Tuesday, February 14, 2017

#Uganda #BududaLandSlides blamed on judiciary, corruption

The state minister for Environment has blamed the Judiciary for the death of 365 people in 2010 Bududa District mudslides and warned that Uganda risk losing its flora and fauna should court continue to issue irresponsible injunctions based “on feelings”
Dr Goretti Kitutu, yesterday said that judicial officers side with encroachers whenever agencies such as National Environment Management Authority (Nema) and Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) try to enforce the law by issuing court injunctions.
Citing a court injunction in 2010 stopping UWA from evicting encroachers who had evaded the steep slopes of Mount Elgon National Park, Dr Kitutu, then working with Nema as an environment systems specialist, said such deaths would have been avoided had the court listened to Nema and Uwa.
“A community had evaded a national park and then they go to court and you people as usual you sympathy with them put a court injunction on UWA allowing the community to go cultivate on the slopes,” Dr Kitutu said.
“And when 52 millimeters of rainfall came for two days, we had a disaster…villages were wept out and only 8 people survived, and they are tramautised up today,” she said at a training of judicial and officers of the directorate of public prosecution in Entebbe, Wakiso District.
The latest court injunction against Nema was in December last year, when the Land Division of the High Court issued an interim order temporarily stopping NEMA from evicting over 400 residents of Namataba and Kito villages in Wakiso. Nema alleges that residents encroached on a forest reserve.
The interim order is in place until May 31.
“These are the things we are telling you. Listen to us…. We need to work as a team,” Dr Kitutu added.
Judiciary Public Relations Officer Elias Omar Kisawuzi told this paper that the judiciary has received many complaints about court injunctions and proposed that an depth analysis be done to ascertain their worthiness
“Injunctions have become very controversial. They are two edged. Good for one seeking them but bad for the other [against].We need to study them and see if we need to review the concept of court injunctions,” Mr Kisawuzi, said.
Mr David Ndamurani, the Ag assistant director of Public Prosecution, Mbale regional office asked the Dr Kitutu, also Woman MP Manafwa District to expedite amendments on National Environmental Act to provide stringent measures against wildlife traffickers.
“Our experience over time when it comes to environment crimes is quiet weak. The punishment under our current laws is petty. That is why you may find that traffickers in Kenya will find it easy to do their trade here,” Ndamurani said at the training.
Minister blames Bududa mudslide deaths on Judiciary

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