By Weswa Ronnie
National Environmental Management Authority NEMA has banned crude waragi distillation at Musoto, a Mbale City suburb found in Industrial Division.
This follows the body’s renewed efforts at recovering encroached wetlands following the Presidential directive.
Charles Wakube, the Mbale District Environmental Officer who led the NEMA team yesterday, Thursday 22nd September, 2022 said that they banned the distillation of waragi in Musoto as one of the continued activities of recovering the wetlands since the area of operation is in a wetland.
He adds that they advised the distillers operating in the area to have proper disposal of residues from molasses but they refused but instead continued pouring the residues into Nasibiso stream which is used by people and Mbale Industrial Park.
Wakube adds that these residues are poisonous to aquatic animals and the environment which forced them to stop the operation with immediate effect.
Denis Pahani, the Northern City Police Commander in Mbale city who led the operation says that they are ready to arrest anybody who will defy the directive of NEMA.
He urged them to opt for alternative activities like farming, riding boda boda, business among others such that they can earn a living since their main source of income has been closed.
Over 2,000 people from Lango and Acholi in 1990s fled from their homes to Musoto located at Industrial city division in Mbale city due to the Lord’s Resistance Army Rebel insurgency led by Joseph Kony.
These people after settling, started carrying out waragi distillation as their main income generating activity which they have been doing up to date.
Stella Akello and Beatrice Atara, both residents who have been operating in the area, have expressed their dissatisfaction saying the government should have given them a grace period before stopping their activities.
They add that they have lots of responsibilities like educating children, paying rent among others but since they have stopped their work, this is going to promote insecurity amongst youths and prostitution as a way of surviving.