MASAKA – Residents of Kasanje village, Kyesiiga sub-county, Masaka district are living in fear of losing their homes, property and food after the court gave a green light for their eviction.
Masaka Chief Magistrate Deogratius Ssejjemba on Friday, 12 July ruled that over 500 households had settled on Joseph Bukenya’s land without his consent.
The disputed land measures about three hundred and fifty (350) hectares.
The court on that account approved the eviction of the unlawful settlers off Bukenya’s property.
Mr Ssejjemba gave the residents an ultimatum of six months to leave the land with their property including houses and food.
“I am issuing a permanent injunction against the defendants to vacate the land and also remove all their property including houses and plantations, failure to do so, in the given time, the force will be applied,” he said.
The justice stated that the plaintiff had provided evidence beyond reasonable doubt ( a land title) while the defendants had failed to satisfy the court that they had lived on the land for over forty years.
However Paul Buzaale the chairman
Kasanje village objected the ruling saying that they had stayed on the land for over twelve years and so the law recognizes them as Bonafide occupants.
“The law recognizes a person who has lived on the land for more than twelve years as a bona fide occupant,” he said.
Buzaale further expressed his dissatisfaction with the evidence provided Bukenya saying that his title was fake.
He also clarified that he had bought five hectares of the disputed land fifteen years ago and vowed to fight tooth and nail for his land.
The magistrate explained that the settlers were not settled by the government on the land which has the responsibility over property left by the Asians.
The disputed piece of land is said to have belonged to the Asians before they were forced out of Uganda in the 1970s by the then president of Uganda Iddi Amin Dada.