More arrest is being carry to cover rot in wetland

War erupted between investor and Gulu City Authority fortnight ago, as Investor forcefully deployed heavy personal security guards hired to protect workers constructing petrol stations in Pece wetland.

Counter accusation mounted between former Gulu District Chairman, Martin Ojara Mapenduzi and the current Acholi Parliamentary Groups Chairman Okot John Amos who rust to quell mob justice surrounding Investor’s worker baying for their blood.

By Okumu Livingstone Langol-The Guardian News


Environmental Expert Analyst condemned the current Gulu City construction of petrol fuel station being erected in Pece stream wetland, calling it spillage will leak into wetland that will pose health risk to humans and is being caused by construction into wetland.

The Guardian News, asks Richard Komakech, environmental expert analyst emanating from the current construction in Pece stream wetland near Cynabell shopping mall, what is your take?

Komakech, argued as environmental expert analyst, I know most of the environment land demarcated in the wetland by putting pillar was done wrongly by Gulu City Authority, if these people who constructed petrol fuel stations outside the wetland, would have been okay.

Putting or constructing petrol fuel stations in the wetland is not possible because oil spillage affected the water echo system within the wetland.

The total entire Pece wetland system covers 1,027 hectares in the city, 55.9% of the total surface wetland area of Gulu City, the wetland run through the wards of Tegwana, Labwoc, Acoyo, Lagara, Lapainat west, Ibakara, Pece Prison and Vanguard

According to Komakech, the Environmental expert disclosed that out of total 1,836.4 hectares 37.3% are degraded, and 1151.2 hectares of 62.7% are intact.

“To me when I show the pillar being put as the boundary of wetland, the time they put the pillar was not proper. The wetland demarcation should not be put during the dry season, but should be put during the rainy season when the water is at its highest water mark.

I see a lot of flouting the law for them Gulu City Authority after flouting the law, they allowed this investor to do the construction, to me attributed it to greed, when we think of our future children, they will have problem in the future, to me that construction is not good, we are disobeying the law of God. Remember, the law of nature when a flood comes, the flood will teach them a lesson.” Richard Komakech commented.

Komakech castigated Gulu City Authority, insisting that they encroached on water catchment areas, from Cynibell shopping mall where the construction of petrol fuel station is taking place, opposite the place there washing bay, and when you move downstream 400 meter, there is workshop garage which is also in the wetland. And from downstream there is cultivation along in the wetland, cabbages and yam is planted along the Pece stream.

The construction of Toilet is mushrooming pesticide, Herbicide entering wetland and Biodegradation poses health risk to humans. In the future all the echo systems will change, things like lost habitats, migration of the living organism, aesthetic impossible (the beauty of the area will be lost, the life will be lost and those houses that you see being built within the bank of the wetland will collapse.

Added that human activities will disappear due to nature, the wetland might come back again and most of its inhabitants will be re-jubilated. In 2007 River Pager in Kitgum district it happened that flood affected and destroyed housing construction built in wetland, where many lives were lost when water came back to reclaimed it bank.

Disease claimed many lives, many people lost their lives, in 2022 during COVID-19 River Pologoma, between Mbale Butaleja burst its bank, many animals including cattle goats and sheep were drowning in River Pologoma. And also River Kafu flood claimed it, destroying areas of farm land along its bank.

Wetland turn violent as political hustling       

Chaos erupted in Gulu City on Sunday, March 24, as Chairman Acholi Parliamentary Groups and Gulu City Mayor raced to stop vehement mob of Gulu City dweller enclosed worker’s inside wetland construction baying for the worker’s blood, Black Star News on the side witnessed.

Okot Amos, who went as part of the rescue team to quell the situation, asked the construction workers to quit the construction site, demanding that the person who claimed to have bought the land had done bad to come camped with his private guard, including arms forces to occupied to begin work in the wetland.

“Whoever sold for you the wetland has done, it illegally, when Ojara Martin Mapenduzi who is on the side here telling us that the investor has gone more than ten meters inside wetland, do you think he is behind the land sales, we cannot allow investor to grabbed this wetland with impunity.” Acholi Parliamentary Groups Chairman Okot Amos warned.

My recommendation is that they are planting fuel tanks in the excavator hall where there is no concrete stone, and above all they are even offloading fueling the diesel into the tank which is on wetland, it’s very dangerous because the fuel can leak to the environment.

Whoever have issued the certificate to this wetland has done wrongly, as must as we are holding meeting tomorrow, we are going to be very diplomatically, as Acholi APG we are standing to protect our wetland, this very wrong, you cannot have moved with the all army to come and occupied this wetland, this wrong.”

Alfred Okwonga, the Mayor for Gulu City, the development you are seeing in my background is the development of construction of patrol station in the wetland, and this development is taking place in defiant, illegally, the development of Petrol station is illegally, in my filed and environmental officer we found out that the environmental officer in Kampala has given certificate wrongly, there is forgery , the coordinate saying that the construction is 100 meter away from the wetland, this is illegally, why did they go ahead to construct the petrol in the wetland.

When you see in the fuel tank, the water is covering it, and when it emerges in the water and they sacking it with water tank, and this you see it destruction of environment

Gulu City Council has not approved this construct development plan; they are going to do it legally the coordinate of this wetland is telling us that the construction is in the wetland

we need the Ministry of Environment to know this, I want the MD to know this, their name is being used. They should come here, why do they give certificates for construction, I want the Director of this construction and the side Engineer to come here at 8.00 Am tomorrow. I need the Minister of Environment to come and the Managing Director, their names are being used. I don’t know how they were influenced to issue certificates to this investor to construct petrol in the wetland.

