More than 2,000 people from the villages of Bungucoda, Nyakarongo, Kiryana, Ijwamba and Kokoitwa in Kimengo were forcefully evicted from the land said to be belonging to Uganda Investment Authority-UIA in November 2019. The residents were given just a few hours to vacate the land.
The Ministry of Lands has intervened
in a wrangle between Uganda Investment Authority-UIA and over 2,000 residents over
a contested piece of land in Masindi district. The land measuring approximately 60 square
miles is situated in Kimengo sub-county Masindi district.
More than 2,000 people from the
villages of Bungucoda, Nyakarongo, Kiryana, Ijwamba and Kokoitwa in Kimengo were
forcefully evicted from the land said to be belonging to Uganda Investment
Authority-UIA in November 2019. The residents were given just a few hours to
vacate the land.
At the time, the eviction was
effected by a team of police officers backed by Uganda Peoples Defense
Force-UPDF under the command of the Former Masindi Resident District
Commissioner-RDC, Godfrey Nyakahuma, who says he acted on the instructions of
Finance Minister Matia Kasaija.
Homes were demolished and crop
gardens razed to pave way for redevelopment allegedly by investors. But it’s said
that Uganda Investment Authority-UIA bought the contested land from Bunyoro
Grower’s Union in 2005 and leased it out to four companies including Mena food
Limited, Soul Agro business, Critical mass limited and Afro CAI Company Limited.
The controversy reached its peak
when Afro CAI Company Limited and Soul Agro Business attempted to fence off the
land in November last year, drawing protests from residents, some of whom had
occupied the contested land for over 15 years. Several others had lived on the
land long before Bunyoro Grower’s Union sold it to Uganda Investment Authority.
18 of the residents who were
opposed to the brutal eviction were arrested and detained at Masindi Central
Police Station. But Lands Minister Beti
Kamya has halted any kind of eviction on the said land and cautioned security officials
against effecting evictions in the absence of a court order.
She says that a committee will be
instituted to establish the rightful owner of the land and investigate circumstances
under which the people were evicted from the land.
//Cue in; “We talked to…
Cue out…eviction or
Masindi District Chairperson Cosmas
Byaruhanga says that district leaders were never consulted before the eviction
of the residents. He says residents who were occupying the land before Uganda
Investment Authority bought it in 2005 should have been compensated before they
Justine Tushabe, one of the
residents who were forcefully evicted from the contested piece of land in
November last year wants justice to prevail saying all those who were behind
their brutal eviction penalized accordingly.