Ugandan MPs have demanded that all buildings erected in wetlands around Kampala are demolished, noting that these have caused unprecedented fatal flooding in the city.
The MPs’ remarks were in response to a statement by the Minister of State for Kampala Capital City Authority, Benny Namugwanya on the state of flooding in Kampala City and its suburbs.
In her statement, the Minister said that eight people are believed to have lost their lives in the areas of Kikajjo, Lubowa and Lufuka all located in Masajja and Bunamwaya divisions and over 500 households were affected by the floods of 26th May 2019.
The Minister pointed out that major causes of flooding in Kampala are; Illegal developments and encroachments on drainage reserves, filling of wetlands and low-lying areas of flood plains with soil, poor solid waste management practices by communities and inadequate drainage infrastructure.
She identified flood prone areas as Ntinda Industrial Area, Kyambogo, Banda Moil Petrol Station, Banda Petrol, Nabweru road next to Kawempe division, Lumas Road Kanyanya and Kawaala.
Kawempe South MP, Latiff Ssebagala warned that the day Kampala will experience three straight days of rain, no one will be able access the city because all entry points to the city are flooded and called for compensation of all encroachers so as to save Kampala.
“If we look at issue of compensation so we expand drainage areas, the better. Until KCCA addresses issue of garbage collection, other methods will be dropped,” Ssebagala said.
Andrew Kaluya, the Kigulu County South MP warned that floods in Kampala can’t be looked at on levels of drainage alone but the whole physical plan of the city.
“Kampala is growing at fast rate, but we are doing it the wrong way. We need to look at Kampala beyond 30-50years if everyone is building how they want,” Kaluya said.
Elijah Okupa (Kasilo County) argued that Parliament wouldn’t be discussing Kampala floods if those responsible had done the work and when former KCCA Executive Director, Jennifer Musisi wanted to organise the city, there are those who thought they’re untouchable and know which button to press and fought her.
He also mocked residents in Mbale, Soroti and Masaka who have protested missing out on city status bonanza noting; “I pity people who have been crying they want cities yet they have even failed to organise the main city.”
Bunya county East MP, Waira Majegere weighed into the debate arguing: “When they’re (KCCA) giving away these wetlands they don’t call us. Now they are seeking for political help. NEMA leaves wetland in Banda and goes to villages. NEMA can’t give total acreage of wetlands in Uganda because they want to use that to give out wetlands.”
Bunyole West’s James Waluswaka protested the proposal to have wetland enchroachers compensated and blamed the failure by authorities to seek expertise of hydraulic engineers when designing drainage systems noting.
“I propose that all these illegal structures be demolished; let NEMA and KCCA officials be arrested. There is a scandal where people are involved. UPDF and Police should come and evict these people. The issue of compensation; why do you compensate people who encroached (on wetlands)? We are tired of this foolery,” he said
Namugwanya however said that a new Kampala Drainage Master Plan was completed in December 2017 and it entails details of all flow construction in the Kampala drainage system and the master plan recommends structural measures such as construction of new drains and crossings.