Bahati Ondoma, one of the affected persons, says they are in untold suffering ever since they were forcefully evicted from their ancestral land. He explains that most of them mainly children and women have nothing to eat and that some of their colleagues have started dying of hunger.
More than 500 families
that were forcefully evicted from a contested piece of land in Kyabisagazi I
and II villages in Kigrobya Sub-county Hoima district are still in misery
despite receiving food relief from the Office of the Prime Minister-OPM.
The families were forced from what they claim to be their
ancestral land on February 13, 2019 by a joint security team comprising the
army and police. The security officers raided the village under the guise of
tracking down people involved in subversive activities.
The operation was allegedly prompted by intelligence
indicating that a group of foreigners had invaded the area and were posing a
security threat. During the operation, residents fought back and killed Julius
Taremwa, a constable attached to Hoima Central Police station after mistaking
them for thugs.
What appeared to be a cordon and search operation turned into
an eviction displacing the families that had settled on the contested land
measuring 485 acres. The land has been at the center of a dispute between Edgar
Agaba, a businessman in Hoima town and residents for decades.
Following the cry for help by the affected persons, OPM sent them
500 bags of rice of 50kgs each on July 5, 2019. However, to date, the evictees
are yet to receive the rice. Some
of the evictees wondered during an interview with URN at Kibali church of Uganda in Kibali village in Budongo Sub-county in
Masindi district on Monday why the relief
aid hasn’t been distributed one and half months since the OPM donated it to them.
Bahati Ondoma, one of the affected persons, says they are in
untold suffering ever since they were forcefully evicted from their ancestral
land. He explains that most of them mainly children and women have
nothing to eat and that some of their colleagues have started dying of hunger.
//Cue in:”Chakula Gafumenti alipatiya…
Cue out:…Kitugani siya juyi.:”//.
Kellena Oyeki, 55, explained that women are the most affected
since they have to look after children and provide for the family. He wonders why
there is a delay in the distribution of the food relied sent by the OPM.
//Cue in:”Bairaba Gafumdenti atuyambe…
Cue out:…bairaba tukyali kufuna.:”//
Jackson Ochama, another affected person wants the OPM to
investigate why the food relief has never reached them.
//Cue in: ”It remained just…
Cue out:…getting our rice.:”//.
Robert Kabagambe, another resident says the delayed
distribution of the food relief is a deliberate move by the sub county and
district officials to deny them the rice.
//cue in:”Gali mazima byokuliya…
Cue out:… bakuzara Munju bana.:”//.
Jackson Mugenyi Mulindambura, the Kigorobya sub-county LC 5
councilor attributes the delayed distribution of the food relief on the fact
that district authorities can’t trace the affected people. However, a section
of the evictees said their area councilor; Samuel Musinguzi picked a list of
their names from their current location.
Efforts to get a comment from Musinguzi were futile as his
known mobile telephone number was unreachable. Mulindambura said the relief aid
is still intact, adding that it is being kept in the stores of Majestic
Enterprises limited in Kigorobya town council.
He explains that they are still waiting for verification of
the evictees so that they can distribute the rice.
However, URN has since established said store
is a Guest House belonging to Mulindambura. Anthony Lukwago,
the Hoima Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) said he was aware of the delayed
distribution of the food relief, adding that he instructed the verification
team to expedite the process.
David Karubanga, the Kigorobya County Member of Parliament
who also doubles as the Public Service State Minister, accused the CAO,
Mulindambura and Hoima LC V Chairperson, Kadiri Kirungi for allegedly halting
the food relief distribution for their personal gains.
//Cue in:”Because that was…
Cue out…Duty free food.:”//.
He wants the officials to be investigated for contravening
the Prime Minister’s directive.
//cue in:”That food did…
Cue out:…with the food.:”//.
Efforts to get a comment from the LC5 Chairperson were futile
since his phone was off. In March, this year, the speaker of Parliament; Rebecca
Kadaga constituted a select committee when the Ora County Member of parliament,
Lawrence Biyika Songa brought the matter of the evictees to the attention of
parliament on February 21, 2019.
The committee is chaired by Gaster Mugoya Kyawa, the Bukhooli North
County MP. The other members are Budaka Woman MP, Pamela Kamoga Naiso, Makindye
East MP, Ibrahim Kasozi Biribawa, Bududa Woman MP, Justine Khainza, UPDF
Representative, Brig.Flavia Byekwaso, Oyam Woman MP, Santa Alum, and Busiki
County MP, Paul Akamba.
The select committee is operating under six terms of
reference including studying all claims of ownership on the disputed land,
investigating allegations relating to identity and status of persons evicted,
examining the involvement and conduct of security officers in the eviction of
families. The committee has never tabled its findings about the