MBARARA – The rate at which government land is being lost into the hands of private individuals continues to rife in Mbarara Municipality, Capt. David Bashaija the director of Ngabo Academy and one Juma Kasumali, a businessman in Mbarara town and the proprietor of Hajuni Investments Limited are on spot for grabbing over 200 acres of land belonging to Mbarara Stock Farm.
It has been reported that the land of over 1300 acres belongs National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) under Mbarara Zonal Agriculture Research and Development Insititute (MBAZARD) has been gradually grabbed and that now over 200 acres have been gabbed by private individuals on both sides of the land which should be used for agricultural research…
According to Dr Halid Kirunda Director MBAZARD told this website that this land has been living under threats of grabbers and that now it has serious grabbers on two sides where Capt. Bashaija has taken one side equivalent to over 79 acres and on the other side, one Kasumali is claiming over 115 acres to be his.
“Bashaija tried to process a lease since 1998 but the ministry of lands and land commission did not grant him so after we logged a complaint, so he is on the land illegally, he has been threatening us our workers with his gun and even his cows invading the crops that we use for research, now he has started mining sand from the land since it boarders R. Rwizi, so we have a big challenge in evicting him because it seems he has invisible hands, we decided to take him to court and the matters are before court,” said Kirunda.
He added, “ we have 800 acres that are titled and 500 which is not titled, so on that 500acres its where we have this banana Plantation which we call a Jam plasma collection where we have all the banana races from seven countries but we were shocked when Kasumali came and claimed this land in 2010, he quickly processed a lease for five years with Mbarara land board as Kasumali even before the five years had elapsed, in 2012 he changed it to Hajuni Investments and fraudulently got a lease of 49 years and all these processes we were not consulted as the caretaker on this government land, he came to put some structures but we chased him and the matters are now before Mbarara high court.”
He said that the then Minister for Agriculture in charge of Animal Husbandry wrote to the Uganda land commission telling them to cancel the lease but nothing was done because they had already put their complaint about the grabbers.
“This Kasumali the area he claims to have been living in, has got a clear fence line of the stock farm, so he took the advantage that this land of 500 acres we had not acquired land titles and when we reached in court the Judge was supposed to be here two weeks back but he scheduled to come next week on 15th March because it will be irreplaceable after losing this land and it will threaten our research on our Jamplasma collection.”
When Contacted Kasumali on Thursday said that he cannot comment on the matter other than his lawyers.
It should be noted that in 2014, Bashaijja had erected structures on the same land but was eveicted by the then RDC of Mbarara Moses Mwebesa before he was even disarmed of his AK47 but later regained his gun.