President Museveni has said the devastating calamities in the areas of Elgon and Rwenzori that saw over 30 people dead was as a result of the occupants being defiant.
These losses, on account of floods and landslides, are mainly due to the “mistake of insisting on settling (living) in areas that logic and God did not intend for human habitation.”
Museveni in his condolence message maintained that all people in such areas should accept resettlement as “we have done with the previous Bududa victims that are now settled in Bulambuli.”
He said those cultivating in the wetlands should accept “our plan of changing to fish-farming as we have done in Limoto wetland, Pallisa District.”
“These are the wetlands (ebisaaru, entobazi, emigga, mbalama, emyegyego ennyanja, swamps, wetlands, river-banks, and lakeshores) and steep mountains of 31-32% gradient or more than that.”
Museveni said government might consider cash compensation instead of the protracted process of resettlement as a way of speeding up the resettlement process.
“In order to expedite the evacuation of threatened People, we may have to look at only cash compensation instead of the protracted process of resettlement which involves the allocation of planned farms, permanent houses, etc. as seen here below in Bulambuli,” he said.
“With cash, People can, then, go and fend for themselves. The swamps and steep mountains are not for crops and human settlements (amaka). The swamps are for water, ebigugu (cyperus latifolia) and papyrus (cyperus papyrus). Undisturbed swamp water is for irrigation and the swamp grasses are for mulching (okwarira) crops.”
The president vowed to “intensify” the campaign for the Environment Resettlement fund so that those who were misled by the Government to go to the wetlands in the 1960s are compensated to get out.
“The recent encroachers should simply get out,” he added.