FORT PORTAL, UGANDA: Fort Portal city authorities have asked the Director of Public Prosecution-DPP to prosecute a private developer for erecting an illegal structure along the banks of River Mpanga.
Philemon Asiimwe is accused of grading and dumping soil in the river. The developer plans to construct a washing bay, cottages, and a fuel station along the river bank.
According to a letter written by the Fort Portal City Clerk Moses Otimong to the State Attorney Fort Portal City, the authorities want Asiimwe prosecuted for repeatedly and adamantly refusing to adhere to the Physical Planning Act.
“Asiimwe Philemon has been found to have encroached on River Mpanga banks and built a permanent structure without permission from the relevant authorities which is potentially disastrous to the environment.
John Bosco Rusoke, the Deputy City Clerk Fort Portal says the illegal activities by the developer are leading to heavy pollution and degradation of the major water source in the area. He also says that the developer has gone ahead to intimidate council authorities.
Samuel Musana, the Fort Portal City Physical Planner says that the construction of the structures by the developer was not approved. He says that they are waiting for a response from the State Attorney.
Edson Ruyonga, the Fort Portal City Mayor accused a section of the technical staff of approving construction in protected areas.
He says that it was embarrassing and shocking to find a number of permanent structures along the river banks and wondered how they were constructed in the presence of an enforcement office.
Asiimwe could not be reached for a comment.
For several years, River Mpanga’s flow and quality has been severely affected by human activity. Encroachment, sand and stone extraction, poor agricultural practices, and pollution have taken their toll and reduced its flow.
The pollution of the river has also affected the quality of water supplied to Fort Portal residents.
In 2019, the King of Tooro, Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV, launched the “Save River Mpanga Now” campaign that was aimed at conserving the water body. The local communities and several Non-Governmental Organizations-NGOs also joined hands to halt the devastation of the river.
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