MUBENDE – Residents and leaders in Kassanda District have asked the Commission of Inquiry into land matters chaired by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire to investigate their area MP Simeo Nsubuga over land grabbing and masterminding land scams using cronies such a one Sam Bitangaro.
Residents pin their area legislator of aiding violent land evictions and land grabbing in the district, hence inviting the land commission to intervene in what they have called an ‘escalating’ violent land evictions championed by Mr. Nsubuga.
“We are taking these issues to the lands ministry permanent Secretary, the land commission and Anti Corruption Unit,” one of the leaders said adding that fake land tittle owned by businessman Sam Bitangaro must be cancelled.
“They [Sam Bitangaro and Simeo Nsubuga] manipulated the titles in Bukompe after stealing Luwunga reserve that belonged to Kiboga evictees,” another resident added urging Sam Bitangaro to refund the money to Luwunga evictees and his tittle canceled because “it is fake”.
Asked the whether the businessman owns any land in other contested areas such as Bukompe, residents claimed the Bitangaro has never owned any land in the area noting that ” his an impostor who has the backup of Simeo Nsubuga.
“Whoever speaks about the massive land scam by them, is accused of working for Abid [Alam],” the added.
“We have been on this land for 64 years now. We can’t just seat and watch them taking our land,” one of the residents who in the edge of being evicted in the massive land scam said, urging colleagues to fight the MP for not only terrorizing wananchi but also for being actively involved in the Luwunga Forest Reserve conflict.
For a long time, Mr. Nsubuga whose constituency has a lot of land wrangles and violent evictions is accused of allegedly abetting the encroachment on Luwunga land.
The accusation against the legislator who vocally supported the lifting of the presidential age limit is leveled by residents of Bukompe, Kyakantebe now in the Luwunga Forest Reserve conflict.
In one of the recent country tour meetings, the Head of State House Anti-Corruption Unit, Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema, said her team would raid Mubende and Kiboga and that wrongdoers will pay for their actions.
She promised residents that her team would arrest all the people involved in the land scam especially those who sold air to government.
“I thank the Kiboga district leaders for caring for the people. We shall not allow people to suffer. Thank you for being peaceful in spite of the provocations. We shall arrest the wrong people. Those who sold air to Government will be arrested,” she vowed.
Background of the land scam
State House in August this year arrested a number of people implicated in a botched plan by government to resettle over 2,500 families that were evicted from Luwunga Forest Reserve in Kiboga District.
While others fled residents claim that their area MP Simeo Nsubuga and Sam Bitangaro were part of the scam and that they should be investigated and arrested to pay for their impunity.
The failed exercise cost the government of UGX3 billion which was donated by President Museveni for purposes of getting land for resettling the evicted people.
According to the Observer Newspapet, another 1.5 billion was from the National Forestry Authority, which had a target of providing essential facilities, such as schools, to the former residents of Luwunga.
It was established that the residents who were affected by the eviction, had formed Kiboga Twegate Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization (SACCO) with the aim of facilitating the acquisition of land for their resettlement.
However, UGX 1.65 billion out of the UGX.3 billion was paid to Kampala-based lawyer Mr. Sam Bitangaro who was supposed to avail land on which the evictees would be resettled in Kassanda District.
It was disclosed that a well-known land dealer in Kassanda District, Mr. William Tumwine and Mr,. Nsubuga the Kassanda South MP, facilitated the connection to Mr. Sam Bitangaro whose the latter’s crony.
To save the embattled families, businessman Abid Alam, who has heavily invested in Kassanda District, offered the land victims a portion from the land that he owns in the area.
The evictees commended Mr. Alam for his gesture.
Mr. Alam had in the past bought several acres of land from Mr. Sam Bitangaro.
However, Mr. Bitangaro who is said to have worked with other people including Simeo Nsubuga is said to have sold the same piece of land to the Luwunga Forest Reserve evictees, a situation that led the wananchi to having land titles without land on the ground.
Kiboga District LC5 Chairman, Israel Iga has also confirmed the development.
He said the incident progressed in 2005 and the government resolved to resettle the evictees.
He, however, observed that strangers whose aim was to benefit from the proposed land acquisition had infiltrated Twegate Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization.
He revealed that some of the impostors supported by Simeo Nsubgua do not even know where Luwunga Forest Reserve is.