TORORO – People who had turned up to attend a meeting that had been organized by the Tororo district resident over the weekend at Asinge‘’A’’ village in Osukuru sub-county were in a sombre mood after a 91-year-old woman, Mrs. Dinah Emurion broke down into tears over a circumstance under which her land is under threat of being grabbed.
The meeting had been organized to help reconcile the outstanding land conflict between the family and a fish farm company that is seen to be insecurity as the management of Jossy fish company has reported faked documents to falsely land in the area a situation that has turned into insecurity.
Mrs. Dinah Emurion wept tears just after completing testifying how she developed trust upon the director of Geossy Fish Farm Company Mr. Gorwel Emanu that she requested to partner with her sons to promote fish farming in her land surrounded by swamps.
She narrated that her partnership with the fish company started in 2017 when she asked the company director to partner with her sons to utilize her 2 acres land in the wetland and after showing willingness, he lured her to give him some of the land documents claiming that he was going to process land title for the land to make it easy for them to even apply for a loan from the bank to help in the establishment of the fish farm.
She told the meeting that just after handing over the land documents she succumbed to a stroke that made her unconscious and it seems the director took the advantage of her illness to go-ahead to start the illegal transfer of land ownership to his names.
‘’I have never sold any piece of land to Emanu neither have I offered him any piece of land as he claims, I only entrusted him with my land documents as he promised to facilitate the process of titling the land but am surprised that he says I sold land to him how would I sell land top him without the knowledge of my children’’ the 91-year-old Dinah narrated.
During the meeting, members of the community led by the village LC1 chairperson Mr. John Oguti accused the police of siding with Fish Company to harass members of the family to cause fear in them an act that has given an advantage for the company to continue encroaching into people’s land.
He cited an incidence where police arrested of some of the members of the family as they attempted to block the company from continuing with its activities in the land.
‘’Mr. RDC what hurts me most is the continuous arrest of the family members an indication that police has been compromised even after the community raised an issue where the company has fenced off a protected community spring well in a bid to divert water to serve its fish ponds’’ Mr. Oguti narrated.
He also reported that the community is living under total fear because of the new faces that move within the area at night in civilian clothes and they usually patrol the area where some people have been seriously harassed at night.
David Emurion a family heir who has been severally arrested asked the office of the resident district commissioner to avail them justice by taking a step to stop police from protecting land encroachment by the company.
He admitted that the company had expressed interest to acquiring their family land but along the way, it failed to fulfil the agreed terms and conditions on partnership but after the management failed to pay the agreed sum of money within the agreed period of time and they opted to disband the transaction.
‘’From the initial start, we the family had proposed to partner with the company where I was even put to be the project manager but along the way we discovered dubious dealings more so attempted to change land ownership that forced me to resign and this is where the battle started because Emanu had already taken the land document from the old woman promising that he would help the family title the land to make it easy to borrow a loan to facilitate expansion of their fish farm,’’ he said.
He claimed that in one of the meeting, Emanu appeared but no sooner had he seen the old woman being rolled on her wheelchair to the venue than he walked out of the meeting claiming that the situation was not favourable to him and his life was in danger.
However the resident district commissioner Mr. Nickson Owole thanked the old woman for being bold and enlightening the community disputing the claims of having sold the land.
He advised the family members to apply legal means to battle so to reclaim back their land without necessarily using violence.
‘’If you feel hurt, use courts of law to reclaim your land because am made to understand that you already file a civil suit before court and I encourage you to secure a court order to stop any other transactions in the contested land’’ he said.
Relating to reported harassment of the community by police, the RDC directed the district police commander to halt any arrest but also requested the community to respect the law as they wait for the outcome from court.
Despite claims fronted by the family disowning allegations of having sold the land to the fish company, Emanu insists that he has documents reflecting their transaction in 2017 where he acquired over 2 acres of land from the family.
In a separate interview, Emanu said he has all documents pertaining the land transactions and what has angered him is continuous poisoning of his fish hence affecting his farm production.
‘’ I did not have interest in the land but it’s the family members who contacted me but imagine even after advancing them shillings 9 million out of the agreed 15 million the family again turn against me opting to cancel the transaction after I have invested in the land. Am not ready to leave the land unless they compensate on the investment I have put on the land’’ he said.
This website has also learnt that the parties have formalized their legal battle before the Chief Magistrates Court in Tororo in two separate legal suits under Civil Suit No. 054 of 2018, David Emurion and Dinah Emurion VS Emanu and Emanu VS Dinah Emurion and Bernard Eparas.