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Kyotera Residents Bicker over Utilization of Sango Bay Land

The latest dispute is pitting a local businessman Faustino Murengyezi and close to 1,000 residents of Bukaala village, who accuse the former of unscrupulously attempting to displace them from public land.
Some of the affected residents of Land dispute of Kabira who are however threatening to fight back

Audio 4

There is rising tension in Kabira sub county in Kyotera district following a fresh dispute on the utilization of the part of the former Sango Bay Sugar Estates Land.

The latest dispute is pitting a local businessman Faustino Murengyezi and close to 1,000 residents of Bukaala village, who accuse him of attempting to displace them from public land. The land in dispute is part of the 14,000 hectares that were formerly leased to the defunct Sango Bay Sugar Estate Limited, and later reverted to the central government following the expulsion of the Asians in 1972. 

However, Murengyezi recently fenced off a big chunk of the land locking up residents who have been using part of the land for cultivating food crops and grazing animals. Isaac Bigirwa, one of the residents say the businessman erected a cordoned off chunk measuring four square miles, that includes public grazing fields and plantations.

He argues that businessman highhandedly blocked community access roads connecting to water sources and that his labourers are grazing his herds of cattle on people’s plantations.

Dorothy Nakigudde, another resident of Bukaala village accuses Murengyezi of using the local police to harass residents as well as sending his agents to confiscate their animals with intentions of subduing and forcing them to leave the land.

//Cue in; “tusaba government etuleke…

Cue out; …..okwagala okubatta.”//

The residents also accuse Eugenio Ssemaganda, the Bukaala village Chairperson of compromising his village executive to protect the interests of the businessman to displace hundreds of residents who have jointly been utilizing it for decades as a source of their livelihoods. 

Meanwhile, the angry residents are now threatening to resort to violence against their tormenters as the available alternative to defending their rights on the land, arguing that local authorities have failed to structurally resolve the dispute. Moses Kalinda, Paul Muheesi, and Vincent Bukenya, both occupants of the disputed land indicate that they cannot accept being displaced from public land by an individual.

//Cue in; “government amawulire…

Cue out…..munju yabwe.”//

Richard Kalanzi, the Kabira Sub County Chairperson also wonders how an individual can claim ownership on public land without following the due process of obtaining it from government.    

According to him, the government allowed the residents to utilize the land for alternative activities, until recently when unscrupulous people started processing titles and claiming ownership for it. Kalanzi however says he has notified the Office of Resident District Commissioner to intervene in the dispute before it turns violent.

//Cue in; “emyaka bw’egyagenda… 

Cue out..farn y’amuntu omu.”// 

But Vincent Ntambiye, the Farm and Estate Manager of Faustino Marengyezi noted that their interest is to guard their animals against theft by the residents. He says although the land is owned by the government, his father obtained a lease offer unlike the residents, who he also accuses of crossing their boundaries.

//Cue in; “buli muntu asigale… 

Cue out…..ate oja kubulaba.”//