Court orders Godfrey Amooti Nyakana off the Bugolobi wetland.
The Supreme Court has ordered the Kampala Central division mayor Godfrey Amooti Nyakana off the Bugolobi wetland.
In a majority ruling of 6-1, the judges led by chief justice Bart Katureebe ruled that the said wetland directly drains into Lake Victoria which is of great economic and ecological importance to not only Uganda but to the whole region of East Africa.
The Judges also dismissed Nyakana’s claims that his house was demolished without NEMA giving an opportunity to defend himself and also that he is discriminated upon as other people have been allowed to develop wetlands.
However, the judges said Nyakana ignored the opportunity to challenge the eviction order by NEMA in court with in the stipulated time and instead went a head to construct in the said wetland, also adding that it shows NEMA’s failure to do its work, to allow other people develop wetlands.
The Supreme court further emphasized the govt’s duty to guarantee a clean and healthy environment for the community and ignore such individual and selfish interests.
Nyakana was ordered to pay costs to Attorney General and NEMA for both the Constitutional court where he first lost the battle and in the Supreme court.
Commenting on the ruling, Venex Watebawa the Team leader of Environmental journalists under their umbrella Water and Environment Media Network Uganda (WEMNET) has described the ruling as a century achievement which sets a good precedent.
“This should send a Red Flag to who ever has encroached on wetlands and abused the environment, I am glad that court has attached costs for the damages he has caused to mother nature” said Venex.
He has further urged journalists to proactively continue investigating and exposing such environmental abuses a party of a bigger strategy to conserve the environment.
By Christine Nabatanzi