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Desist from illegal land evictions –  Museveni warns UPDF 

President Museveni joined by other senior officers as the UPDF brass band leads the procession at the Heroes Day celebrations on June 9 in Kasanje, Wakiso District. (PHOTO/PPU)

WAKISO – President Yoweri Museveni has on June 9, cautioned army officer from involvement in illegal land evictions.

This was during the National Heroes day celebrations in Kasanje, Wakiso District.

The President who officiated the celebrations echoed on the rampant land wrangles in the country, warning landowners who forcefully evict tenants from their land.

“I reiterate that no one is allowed to chase bibanja (plot of land) holders from their land,” he said.

Museveni said it is unlawful.

“I caution those doing this (landgrabbing and evictions)  – President Museveni

He added that landowners come with Army officers and threaten tenants off their plots of land.

“I also sternly warn any soldier against involvement in illegal evictions,” he added.

He urged the victimized to be alert and report such threats to the authorities.

This followed President’s revelations on the construction of Mpigi-Kasanje- Nakawuka-Kisubi road.

“It is a historic road, I used it twice during the struggle and Battalion Five led by China and Kashillingi used it as we captured Kampala in 1986,” he said.

Minister for Presidency Esther Mbayo told press on May 5 that Kasanje was chosen as the host because this place and Mpigi saw a lot of brutal arrests and death of the citizens especially after the botched attack on the Lubiri barracks by the UFM forces in early 1982.

The President added that this will be tarmacked together with Busabala road.

“The government will also construct a bridge from Entebbe to Nakiwogo,” he said.

Museveni also emulated the residents of Busiro South County and Kyadondo for voting Peter Sematimba and Rosemary Seninde as your members of Parliament.

Over 100 receive medals as President Museveni warns landlords against illegal evictions. (PHOTO/PPU)

National Heroes day

This day is celebrated annually on June 9 and this year it was hosted in Kasanje under the theme “celebrating the courageous heroes that brought the peace and prosperity that we are enjoying today.”

The event was officiated by President Museveni who referred the day to remember the heroes who sacrificed their lives for the nation.

“We chose to commemorate this day because on June 9, 1981, in Kikandwa, Nakaseke District, the then government army arrested nine of our supporters and executed them without any judicial process,” he said.

He added that these supporters led by Medard Lutamaguzi were arrested thereafter and executed on June 9th.

“They were asked to reveal our whereabouts or get killed and they took the path of sacrifice,” Museveni said.

He added, “They chose to die rather than betray us. It is why we mark this day.”

The President highlighted the more thousands of people were killed in the struggle with Luwero triangle having 33 mass graves.

“This day, therefore, is in memory of all those who had to sacrifice for the success of the liberation struggle,” he said

The President also honoured 100 national heroes with medals in recognition of their contributions to the struggle for the freedom of Uganda.

The focus was on the Uganda Freedom Movement and (UFM) led by the late Dr. Andrew Kayiira and another fighting group FEDEMU that helped in ousting the UPC regime in 1980.

Prominent fighters of the UFM/FEDEMU including Dr. Andrew Kayiira, Maj. Gen. Kasirye Gwanga, late George Nkwanga and Major General Adda Hussein (Retired) among others were recognized.

Apaa land occupants go rogue in an eviction attempt as the Apaa land conflict remains unresolved (PHOTO/File)

Land evictions

In the past years, Land has increasingly become an important governance issue which has seen the implementation of National Land Policy.

President Yoweri Museveni in December 2016, appointed a Land Inquiry committee to oversee the effectiveness of Law, Policies and Processes of Land Acquisition, Land Administration, Land Management and Land Registration in Uganda.

This commission led by Hon. Justice Bamugemereire, includes Owekitibwa Robert Ssebunnya, Mrs. Mary Oduka.

Ochan, Hon. Fredrick Ruhindi among others, Despite the efforts by the Land Commission of Inquiry and other institutions to bring sanity in the escalating and rampant land grabbing and evictions, more and more people have continued to take the law into their hands to grab land with impunity.

In major cases, these unlawfully evictions are spearheaded by big government officials, UPDF officials among others.

UPDF has been cited in, for example, the Apaa land issue, the Kyangwali land issue in Hoima District where people from 28 villages were evicted. It is said the army aided officials from the Office of the Prime Minister.

Hussein Kavuma the National Resistance Movement (NRM) chairperson for Kiganda sub-county in Kassanda district is accused of grabbing over 500 acres of land and forcefully evicting over 200 families from Bukoba village, Nalutuntu sub-county in Kassanda district.

Appearing before the Commission, Kavuma, who looked nervous and superfluously confident, answered questions inconsistently and had initially denied having a hand in the land grabbing and evictions.

However, after a rigorous and intense cross-examination by Justice Bamugemereire, the unpredictable Kavuma revealed that out of the 500 acres of land he grabbed, 183 acres were given to the senior presidential adviser on legal matters, Florence Kiconco. Asked what Kiconco is doing with the land, Kavuma said “she is rearing goats, my Lord.”

In 2007, Bukoba residents petitioned President Museveni to intervene in the land conflict after Alam Group of Companies started setting up a sugarcane plantation in the area leading to evictions of many residents.

The president assigned his then vice president Prof Gilbert Bukenya to mediate. But sanity has never been restored in the area.

The fresh land violence in the area comes amidst the heightening levels of land cases that have caused pain, loss of lives and untold suffering to thousands of people, who always wake up in the dangerously cold morning chills to till the land as the only source of livelihoods.

Moses Karangwa, the ruling NRM chairman for the central district of Kayunga, was also involved in land dispute with a dead man’s family.

The family is accusing the NRM boss of attempting to grab more than 328.1 hectares in Mubende district.

The above are some of the many land disputes involving men in uniform and top government officials.

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