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MPs demand for the President’s intervention into the Bukinda evictees’ concerns

KIKUUBE – The Kikuube district Members of Parliament(MPs) have demanded that President Museveni intervenes in the misery of the Bukinda evictees who are currently camped at the office of Kikuube Resident District Commissioner (RDC) demanding to be resettled onto their land.

More than 1,500 people who have camped at the RDC’s office for three weeks now are part of the people from Bukinda Parish Kyangwali sub-county Kikuube district who were allegedly evicted from their land by the Prime Minister’s Office in 2013.

They are part of the 10,000 people from Bukinda parish in Kyangwali sub-county, Kikuube district who were settled on an eight square miles piece of land in Kyeeya and Busanga villages in Kasonga Parish following their forceful eviction from their land in Bukinda Parish by the Prime Minister’s Office.

The residents said that each family was given 2.5 acres but the residents continue to protest their relocation on grounds that they were relocated on someone’s land with titles and the land is a semi-arid and cannot support farming.

The dispute on this land started in 2010 after the Office of the Prime Minister and natives (host communities) after they all started claiming the ownership of the same land allegedly measuring 35,000 acres.

They were from 31 villages that included; Bukinda A and B, Bukinda 2, Kavule, Bwizibwera A and B, Kyeya A and B, Nyaruhanga, Kabirizi, Nyamigisa A and B and Katoma among others.

In 2016, President Museveni ordered for the resettlement of the evictees back to their lands. But, the directives were not respected since officials at OPM Kyangwali continued to allocate the land to Congolese refugees on the disputed land.

The residents claim that in 2020 during the COVID-19 lockdown, officials from OPM decided to resettle the affected persons in Kyeeya village in Kasonga Parish, on a piece of land which is being claimed by some individuals.

In December 2021, Nabbanja Robinah, Uganda’s Prime Minister halted the resettlement of the Congolese refugees on the disputed land and promised to organize a meeting between the evictees, area leaders and OPM to get a lasting solution to the problem.

The residents who include old women with children, old men and women stormed the RDC’s office and have been sleeping under trees in someone’s plot of land near the office of RDC to date.

Led by the Chairman LCII for Kasonga Parish, James Sanyu, who is also a victim; he accuses the OPM officials in Kyangwali of continuing to settle Congolese refugees on to their land despite the Prime Minister Nabbanja’s directives halting the process.

He noted that they need to be resettled back on their land adding that they were relocated on someone’s land with titles and the land is a semi-arid and can’t grow any things.

He noted the Prime Minister’s meeting has delayed adding that people are starving and others are dying of hunger due to lack of food and demanded immediate intervention.

Dorotiya Muzuka, a 60-year-old and mother of six children and Celia Bonabaana says, they lost their livelihoods as result of the eviction.

Muzuka explained that she lost over five acres of land with cocoa, coffee and a banana plantation during the eviction and demanded to be resettled back since the land where they were relocated is unfavourable for farming.

Francis Kazini, the Member of Parliament for Buhaguzi County blamed the suffering of the people on the officials who failed to implement the directive of the presidents.

The MPs who met the evictees at RDC’s office said, there is a need for the President to intervene and save the people from the suffering they are going through.

Kazini demanded that if the government cannot settle back the evictees in their land, they should compensate them so that they can buy land elsewhere or buy for them a good land that can support farming.

He noted that as leaders they cannot continue seeing people suffer as if they are not Ugandans and vowed to move and camp at the Statehouse if the duty bearers continue to keep a deaf ear to their concerns.

RDC Tumusiime expressed concern about the suffering of the people adding that currently the evictees at his office have no water, food and sanitary facilities.

“We don’t have necessary facilities in place to accommodate them; we do not have water sources so it is every big problem, it is a crisis which needs government’s attention. As an RDC, I wrote to my boss and I told them of what is happening and I hope to receive communication from them any time but I can say the situation here is not pleasing,” he said.

Fred Mbambali, one of the five people claiming ownership of Kyeeya land said, the government settled people on his land and demanded that they should vacate his land or else they should compensate him.

Mbambali and his colleagues who include Livingston Twazagye, Godfrey Timuriho, Tayebwa Seth Bukagate and Peter Taremwa  acquired the land measuring more than three square miles in 1998 and processed the title in 2018.

He noted that he is currently stranded with his cows after they forcefully settled the residents of his land adding that when he attempts to use his land they arrest him.

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