By Raymond Baguma
President Yoweri Museveni has assured the local communities living on land that was degazetted from Lake Mburo National Park, that they will not be evicted from land.
Museveni who is continuing his special antipoverty programme for veterans of the liberation war that will cover Luwero and Rwenzori regions, was Sunday in Kanyaryeru sub-county in Kiruhura district.
‘Luwero Triangle’ comprises of 40 districts, which also include war-affected districts in the Rwenzori region such as Kabarole, and Kasese.
Although located in Kiruhura district, Kanyaryeru Sub County is categorised as part of Luwero Triangle because it is where a group of pastoralist families originally from Luwero, were resettled. The group initially lived in the areas of Ngoma and Wakyaato; but were later relocated in the degazzetted parts of Lake Mburo National Park.
The residents had earlier in a memorandum expressed that although there are 550 households resettled on the land, only 100 households have got land titles, while the rest do not have. They expressed fear that with the lack of land titles, there is no security of tenure on the land given to them by government.
But Museveni said, “The people who have not got their land titles yet; I gave you the land and there should be no problem. For somebody settled by government, it is a lawful settlement and you cannot be evicted. No one will evict you from here.”
Museveni said that the families were originally from Luwero, mainly from the areas of Ngoma, Wakyaato, Singo, and Kyankwanzi. There are cattle keepers in the areas in search for pasture. Some of them had bought land in Buganda region while others were squatters.
The President said that the community had supported the National Resistance Army (NRA) rebels during the liberation war by surrendering their cows, which sustained the rebels for 9 months from September 1983 up to June 1984. He said that the NRA fighters ate the cows and entered into an agreement with the community to compensate them after the war.
He said that the community subsequently fled the Luwero warzone, with some fleeing to Kampala while others came to Ankroe abandoning their homes in Luwero. The community comprised of cattle keeping Banyakore, Banyoro and Banyarwanda communities.
After the war, the communities with land returned to their former homes; while the nomadic families who had no land in Luwero were resettled in degazetted protected area of Lake Mburo.
Museveni recalled that it was this cohort which he supported to transform from a nomadic pastoralist lifestyle in favour of settled livestock farming for dairy and beef production. He also said that it was with this community that he piloted the Universal Primary Education (UPE) programme after he constructed a primary and secondary school in the area, alongside other schools in present-day Gomba district, as well as the army schools.
He advised the community to focus on agricultural production for wealth creation by engaging in emprises such as dairy farming, instead of seeking employment in government. He cited that all his children are in self employment, except his son Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba who deeded to follow in his footsteps.
The state minister for animal husbandry retired Lt. Col. Bright Rwamirama said that the community will be trained on how to prepare pastures and make hay so as to improve livestock feeding during the dry season in order to boost milk yields.
He also told the community to adapt farming as a business. He also said that there are investors interested in setting up a beef processing plant at Sanga, along Mbarara-Masaka road.
There were musical performances and poetry recitals by students of Lake Mburo Secondary School. Present were ministers Eng. Abraham Byandala (works), Kamanda Bataringaya (primary education) as well as the chairperson of veterans in Uganda, Hajj Ssedunga.
Col. Fred Mwesigye, who is also the MP for Nyabushozi county and chairperson of veterans in Kiruhura district introduced a group of Indian investors who are constructing a milk processing factory at Akageti, near the government ranch of Nshaara. The factory will have capacity to process 40,000 litres of milk daily and will employ 500 people directly and 6000 people indirectly.
The President also met widows of former fighters in Luwero who included Mulema, Earnest Rushaija and Komuhangi. The President explained that he launched the veteran’s antipoverty drive after he was mobbed by a group veterans who wanted him to address their individual problems during last month’s Heroes Day commemorations in Nakaseke district.
The President assigned Col. Sikaji Tumusiime who will work alongside Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho aka Salim Saleh to promote income generation amongst veterans’ families in Kanyaryeru Sub County. He also introduced other UPDF officers who are leading other zones elsewhere.
Museveni said that the country is peaceful now and there is no threat of instability. He also cautioned families against land fragmentation saying that it makes land unviable for agriculture production.
In order to boost household incomes, Museveni said that the veterans will be provided with seedlings that oranges, pineapples, mangoes and coffee. He also encouraged them to plant elephant grass to provide animal fodder.
He directed the ministry of education and sports to complete the construction as well as repair of schools in the area. He also ordered for the construction of more valley dams in the area which is water scarce, as well as opening up access roads in the hilly areas of the sub county.