A mega oil palm project
has failed to take off in Kasanje-Nakigga village in Ssunga parish,
Bukakatta sub-county in Masaka district due to a dispute over more than 700
acres of land.
At least 100 households use the land for settlement and
The land is a subject of contention
between over 200 residents and Nakigga Ranching Farm Cooperative, which
comprises 37 subscribers. The disputed land is part of the 15 square miles
(10,000acres) which Masaka district allocated the National Oil Palm
Project (NOPP) to expand oil palm production, create employment, and boost
the agricultural sector and the economy.
According to Joseph Kintu, the Kasanje-Nakigga Village
LC I chairman, the land has been under the cooperative since 1988 when
they got a 44-year lease. He adds that the cooperative members and other
residents mostly pastoralists have also been using the grasslands to graze
their livestock. Kintu noted that along the way, the caretakers of the
cooperative -Achilleo Kayemba and Julius Yiga transformed the leasehold into
freehold title to obtain full control of the land.
However, after learning about the upcoming oil palm project,
Kayemba and Yiga told the residents and its members to stop using the land forthwith.
He says that two want to sell the land to potential investors for oil palm
growing, which has raised protests. They want to be relocated somewhere they
can graze their livestock.
//Cue in: “Nze nga chairman…………….
Cue out:……………….entalo mubantu.”//
Achilleo Kayemba says the occupied land will be left
untouched for the good of the people, adding that they only want to give away
the grasslands. He explains that they resorted to giving away the
grasslands because they have few animals since the operations of the ranch
//Cue in: “Kasita
Cue out:…………………. nga bafuna emirimu.”//
Evans Kanyike, the Bukoto East MP, says that apart from the
residents in Kasanje-Nakigga village the project would also affect people in
Kiteredde, Musajja, Muddu, Komoni, Biriinzi, Lutukuma, and Kigo villages.
A joint meeting was convened at Nakigga on Sunday to chat the way forward to end the longstanding grievances over the land.
Ssenkungu, the Male Workers representative for Masaka District presided over
the meeting on behalf of Eliasto Akatuheebwa, the Masaka Resident District
Ssenkungu accused some politicians of fueling the dispute by
giving wrong information to the public with intentions of winning cheap
popularity. He explained that all land
matters are guided by documents that prove true ownership.
//Cue in: “Ettaka ekilyogerako ……….
Cue out:…………ate mwe bagula.”//
Fridah Kemirembe, one of the affected residents, says that
the majority of residents lack documentation for the land they have occupied
for over years. Peter Nsaba, another resident, says that evicting him
without any option may force them to sabotage the project.
to Anthony William Wanyoto, the Communications Officer-NOPP, they are
still following certain processes to ensure they start without holding
back. He adds that they are planning an entry meeting with Masaka district
leaders since the district council must pass a resolution to allowing NOPP activities
to start in Masaka.
He noted that they are targeting over 40000 hectares of
land in Bukakata because of the good soils.