Breaking

Residents, Budongo Sub County Officials Feud Over Land

The contract to construct the 54-kilometre road was awarded to China Railway Number Seven group company limited. However, a row has now emerged between Budongo Sub County and area residents who are both claiming ownership of the same land.

Audio 5

A dispute over a 50-acre piece of land in Budongo Sub County, Masindi District is frustrating the progress on tarmacking the Masindi –Biiso Road, one of the critical oil roads in the Albertine Graben.  

The contract to construct the 54-kilometre road was awarded to China Railway Number Seven group company limited. However, a row has now emerged between Budongo Sub County and area residents who are both claiming ownership of the same land.

The road construction company wants to extract marram on part of the land situated in Bwinamira I and II villages in Masindi district, to help in the construction of the road. But the move has been challenged by residents who are now accusing the Sub County of illegally taking over their land.

Alikanjero Byenkya, 57, one of the residents, says that his grandparents lived on the contested piece of land since the 1940s,' long before the sub-county came into existence. However, he was surprised in the early 2000s' when the sub-county moved to claim the entire land and wanted to plant sugarcane on it.  

//Cue in; ”Itwe itaka lya…

Cue out…niba tu fumba.”//      

Byenkya adds that the sub-county leadership recently gave part of the land totalling 15 acres to the road Construction Company to extract marram without their knowledge adding that they came to know about the development after seeing the contractor clearing the land. He says this prompted them to seek assistance from the relevant government offices including the office of the Resident District Commissioner-RDC in vain.  

//Cue in; ”egombora aka bi…

Cue out…itaka banu bachina.”//  

Fred Eriki, who is also claiming part of the land says he was born and raised on the same land his entire life and that the Sub County leadership failed to show the boundaries of its land while the contractor failed to avail proof of ownership of the land it was allocated.  

//cue in; "mimi yiko na…

Cue out…walikata kuwonesa kwatu.”//  

Geoffrey Otuba, another resident says that the contractor has destroyed their crops and they are being mistreated by soldiers deployed at the contested site where the company wants to extract the marram. He says they will never at any one point vacate the land nor allow the Sub County authorities to utilize their land at no cost. 

//cue in;”Nasisi sasa sayi…

Cue out:…kula saha yiyo.”///    

Abdul Serunjogi, the Budongo Sub County Chief dismisses the claims by the residents as baseless insisting that the land belongs to the Sub County. He says the three families claiming ownership of the land came as squatters but have turned against the Sub County and are now claiming compensation for the marram to be extracted from the Sub County land.  

He says the squatters have stalled service delivery and have continued to block the road leading to the garbage dumping site of Kabango Town Council on top of blocking the road construction company from extracting marram in the area.      

Dominic Tibasiima, the Masindi Deputy Resident District Commissioner confirms that the land in question belongs to Budongo Sub  County adding that the district security committee allowed the road construction company to extract marram from it.  

//Cue in; "That land belongs…

Cue out…by the way.”//  

Chen Pen, the administrator of Masindi–Biiso road project says that land dispute is delaying the project progress since marram is a very important raw material in road construction.  

Keywords