“When I hear people complaining that our houses are being washed away by floods, I wonder! Floods have no eyes that when they are moving, they are looking for their homes. We are experiencing frequent flooding and loss of property, prolonged drought, drying of springs and wells because we have degraded our wetlands” – Minister of Water and Environment Sam Cheptoris (Irene Abalo Otto – ‘You’re to blame for devastating effects of floods, minister tells Ugandans’ 30.01.2020, Daily Monitor).
Some people shouldn’t quit their day-job, he should have continued with whatever he did before politics. Before he ever accepted the nomination and the opportunity to serve as an Minister in Government. Because your not cutting it, when your blaming the public for putting up structures. When your government clearly haven’t studied, gotten the public educated nor the ones allowing for the building to happen in the first place.
The reasons for the landslides aren’t only in wetlands, it is plenty of other reasons too. To much rain, to little safe areas and no education of the villages that get taken by the rain. Not like the public can just move and get shelter elsewhere. They got to get help and educated by the state. However, the state cannot afford, nor are they designing structures to resilience against the landslides nor the flooding in general.
That is the job of the Ministry and the ones involved in the Disaster Preparedness. Even with some help from the Office of the Prime Minister should help to resolve something too. But, it is much easier to throw the people under the bus.
I will quote one study, just to prove the ignorance of the presiding Minister.
PLOS Research Article from 2016 states this: “This study reveals that failure to overcome the effects to landslides and floods in disaster prone communities of Uganda are mainly due to deep rooted links to poverty, culture and unsatisfactory knowledge. Good farming practices and support from the government and implementation partners were shown to be effective in enabling the community to resist the effects disasters. This calls for support in designing more focused interventions targeting reduction of these underlying factors as well as involvement of all stakeholders in scaling the effective coping strategies in order to build resilience in this community and other similarly affected areas” (PLOS – ‘Coping Strategies for Landslide and Flood Disasters: A Qualitative Study of Mt. Elgon Region, Uganda’ 11.07.2016).
Since the study is about 4 years old, it is surely is relevant today. It shows the weaknesses in the stakeholders and within the government. That will all the occurring landslides and flooding, have not abided to it. They have not invested nor tried to comprehend the scale of an operation to help the ones in need nor build the strategies for resilience. It is easier to pin the people who build structures, than the ones who allow them and the ones who earn funds on building it.
The Minister should consider that. Not expect it. Since he could easily say this today. He might say something similar tomorrow. Peace.