The affected family belongs to Stephen Mugambwa, a resident of Kimegeredde cell in Semuto town council, Nakaseke district. Mugambwa, a veteran in the 1981-1986 war is embroiled in a land wrangle with Sula Serunjogi, a former Resident District Commissioner and prominent National Resistance Movement Mobiliser.
A family of six is stranded in Nakaseke
district after their house was demolished in a move to forcefully
evict them from land they have occupied for the past 48-years.
The affected family belongs to
Stephen Mugambwa, a resident of Kimegeredde cell in Semuto town council,
Nakaseke district. Mugambwa, a veteran in the 1981-1986 war is embroiled in a land
wrangle with Sula Serunjogi, a former Resident District Commissioner and prominent
National Resistance Movement Mobiliser.
Mugambwa, 66, settled on 6.74
acres in 1974 after inheriting the same from his father Colombani Mukasa. He has
since established banana and coffee plantations and constructed permanent houses,
among other developments.
However, in 2018, Mugambwa was
approached by Sula Serunjogi with information that he had acquired a title for
the land in question. Mugambwa explains that since then Serunjogi has been
pressing him to surrender the land until they agreed on a sharing deal.
Mugambwa adds that he agreed to
stay with 2.5 out of 6.74 acres but on condition that Serunjogi process and
gives him a title for the remaining piece of land. Mugambwa said that he was
shocked when Serunjogi under the protection of security personnel raided his
home on December 14, 2021, and demolished it to force him to vacate the entire
Mugambwa adds that he reported
the matter to Semuto Police Station but nothing was done and since then he is
staying in part of the damaged house. Mugambwa said he was dragged to two
magistrate courts on charges of criminal trespass but he was not given a fair
hearing, only to get information that the case was decided in his absence.
//Cue in; “Nze nga…
Sula Serunjogi explained that he
dragged Mugambwa to court for trespassing on the land and the case was decided
ex-parte before he was ordered to pay the costs of the suit. Serunjogi added
that he later sold the land and the new landlord demolished the house because
he doesn’t need it there.
//Cue in; “Kati kwekusala
Cue out…okuli enyumba.”//
Hundreds of residents in over 40
villages in Nakaseke are also in a panic over looming eviction in a new phase
of land grabbing cases. Among them are over 600 residents
at Kabogwe village in Kapeeka Sub County who accuse a man identified only
Kamuntu of hiring men to fence off their land after he allegedly acquired a land
title on the land.
Samuel Mukasa Nyanzi, a resident
of Kabogwe says that residents inherited the land from their parents who
settled there in the 1970s and since then they thought they occupied public
land. Nyanzi said that they were surprised when a man identified as Kamuntu
under the protection of security surveyed it without notifying the tenants and
started to fence it off.
Mukasa adds that several tenants
have been arrested and ordered to accept meagre compensation to vacate their
land. The affected residents say they have nowhere to go if evicted. Others are
also facing hunger after their crops were destroyed.
Vox Pop// Cue in; “ Ekyabaddewo awo...
Other land conflicts have been
reported in Nambeeya, Kabeere, Kawoomya, Mayirikiti, Kizongoto, Kirema, Mizimbo
and Kasambya villages among others.
Luttamaguzi Ssemakula, the
Nakaseke South Member of Parliament says that it's unfortunate that security
personnel and other state agencies which are supposed to protect the residents
now connive with landlords to ensure they are evicted.
Luttamaguzi warns that if the
government doesn’t stop the evictions, the affected tenants will have no choice
but to fight back which may culminate into bloodshed.
//Cue in; “We think
Luganda //Cue in; “Waliwo abagenda…
Fred Bamwine, the Nakaseke
Resident District Commissioner says some of the affected residents have not
reported to him and he can’t go on a fishing expedition because he wants to
help them. He however noted that those who have reported to him, have reconciled
with the landlords and won’t be evicted.