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Tooro Queen Mother Asked to Halt Land Eviction

Last month, Kemigisa, through her lawyer Timothy Atuhaire, issued a notice to residents giving them a grace period of three months to vacate the land or face forceful eviction. The land in question currently hosts several residential houses, three primary schools, a health facility, the Orthodox Church headquarters for Rwenzori region and a number of banana plantations.
Part of the land in Ngome claimed by Kemgisa
State House has directed Best Kemigisa, the Queen Mother of Tooro to halt the eviction of more than 1,000 people from a piece of land in Ngombe and Kyogya villages in Kitumba, East Division-Fort Portal Municipality.

Kemigisa claims ownership of the land measuring 50 acres.

Last month, Kemigisa,  through her lawyer Timothy Atuhaire, issued a notice to residents giving them a grace period of three months to vacate the land or face forceful eviction.  The land in question currently hosts several residential  houses, three primary schools, a health facility, the Orthodox Church headquarters for Rwenzori region and a number of banana plantations. 

Atuhaire says Kemigisa plans to construct schools and a shopping mall on the land in question.

Following the threat of eviction, residents and local leaders called for the president's intervention to resolve the impasse.

89-year-old Gerald Baguma, a resident who has lived in the area for more than 50 years says that the piece of land where he is staying was sold to him by the late Vincent Kajumba who died 10 years ago. He expressed surprise at the claim of ownership by Kemigisa.

On Friday afternoon, Florence Kiconco, a legal officer from the State house's department of land and legal disputes, met the affected residents to resolve the dispute. Kiconco said the planned eviction was illegal without a court order.

Kiconco added that Kemigisa should halt the eviction until investigations are carried out to establish the rightful owner of the land.

However in a telephone interview Kemigisa told Uganda Radio Network that the piece of land belongs to her late husband, Omukama Patrick Olimi Kaboyo, whose estate in now under her administration.

Kemigisa said that she is not aware of the directive and that she will go ahead and evict the residents at the end of next month.

Kemigisa has in the past been embroiled in land conflicts. In 2009, Andrew Irumba, a resident of Kibito Sub County sued Kemigisa for selling 100 acres of land to Uganda Land Commission (ULC) at 5 Billion Shillings.

In 2010, Kemigisa sold 13 parcels of kingdom land measuring 9,121 acres to the government at 4.5 Billion Shillings.

However the transaction was queried by Members of Parliament on the Public Accounts Committee. The then chairman of the committee, Nandala Mafabi said that the deal was suspicious since it was done without following the right procedures.

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