NEMA Accused of Not Protecting Vital Wetlands
By Serestino Tusingwire
Parliament’s Natural Resources Committee has faulted the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) for failing to carry out its supervisory role over wetland degradation.
The committee was reviewing the lapses in supervision that led to a number of companies degrading a series of wetlands due to uncontrolled sand mining.
A number of companies among them Lwera Sand miners, Aqua world and Capital Investments have in recent weeks come under intense scrutiny over their activities in a major water catchment area along the Kampala- Masaka highway, Lwera wetland
As NEMA came under the spotlight over its management of wetlands, its Executive Director, Tom Okurut accused the companies instead.
“The companies we license to do specific works in wetlands end up contravening the terms in their licenses, so they are the ones to blame.” Okurut said.
However MPs questioned what they saw as preferential treatment being given to Aqua World, a company owned by renowned Pastor Samuel Kakande of the Synagogue church of all nations.
Another company, Mango Tree which had a license to construct a ship at Kawuku in Wakiso district was also found to be exclusively involved in sand mining
NEMA officials conceded some laxity on their part in the failure to properly supervise the companies in question but they blamed their own failures on under-staffing.