papyrus plants was firm and dry. The destruction of the wetland was carried out so a rose farm owned by a fabulously wealthy businessman could be expanded.
The area on Lake Victoria's Lutembe Bay was deemed to be of international importance under an international convention on wetlands but, asked by activists to intervene, Uganda's environmental protection agency instead sided with industry, saying any damage inflicted upon the wetland didn't match the economic benefits of exporting more flowers.
The authorized encroachment on Uganda's Lutembe Bay wetland, a site that protects Lake Victoria's fragile ecosystem, highlights a growing conflict between business and the environment as African countries strive for economic development. Although Africa's endangered forests have attracted a lot more attention from campaigners, some experts say wetlands across the continent are suffering a similar —if not worse —fate, often because their value to human wellbeing is underestimated or not understood at all.
In the Ugandan case, the business decimating a wetland is owned by Ugandan tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia, who, according to Forbes magazine, is the richest man in East Africa and one of Africa's wealthiest people. He is widely believed to be close to Uganda's political elite, circumstances that have contributed to concerns that his expansion project was approved under dubious circumstances.

"I think this is corruption of the highest order," said Frank Muramuzi, an activist with the National Association of Professional Environmentalists, a local watchdog group. "That kind of thing is not allowed in the wetland. But it is not too late. We want to take them to court."
Some activists say Uganda's environmental protection agency, which in the past has rejected or condemned wetland violations on this scale, simply succumbed to the power of big business this time. Uganda's flower industry makes millions of dollars in exports to Europe each year.

Experts say the wetland along Lutembe Bay supports globally threatened species of birds, fish and butterflies, including some rare ones. It also plays a crucial hydrological role, with the swamps "acting as natural filters for silt, sediments and excess nutrients in surface run-off, wastewaters from industries, and sewage from Kampala City," according to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, a global treaty that promotes the wise use of wetlands and which lists those deemed to be of international importanceThe Ramsar Convention says that, although more wetlands are being designated for protection across Africa, protecting these sites "remains a challenge." A report last month by the

convention's secretariat said that "Africa shows an urgent need to define a strategy" for conserving its wetlands and their resources.
The world's wetlands "are being degraded and lost more rapidly than other ecosystems ... because their functions are not always understood by governments or given enough weight in policy decisions," said Achim Steiner, the United Nations undersecretary-general and executive director of its environment program, in a statement last month.
The U.N. Millennium Ecosystem Assessment years ago estimated the global value of wetlands at $15 trillion, for functions that include climate regulation and the provision of food and water.
Neighboring Kenya's wetlands are also facing serious degradation and decline from pressures including agriculture and land fragmentation, according to a statement last month from the U.N.'s environment program. Kenya's Lake Naivasha, for example, has seen declining water levels due to competition from expanding flower farms.
To stem the damage, Kenya has now produced a "Wetlands Atlas," a compilation of the country's wetlands and their challenges as part of a wider government plan to preserve the integrity of the country's water resources.
"Despite (wetlands) role in sustaining livelihoods we are seeing severe pressures," Judi W.

Uganda is a multilingual country. Forty of its living indigenous languages[1] fall into three main families - Bantu, Nilotic, and Central Sudanic - with another 2 languages in the Kuliak family. English, inherited from the colonial period, and Swahili, which is regionally important, are official languages. There is also a Ugandan Sign Language.
In all of the Bantu speaking areas of Uganda, dialect continua are very common. For example, people around Mbarara in Ankole District speak Nkole and people from Fort Portal in Toro District speak Tooro, but in the area between those towns one will find villages where most of the people speak a dialect which is best characterized as intermediate between Nkole and Tooro. In recognition of the closeness of four of these languages (Nkole, Tooro, Kiga, and Nyoro), and in order to facilitate work in them such as teaching, a standardized version called "Runyakitara" was developed around 1990.
In south central Uganda, the Bantu languages of Luganda and Soga are largely interintelligible.
Of Nilo-Saharan, the Eastern Sudanic branch is well represented by several Nilotic languages, eastern as well as western. Eastern Nilotic languages include Karamojong of Eastern Uganda (370,000), the Bari languages in the extreme northwestern corner (about 150,000), and Teso south of Lake Kyoga (999,537). Alur (459,000), Acholi, Lango, Adhola

Language policy
In Uganda, as in many African countries, English, the language of the colonizing power, was introduced in government and public life by way of missionary work and the educational system. During the first decades of the twentieth century, Swahili gained influence as it was not only used in the army and the police, but was also taught in schools. The Ganda viewed the introduction of Swahili as a threat to their political power and partly through their influence, English remained the only official language at that time. Upon Uganda's independence in 1962, English was maintained as the official language, as it was already rooted deeply in administration, media, and education. Also, Uganda's ethnolinguistic diversity made it difficult to choose another language as the official language of Uganda.

After independence there were efforts to choose an indigenous official language, with Swahili and Luganda as the most considered candidates. Although Luganda was the most geographically spread language, people outside Buganda were opposed to having it as a national language,[2] as were those of the Buganda kingdom because they felt other tribes' mispronunciation and grammar errors would ruin their language. English remained the official language

official languages. There is also a Ugandan Sign Language.
In all of the Bantu speaking areas of Uganda, dialect continua are very common. For example, people around Mbarara in Ankole District speak Nkole and people from Fort Portal in Toro District speak Tooro, but in the area between those towns one will find villages where most of the people speak a dialect which is best characterized as intermediate between Nkole and Tooro. In recognition of the closeness of four of these languages (Nkole, Tooro, Kiga, and Nyoro), and in order to facilitate work in them such as teaching, a standardized version called "Runyakitara" was developed around 1990.
In south central Uganda, the Bantu languages of Luganda and Soga are largely interintelligible.

Of Nilo-Saharan, the Eastern Sudanic branch is well represented by several Nilotic languages, eastern as well as western. Eastern Nilotic languages include Karamojong of Eastern Uganda (370,000), the Bari languages in the extreme northwestern corner (about 150,000), and Teso south of Lake Kyoga (999,537). Alur (459,000), Acholi, Lango, Adhola language and Kumam language of eastern Uganda are Western Nilotic Luo languages (Acholi and Lango are interintelligible, and sometimes the term "Luo" is used to cover them).

Uganda is a predominantly Christian country with a significant (about 12%) Muslim minority. The Northern and West Nile regions are dominated by Roman Catholics and Iganga District in the east of the country has the highest percentage of Muslims.[2] Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Uganda Constitution but religions are expected to be registered with the government and some religions considered cults are restricted. The Catholic Church, the Church of Uganda, Orthodox Church, and the Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) are registered under the Trustees Incorporation Act and most other religious groups are registered yearly as Non-Government Organizations.[2]
Good Friday, Easter Monday, Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, and Christmas are recognized national holidays.[2]
The National Census of October 2002 resulted in the clearest and most detailed information yet gathered on the religious composition of Uganda.