Masaka: Nema Wins Case On Wetland Encroachment

The land in contention

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has won another landmark case in Masaka High Court that had pitted environmental restoration against individual property rights.

In 2005, medications as part of the restoration exercise for Nakayiba wetlands in Masaka District, viagra 60mg NEMA served restoration orders and vacation notices to people who were occupying the wetland, unhealthy after which environment inspectors carried out restoration activities.

Later In 2013, a one Hajjat Safina Nakityo, through her lawyers, Rwakafuzi & Company Advocates, sued NEMA seeking for compensation for the activities which were carried out on the wetland and alleged that she was not accorded a fair hearing and deprived a right to property.

Among others, the plaintiff sought an order requiring the defendant (NEMA) to pay damages arising from anguish  and compensation relating to the value of the her house which had been demolished in the restoration exercise.

While delivering Judgement on 9th December, Masaka High Court Judge John Eudes Keitirima, ruled that the plaintiff was merely an encroacher in the wetland of Nakayiba and NEMA was justified to treat her as such.

Justice Keitirima also ruled that the defendant (NEMA) is a government Agency with no powers to acquire other people’s land compulsorily, noting that neither the constitution nor the National Environment Act (NEA) makes provision for that.

On this note, court further clarified that, all wetlands belong to the people of Uganda, and are held in trust by the government of Uganda and wondered how the defendant had compulsorily acquired what was being held by the government of Uganda.

Consequently, Court ruled that, the plaintiff failed to prove her case, and dismissed the suit with costs to NEMA. Nakayiba wetland serves as the main water supply for Masaka Municipality.


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