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Buliisa Residents Accuse Land Grabbers of Branding Them Congolese

Deo Ntakimanyi 60, the Boma village LC I Chairperson, says that his late grandfather was born on the contested piece of land but he is shocked to hear that he is a Congolese.
some of the Buliisa land eviction victims who are being branded Congolese. Photo by Emmanuel Okello.

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Several people facing forceful eviction from their ancestral land in Buliisa are accusing their tormentors of branding them as Congolese nationals. The affected people say that the majority of the land grabbers refer to them as Congolese despite the fact that they have occupied the contested land since their birth.

A case in point is the more than 1,000 people who are being threatened with forceful eviction from their ancestral land in Watembo and Booma villages in the Butiaba town council. The affected residents are feuding with Francis Kaahwa, a prominent businessman in Buliisa and Kampala over approximately 1,800 acres of land. 

According to the residents, Kaahwa often refers to them as Congolese who migrated from DRC and settled in the area yet their great grandfathers settled in the area in the 1940s. 

Deo Ntakimanyi 60, the Boma village LC I Chairperson, says that his late grandfather was born on the contested piece of land but he is shocked to hear that he is a Congolese.

//Cue in; “I was born…  

Cue out:…wants to take,”//   

Gilbert Okumu 70, a resident of Watembo village also says that he was born and raised in the area but he was shocked when Kaahwa started referring to him as a refugee with the intention of grabbing his ancestral land.  

//cue in;”Junyola kakeni adongo…  

Cue out:…jubino yikowa kakeni,”//

Pascal Kyalisiima, another affected resident says it is unfair on the part of the land grabbers to label as Congolese to dupe security and grab their land. He says they have genuine National identification cards and Graduated tax tickets they paid in the 1950s while settling on the contested piece of land.

//Cue in: ”Hati ba bantu…

Cue out:….Munyagi wa mate,”//

Jane Kusemererwa 80, says she lost both parents who were equally born and buried on the same piece of land and wonders she is now being referred to as a Congolese. Bernard Asiimwe, another resident wants the authorities to take action against Kaahwa for referring to them as Congolese well knowing that they are Ugandans.  

//Cue in: ”Hait nyowe ndi…  

Cue out:…nitulima mu lyatu,”//, 

Kaahwa has denied the accusations leveled against him by the residents. He, however, maintains that he is the rightful owner of the contested land, adding that he genuinely acquired the title. 

Allan Atugonza, the Bullisa County member of parliament, says many people who have in the past grabbed land in Buliisa have always referred to the indigenous people as Congolese nationals, which is false. 

Stephen Mfashingabo, the Buliisa Resident District Commissioner-RDC says they are verifying the allegations despite the fact that nobody has formally brought the matter to the attention of his office.

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