AMOLATAR – Government is investigating a land dispute over the ownership of 100 acres of land in Namasale Town Council, Amolatar District that escalated into riots in July that resulted in the destruction of property.
The dispute has pitted the residents of Bungu Cell against a one Juliet Katushabe, who claims the land belonged to her deceased father, Kaweki Nafutali.
Following the riots, the Minister for Local Government, Hon. Raphael Magyezi, met with the area leaders and their counterparts from Nakasongola District with the aim of finishing a lasting solution to the impasse.
During a media briefing at Parliament, on Friday, 08 August 2023, the minister accompanied by area MPs and district officials, said Katushabe’s claim on the land was not the first.
“Reports indicate that this is not her first time to make claims in the area and get compensation. It is possible that there may be other people behind this. If her claims are genuine, then government has a responsibility to secure them but if they are false, then action will be taken,” said Magyezi.
Magyezi added that perpetrators of crimes committed during the riots will be investigated and action taken.
The concerns of the effects of the demonstration were brought before the Prime Minister, Robinah Nabanjja, by Nakasongola County MP, Hon. Noah Mutebi, which prompted a meeting to be convened to solve the impasse.
On Sunday, 16 July 2023, rioters in Namasale demonstrated in light of information that Katushabe planned to evict residents.
According to Mutebi, the demonstration which affected some residents of Zengebe Landing Site in Nakasongola District, led to looting and destruction of property, and injury of locals in the area.
“Vehicles were vandalised, fish was confiscated and houses were burnt. We urge the district security committees in Amolatar and Nakasongola to compile a list of the affected persons so that we manage this further,” he said.
Moses Okot (FDC, Kioga County) said a letter to hold a meeting with Namasale residents, written by Katushabe’s lawyers, Eyotre & Company Advocates, was not done in consultation with the district leadership.
“The actions by Katushabe are a manifestation of land grabbing cartels. Preliminary reports indicate that Eyotre does not exist and thus punitive measures should be taken by the Law Council and the Uganda Law society,” said Okot.
James Olobo (NRM, Kioga North County) called on residents of Amolatar district to be cautious about their land.
“I warn our people to be careful with their land. There are people who are trying to grab land in the interest of compensation from government because of upcoming projects,” Olobo warned.
Geoffrey Ocen, the Chairperson, Amolatar District Local Government, pinned the Officer in Charge (OC) of Namasale Police Station for linking Katushabe to the land in question.
“He is the one who distributed the letter from Katushabe and he misguided the district security committee. We resolved that the OC be arrested and prosecuted accordingly,” Ocen added.
Nakasongola District Woman Representative, Hon. Victorious Zawedde, noted that there was a planned demonstration by residents of Zengebe Landing Site, and called on locals to keep calm and await government’s mediation.
“Nakasongola people are landless and have often urged government to avail land funds to enable them own land. I request government to develop strategic interventions to address this matter,” said Zawedde.
Benard Sekyanzi (NRM, Budyebo County) reiterated calls to residents of Nakasongola District to allow government to weigh in matters of land conflicts.