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Hundreds Fear Eviction By Buganda Kingdom

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According to the occupants, they have been under threats of eviction since 2016 and are worried that Mengo through Buganda Land Board-BLB may evict them anytime without due compensation despite occupying land for more than 30 years.
Busiro County headquarters at Sentema, Kikiri Sub County in Wakiso District

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More than 600 residents of Bukungulu village in Kakiri Sub County in Wakiso District are living in fear of eviction as Buganda kingdom intensifies plans to set up a housing project on the land they occupy.

The land in question measures about 965 acres and is part of the Busiro County headquarters. It is part of the properties that government returned to Buganda Kingdom recently.

According to the occupants, they have been under threats of eviction since 2016 and are worried that Mengo through Buganda Land Board-BLB may evict them anytime without due compensation despite occupying land for more than 30 years.

Ben Sserunkuma, the Bukungulu Village Chief, says officials from Buganda Land Board informed residents about the proposed housing project. 

He explains that kingdom officials surveyed part of the land last year and from that time the affected person have tried in vain to meet the BLB officials.

//Cue in: "ndi mutongole…

Cue out…ekitundu kyebasalako."//

Dick Kato, one of the residents, says some of the meetings held with the officials aborted prematurely because of anger from both parties.

He says some of the officials appeared to suggest that they will only compensate people with kingdom titles issued by Buganda land boards.

Kato explains that the proposal has since drawn mixed reactions from the occupants as many of them have never processed titles despite paying ground rent (busuulo) to the kingdom through its chiefs for years.

He says although more meetings have been conducted even at Bulange, the headquarters of Buganda Kingdom many occupants are not yet convinced and certain about their future.  

Norah Namusoke, another resident whose land is next to the county headquarters, says that they know less than they have had on radio and rumors about the said project.

 

//Cue in: "Kakati olwegira…

Cue out…ebyo bwebityo."//

According to Namusoke, they also need to be given more time possibly a year to find convenient places where they can relocate to once the kingdom decides to evict them.

//Cue in: "Era obweralikirivu…

Cue out…ogende wani?"//

Uganda's land regulations dictate that before a landlord sells off or leases land, they must consider the interests of sitting tenants by giving them the first priority to purchase the land in line the Land Amendment Act, 2010.

Tenants can resist eviction especially if they have been paying the annual nominal ground rent. While returning over 213 titles among other properties to the kingdom, president cautioned the kingdom against forceful eviction of squatters on the estates.

Noah Kiyimba, the Buganda Kingdoms spokesperson, says they are making arrangements to address the compensation woes before the project kicks off. He explains that as a kingdom, they cannot evict any individual before they ensure that he or she has somewhere to go.

 

//Cue in: "ekiriwo mukiseera kino…

Cue out…bayirirwa osinzira."//

Mengo embarked on establishing income generating projects on its vast pieces of of land. Through Buganda Investments and Commercial Undertakings Limited, the investment arm of the Kingdom, they undertook the US$65M housing project, which saw the construction of Mirembe Villas in Kigo.

 

Kiyimba says the kingdom wants to build low-cost housing units for Kabaka's subjects, adding that they may even consider the current occupants to be the first beneficiaries.  A similar project is also planned for Mpigi District and will sit on 204 acres of land in Mayembe Ga Mbogo Village.

In the same development, Kiyimba says the kingdom has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Habitat for Humanity to construct ten low-cost housing units in the 20 counties that make up Buganda.