As the City Council we have not approved the building plan of this construction in the wetland, in our Securitate with the Environmental City Officer we are seeing the coordinate 100 meter inside the wetland.

As the city Council we have not approved this building plan we are going to do everything perfectly. I want them to be here whoever issued the certificate of construction has done it wrongly. Community are demanding who issued the order for this construction must stop, I would not like any manipulation to be used, the law of this country must take cost, we welcome and body from this country

We have not approved the city plan with the City Environmental Officer, we are going to do everything to stop this illegal construction.

I want this construction to be stopped immediately, you cannot come to the wetland with full Army, the law must take its course, we are leaving Gulu City District Police Commander to take control, the investor must invest to close, follow the user cost, we welcome investors.

The accused Member of Parliament for Gulu City Layibi-Berdega Division Martin Ojara Mapenduzi denied the accusation, detailing that the former Gulu Municipality Council had issued a lease offer of 5 years to Palm oil in 2005, later Palm oil company then transferred its interest to Ash Oil Company in 2007, but the company also sold its interest to another Company, Energy Oil, now

More arrest is being carry to cover rot in wetland

Onen Richard, aka Apil, was arrested together with Otim Francis who is the Councilor IV of Kirombe Division but a Uganda Parliamentary Police officer was arrested to people on Tuesday, March 26, 2024. When investigation was carried on, the information finding was that Ojara Marine sent the Uganda Police Parliamentary to arrest the two.

“We are telling Ojara that if he wants to arrest people on no ground, we want to warns him, because if he is arrested those two people based of the sales of wetland, is baseless, “

Because those two people wrote in social media that Ojara sold the wetland to investors, we know that the land near Gulu Education Research Centre and land near TASO office, he even has three stories buking where the Chinese Company construction build for him for selling Ill to them many other plots in Gulu City was sold by Ojara the former Gulu District Chairman.

We know that the two people who are arrested because Otim and Onen Richard are running Lt. Gen. Otema Awany social media, what is wrong if the two people are running social media for the general Otema.

“From today I want to tell you that he is not monopoly in crimes, Ojara Martin grew up in the village is one of the people who came in Gulu City as displaced person, but for some of us we were born here and grew up here, we know the inside of how to course crimes more than him.”

After selling land, Ojara Martin has changed into witchcraft, in one of his rallies at Kweyo ward in Gulu City West, two sneaks appeared on top of the tree he was holding, and two sneaks fell from the tree.

Francis Otim, the Area Councilor Kirombe Bardege-layibi, who is also the chairman of work and social media in charge of wetland, said on Tuesday, March, 26, 2024. While he was attending a workshop at Churchill Court Hotel, he got the call from Onen Richard who was in Bomah Hotel.

He told me not to allow those people to interview him because Ojara Martin was trying to arrest him and Onencan, when he reached Bomah Hotel, when the people who he did not know started to interview him, he smelled the rat. So he decided to walk away, and when they were walking away. Eight police officers blocked their road to the gate leading out from Bomah Hotel.

“I told Onen that let us go out of this place, because you see the body myology of security forces, how their lips are and their eyes are red. I think that those people are bad guys.”

Two of them was arrested, their hands were chained and they were taken to Gulu Central Police Station, from there, he asked police why they were arrested, the parliamentary police told him that they have arrested him, because he Otim, after arresting Onencan, he will ring and alerted Gen. Otema, they police will be apprehended before crossing Karuma, Otim told media briefing at Acholi Inn Hotel in Gulu City.

On the following day I talk to Onencan, who told me that he was being detained at Uganda Parliament police station, and he was charged of creating malisons propaganda, and second charged was that he Onencan is on propaganda that Ojara Martin was being sales wetland in Gulu City and sales of land in Gulu City.

“The truth is the wetland was given land title in 2000 and in 2014 the wetland title expired, in 2014, Ojara Martin was the Gulu District Chairman, if the wetland is sold to investors, it was during his time when he was Gulu Chairman. Why did not come and faced me, Ojara also who think that he has monopoly of crimes, Ojara came here in Gulu City has displaced person, but for some of us we grew up in Gulu City, above all, I am the product of Raila Odinga revolutionary, if he was to faced me militarily let him come meet me, or if he is taking legal action I am ready to deal with Ojara in whatsoever, because since year 2020 he has been threaten me and I have all his text messages.”

The government targets to demarcate 5,000 kilometers of wetland boundaries across the country by 2026, a cumulative 2,096.4 kilometers already demarcated.

However, report from the Ministry of Water and Environment noted that whereas the country has registered an invasion of wetlands, a significant gain has been realized and it section has been restored

The ministry of Water and Environment stated that the government has ripe big in term of revenue through wetlands, report indicated that product-based livelihoods, such as fish, medicinal plants, fruits, and craft materials, contribute up to UXG 33 trillion to Uganda Gross domestic product (GDP)

The statistics from the same ministry reveal that while wetland coverage was estimated at 15.6 percent 37,000 square kilometers of the country’s total surface area by 1995, by the year 2015, 8.4 percent of 20,000 SG. Km of wetland surface coverage was lost. But wetland coverage had increased to 9.3 percent in 2020

80% of wetland is already destroyed, because of stone pitching which was done when concrete was put along the Pece wetland stream, which affected the wetland ecosystem.





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