Local governments and their compliance with the wetland policy in Uganda: a case study of Kampala City Council
Muhindo, Eseri Ngene
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In order to investigate if there has been any compliance to wetland policies in local Governments in Uganda, I conducted research on local Governments taking Kampala District as the case in point. Five Divisions in the city were selected as the sample to assess their extent of compliance to wetland laws/policies. To make this assessment the general objective was to assess the extent to which Kampala City council had complied with the environment laws more so with regard to the National Wetland policy. Specifically the study was to examine the obtaining national wetland management policies and regulation in Kampala, assess the extent to which Kampala city council had implemented the wetland policies/laws in its area of jurisdiction, examine the current status of wetlands in the Kampala local Government and find out the level of awareness about the existing laws on wetland management and conservation in the study divisions. The findings and the recommendations of the study were done as Kampala was being prepared for a metropolitan status, thus the reason that all the references focus on the Kampala City council. Qualitative and quantitative data was generated for the research which helped to provide an informed and in depth description of events about the status and usage of wetlands and the compliance with the existing wetland policies and regulations. Results of this research indicate that there has been considerable abuse to the wetlands and the policies in place are never followed. The research findings indicate that the National Policy for the conservation and management of wetland resources is not conclusive and the gaps are pointed out in the findings. The findings also indicated that the local governments have not upheld the principles of the policy and the specific policy strategies were not followed. The guidelines provided for wetland resource developers were neglected by local authorities thus the lack of compliance. It was found out that there was a lot of political patronage and as such in the near future there may be no wetlands in the district of Kampala. The study therefore suggested that Government should stop meddling in the wetland management and leave the enforcement officers do their work properly. Further the study recommends for increased Government funding to wetland conservation Agencies/Bodies. It’s the recommendation of the study that laws on wetlands be interpreted in local languages and be made readily available to people. The study further suggests the need to have the laws more punitive than they appear today and also to call for team work in the wetland law enforcement efforts. The entire population should be used to police one another on matters of environmental protection and conservation. The study also recommends that the wetland in the city and the country at large be gazetted and demarcated if wetland laws are to be well implemented by all the implementing agencies. It was the recommendation of the study that the conservation and protection of wetlands should not be left to a few agencies like KCC or NEMA but should be a concern for every citizen of this country.