Residents Move to Block Further Giveaway of Botanical Garden Land

Entebbe Botanical gardens and UWEC partnership development. [Courtesy Photo/File].
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There is concern among Entebbe municipal residents on the allocation of part of the land hosting the Botanical Gardens to an investor.

This follows reports indicating that part of the 40 hectare of land hosting the Botanical gardens has been leased out to Meghani Sikander of Megha Industries on a 10-year lease for the construction of a sewage facility for Victoria Mall.

The Botanical gardens are situated close to the National Agricultural Research Organization and Victoria Mall in Entebbe. The gardens cover a 4-kilometre stretch on the shoreline of Lake Victoria.

The gardens hold up to 400 plant species among them medicinal trees with impressive flora and fauna suitable for hospitality, education and tourism. Megha Industries has constructed a septic tank measuring five meters wide, eight meters long and 20 meters deep adjacent to the southern part of Victoria Mall.

Meghani Sikander, the proprietor of Victoria Mall says the plan to construct the facility was approved by the Municipality and the National Agricultural Research Organization-NARO.

The development has drawn outrage from residents, saying this could be a ploy to allocate land to different investors to destroy the Botanical gardens, the only surviving natural resource.

Arafat Ssekawooya, the Lunyo West Councilor, says there is need for explanation from different stakeholders including the Entebbe Municipal Council leadership on why they approved plans to construct a sewerage facility in a historical site without consulting residents.

Richard Ssekajugo, another resident in Entebbe wants the authorities to stop any further developments on the land.

He condemns the municipality for approving the physical plan and clearing the investor to construct a sewerage tank in the gardens despite the availability of space within the boundaries of Victoria Mall.

The Entebbe Municipal Mayor, Vincent Kayanja told Uganda Radio Network that the construction of the sewerage facility in the gardens is justified by the ever increasing number of people frequenting Victoria Mall, which has a small septic tank.

The mall is visited by an average of 7500 people daily in Entebbe.

Sam Apedel, Spokesperson National Water and Sewerage Cooperation, says government is planning to construct a sewer line that connects to Victoria Mall to transport sewerage to a treatment facility so as to effectively manage the sewerage problem at the mall.

Ambrose Agona, the Director National Agricultural Research Organization, the institution mandated to take care of Botanical gardens, says the construction of the septic tank in the gardens is temporary and will be demolished.

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