MBARARA – Social unrest has engulfed over 1000 farmers of Kyamugasha village, Rugando sub-county, after a group of purported rich men orchestrated a ploy to grab the community land which is equivalent to over 178 acres.
The land in question, according to residents, belongs to farmers under their association of Bataka Barisa Bahingi group who got the allocation from the then sub-county chief Kagangari in 1968 which was requested by their grandparents.
Residents say that in the due process, they elected leaders to over the activities of the association and management of the land and these were chairman Mathias Gareba, Eryeza Kakurima(treasurer) Enos Karuhama(secretary) and Tadeo Kasigazi. But to their dismay was when the four leaders came in 1995 and claimed ownership of the land and started plans to chase the residents out of the land.
Johnson Katende, the chairperson of the association opined that they were shocked when they received court summons pertaining a case that had been logged in by the four men against the residents over the said land.
“These were once our leaders, but when their tenure of office elapsed, they started their mission of trying to grab the land and they even attempted to process the land title but we foiled their move, we have been using this land to till for agriculture and cattle rearing, we went to court the first time in 2013 and the then chief magistrate at Mbarara Philp Odoki had promised to come and visit the locus but he was transferred before making any decision until now,” said Katende.
We found a section of these residents in court on Thursday where they had gone to hear their case and these are being represented by lawyers from Mwine Kahima &Co Advocates but the lawyers for the plaintiff were not in court, which compelled chief Magistrate Samuel Twakire to adjourn the case to Tuesday 15th January 2019.
After the adjournment, Wilson Asasira the LCI chairman vowed not to allow these former leaders of the association to take the land that belongs to the community.
Allen Namara also expressed her fear that this land has been their sole source of income and food. “as a woman this land has been helping us so much in our families because its where we do farming from as I talk now we have there millet and maize gardens and there is a forest where we fetch firwood from, we don’t why these four people decided to grab this land, we call upon the magistrate to ensure that he goes to the land before he makes a judgment,” Namara said.