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Land Grabbing Shapes Presidential Campaigns in Luwero

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Reports of land grabbing have been reported mostly in the sub-counties of Kapeeka, Semuto and Kasangombe in Nakaseke districts, Lwabyata, Nakitoma, Nabiswera, Wabinyonyi, Lwampanga and Kakooge in Nakasongola and the areas of Kamira, Makulubita, Zirobwe and Butuntumula in Luwero district.
A supporter flashing FDC Victory sign as Amuriat campaigns in Migyera town in Nakasongola

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All presidential candidates who have held campaigns in Greater Luwero are promising one major issue; ending land grabbing, a problem that has persisted in the area for ages.  

Reports of land grabbing have been reported mostly in the sub-counties of Kapeeka, Semuto and Kasangombe in Nakaseke districts, Lwabyata, Nakitoma, Nabiswera, Wabinyonyi, Lwampanga and Kakooge in Nakasongola and the areas of Kamira, Makulubita, Zirobwe and Butuntumula in Luwero district.  

Hundreds of residents have been evicted from their homes and others are living in fear, on the edge of eviction, each day, and each night by those seeking to convert it into commercial farms and industries.   

It’s based on this that presidential candidates are saying that persons whose land was grabbed should be able to repossess it and utilize it for agricultural production.     This message has so far been re-echoed by eight out of the 11 presidential candidates who have already campaigned in Luwero, Nakaseke and Nakasongola, a region which was up until now known to be the base of NRM support.   

The candidates include Patrick Oboi Amuriat (FDC) Yoweri Kaguta Museveni (NRM) Norbert Mao (DP) Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (NUP) and Gregg Mugisha Muntu (ANT).

The others are Independent candidates Henry Tumukunde, Willy Mayambala, and John Katumba.  While campaigning in Nakaseke, Amuriat and Kyagulanyi pinned top government officials and close relatives of the incumbent president Yoweri Museveni for turning natives into squatters. But, Amuriat said, that will soon be in the past.   

//Cue in; “And Nakaseke here… 

Cue out...ettaka lyammwe.”//    

He was responding to concerns by Lydia Nalujja, the FDC Parliamentary candidate for Nakasongola who stated that many of the area residents had opted for fishing, after losing their land to grabbers. But, she added, they have now been evicted from the lakes and are now wandering in towns.   

  Similarly, Kyagulanyi said that the only way to end land grabbing is by voting President Museveni out of office. He said his government would ensure that land is occupied by rightful owners.    

//Cue in; “Nzize kukilira…

Cue out…bwegogera.”// 

During the campaign, Ivan Kyeyune, the NUP candidate for Nakasongola told Kyagulanyi that over 90 per cent of the people in his area own no land titles and are living in a panic over possible evictions.

On the other hand, Nobert Mao told the residents of Nakaseke to trust DP because they will be able to handle the land question based on Truth and Justice.  He observed a need to respect all people occupying the land irrespective of their economic status. 

//Cue in; “Enkumbi yegenda…   

Cue out…n’abwenkanya.”//   

For Muntu, Tumukunde and Mayambala the major emphasis of their campaign message was on the promotion of agriculture through increased funding to the sector as well as the establishment of fruit processing plants in the area.

On the side of the NRM, President Yoweri Museveni’s Manifesto shows that they intend to concentrate on addressing land ownership and security, land use, and land fragmentation. NRM also intends to increase the Land Fund to solve the historical dual ownership of land in Buganda. The manifesto indicates that the amount of money allocated through the Land Fund has been increased from 42 billion to 92.4 billion to enable people to acquire land titles.   

“We will use the principle of willing buyer willing seller to pay off the landlords and give titles to the bibanja owners. This will also include addressing the unfairness experienced by those whose land was reduced by the landlords.” 

In Nakaseke, MP Luttamaguzi Semakula says that he has spent most of his term in Parliament fighting against evictions.    

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