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Busitema University Support Staff Protest Destruction of Their Crop Gardens :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Busitema University Support Staff Protest Destruction of Their Crop Gardens

Under their umbrella association Busitema University Support Staff Association (Bussa), the staff say that more than 10 hectares of their gardens comprising cassava and potatoes that were ready for harvesting were destroyed.
Part of the land ploughed down with Cassava by University authorities

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Busitema University support staff have protested the destruction of their gardens by the university administration.

Under their umbrella association Busitema University Support Staff Association (Bussa), the staff say that more than 10 hectares of their gardens comprising cassava and potatoes that were ready for harvesting were destroyed.

Also destroyed were gardens of newly planted maize, grand nuts among other food crops.

Deogratius Ochwo Nyapalapala, a Senior Records Assistant at the university, who is also the Bussa chairperson, says that the destruction of the crops has left the support staff with no food.

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In March 2018, the University Management Communicated to the staff, the students and the neighbouring community about their intention to hire out some parts of the University land for cultivation.

Staff were required to pay a fee of 50,000 shillings and 100,000 shillings for the non-staff.

The process was handled by the Land Management and Allocation Committee.

Last month, it is believed that while some people had harvested their food, the majority had not harvested due to the dry spell while others had just planted food for the new season.

“We saw two tractors on 18th March 2019 seriously grading our plantations without notice. I had applied for on acre and had planted an annual crop, cassava which only matured in March 2019 but I was not able to harvest because of the hard ground, due to dry spell,” Nyapalapala discloses.

On March 4th 2019, the University Secretary Albert Matsiko Mutungwire communicated to staff and the community directing them to stop using the land for cultivation. He said that the University was to use the land for its incorporated company.

“The university has allocated part of its land at Busitema Campus to the incorporated Company for Agricultural purposes. Upon this background, all staff, students and neighbouring community of the university are directed to henceforth cease utilizing and or cultivating university land at the Busitema Campus, ”Mutungwire said.

However, the staff note that there was no directive to remove the crops immediately. 

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Through his lawyers, DeMott Law Advocates, Nyapalapala demands 30 million shillings compensation for the damaged crops and economic loss.

“Our instructions, therefore, are to demand as we hereby do that you pay to our client through our office 30 million shillings being the value of the crop (cassava) destroyed, Ugx 10million being damages for the inconvenience and mental distress occasioned as well as Ugx 4million being legal fees so far incurred by our client in pursuit of a remedy,” Nyapalapala lawyers demanded in their March 26, 2019 notice.

Professor Mary Jossy Nakandha Okwakol, the Busitema University Vice-Chancellor and University Secretary Mutungwire were not picking our repeated calls for a comment.