    in summary
    NEMA's eviction of residents from the Lubigi wetland in Nansana has sparked outrage due to inadequate notice and the destruction of homes. The controversy highlights the need for better urban planning and human relocation policies in Uganda.

    In a dramatic and heart-wrenching turn of events, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has been executing evictions and demolitions on the Lubigi wetland in Nansana, Wakiso District.

    The operation, targeting illegal structures, has sparked outrage and highlighted significant issues related to urban planning and land rights.

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    The controversial demolitions have left many families homeless, with residents accusing NEMA of failing to provide adequate notice and time to vacate their homes. The destruction has exposed not just the personal losses of the residents but also the broader challenges of land management and urban development in Uganda.

    Among the most affected was retired soldier Captain Williams Ssempebwa, who returned from a trip to find his home reduced to rubble.

    "I was away attending to other matters in Kiboga, and now I find myself homeless without any warning,"

    Capt Ssempebwa, visibly distraught. His experience reflects a common sentiment among the displaced residents who feel blindsided by the abrupt enforcement of eviction orders.

    John Wasswa, a lawyer whose home was also demolished, challenged the legality of the operation.

    "If you think you have power, then put this house down because you did not inform me," he stated

    Defiantly before being forcibly removed from his house by soldiers. Wasswa's stance underscores the legal and ethical questions surrounding the evictions.

    The evictions are part of NEMA’s efforts to reclaim and protect the Lubigi wetland, which has been encroached upon by illegal settlements.

    NEMA's Executive Director, Barirege Akankwasah, defended the operation, stating,

    "This is not a surprise eviction. We have repeatedly warned the settlers that they are on protected land."

    However, the residents argue that the warnings were insufficient and that they were given no real opportunity to find alternative housing.The plight of the displaced families raises critical issues about the effectiveness and humanity of urban planning policies in Uganda.

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    Many of the affected residents invested their life savings into building their homes, often acquiring land through informal transactions that they believed to be legitimate.

    The sudden demolitions have not only rendered them homeless but have also thrust them into a state of economic and emotional despair.

    The public argue that the situation highlights the need for more comprehensive urban planning that includes clear communication and support for those affected by such policies.

    "The government needs to establish better systems for notifying and relocating residents who are affected by urban development projects," said urban planning expert Sekyanzi Robert. "We must balance environmental protection with the rights and livelihoods of our citizens."

    As the evictions continue, the affected residents are hoping for compensation or relocation assistance from the government. The ongoing crisis in Nansana serves as a stark reminder of the complex interplay between environmental conservation and human habitation, calling for more nuanced and humane approaches to urban planning and land management in Uganda.

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