Land Grabbers Use Lockdown to evict Kassanda Residents

Kassanda District Chairman Fred Zzimula Kasirye said that the land grabbers turned the 42 days’ lockdown as a celebration to fulfill their motives of grabbing peoples’ land due to restricted movements, closure of several government offices and partial closure of courts.
Kassanda chairman Fred Zzimula Kasirye 2
Hundreds of households in Kassanda District are living in fear after land grabbers took advantage of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions to evict people from their land.

Kassanda District Chairman Fred Zzimula Kasirye said that grabbers disguised as State House personnel, and mainly took advantage of the closure of government offices and the partial closure of the courts during the recent 42-day lockdown to grab land in areas where owners movements were restricted.

The cases related to land, according to Kasirye, are on the increase because the demand for land is huge where everyone is now seeking to own land. Kasirye said that other cases involve rich people who apply for already occupied public land and bribe their way without considering the people already using the same.

“We have since registered close to 300 land cases, some are of Bibanja owners, some are too domestic where family members share land and disputes arose thereafter. Other cases involving the eviction of people from villages and parishes are also prominent,” he added.

He says that they are handling some of the cases locally by reconciling the parties involved. "We are also creating awareness among the people and we do not punish like courts of law but rather promote reconciliation as an amicable way of handling the cases,” Kasirye said. He added that they have settled a number of cases although there are those who resist the agreements and would want to seek redress from the courts of law.

“When it comes to people from Kampala with interests in land in Kassanda District, they use high profile names and purport to come from State House to threaten village people and fail to prove ownership. I appeal to the government to monitor and look out for impersonators,” he said.

On enforcement of lockdown restrictions, Kasirye castigated what he called sycophancy among people exaggerating the matter like the security personnel whom he said failed to understand the interpretation of the Presidential directive.

“When the President said that no more imprisonment of people in conflict with the regulations but instead, those found in violation shall pay fines and for them (insecurity) perceived it as income where people have to pay them,” he said.

He said that even if the president also failed to finalise the directive with the issuance of express penalty receipts, the security personnel have used that weakness to start arresting people even on minor issues where they would be warning people to start collecting money from people.

“We have intervened as leaders and we have done work but the work is enormous unless we would be only doing that. It is a major challenge,” he lamented.

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