Uganda has ordered all its citizens to vacate wetlands and forest reserves but will allow investors who had set up factories to operate in the meantime because they were misled.
Finance Minister Matia Kasaija said the government is allowing the investors to occupy the catchment areas because they could have been unaware they are protected areas.
“If those [investors] were misled, they will be tolerated because they were not told from the word go, but those [locals] who went there [wetlands] having been warned are the ones we are targeting,” he said.
He made the remarks while unveiling the International University of East Africa as the venue for the upcoming East African Food security symposium and expo scheduled for October 14 to 16.
The government’s move against wetlands encroachment is due to pollution, which is taking a toll on Lake Victoria and other water bodies, Mr Kasaija said.
In July, the government removed rice on an estimated 30-acre wetland in Otuke District in northern Uganda to dissuade farmers from cultivating in catchment areas.
President Yoweri Museveni had ordered all encroachers out of wetlands in January..