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Our leaders are cheating us ― Kagadi residents

By Ismael Kasooha

Added 17th May 2018 09:40 AM

Festo Mujulizi from Galiraya village said that their leaders are only cheating them of their hardly earned money.

Barnabastinkasimireaddressingresidentsinmpeefusubcountykagadidistrict 703x422

Festo Mujulizi from Galiraya village said that their leaders are only cheating them of their hardly earned money.

Barnabas-Tinkasimire addressing residents in Mpeefu sub-county, Kagadi-district. Photos by Ismail Kasooha

The residents Mpeefu, Ndaiga and Kyaterekera sub counties in Kagadi district say they were told to pay sh10,000 per person to hire a surveyor for their land.

Samuel Arinaitwe the parish councilor for Nyamukara in Mpeefu sub-county says they were forced to pay money and even threatened if they didn’t comply.

“We are in great pain for being ordered to pay money that the leaders claimed was meant to facilitate the surveying of land at submit evidence to the land probe commission,” said Arinaitwe.

Festo Mujulizi from Galiraya village said that their leaders are only cheating them of their hardly earned money.

“Our leaders want more and do not care about the conditions we live in,” said Mujulizi.

However, the leaders of the pressure group collecting the money denied any allegations of extortion, arguing that the people decided to collect money after they were abandoned by their leaders, yet they want security on their land.

Robert Nkwasibwe Birahuri the LC3 chairman Mpeefu sub-county said on April 30 2018, they held a meeting with some community members from the affected sub-counties and the resolution was to engage the community in payment of the surveyors. The meeting resolved that each village contributes sh500,000.

 

Tinkasimire showing cadastral maps to residents of Mpeefu sub-county Kagadi district

The collection of money was a resolution of the affected people not a ploy to fleece the people of their money, said Nkwasibwe.

He said they tried to register their complaint with the land probe commission, but they were asked to present evidence that their land was titled without their knowledge by people who have never lived on that land.

Alex Turyasingura the district councilor for Kyaterekera sub-county said the Minister for Lands Betty Amongi went to the affected sub-counties and promised to cancel the land titles, which had been acquired fraudulently, but nothing has come to pass.

“What is wrong with people collecting money to rescue their much treasured land,” said Nkwasibwe.

He said they had so far collected sh6.2m from 16 villages in Mpeefu out of the 42 villages and 5 villages out of the 23 in Kyaterekera sub-county, while none of the villages in Ndaiga had collected money yet.

The contested land is said to have been titled by some residents in the district without the knowledge of the occupants.

During the 2016 campaigns, President Yoweri Museveni promised to compensate the land title owners, but nothing has been done.

The Buyaga west Member of Parliament Barnabas Tinkasimire has said the collection of money should stop, arguing that it was extortion.

“I have received several complaints from peasants that leaders are forcing them to pay money, claiming it is meant to hire a private surveyor to locate coordinates and determine the owners of the title. The manner in which it is being done is not clear and this must stop,” said Tinkasimire.

Tinkasimire said that the land probe commission has the capacity to investigate any land related issues and get evidence because it is facilitated.

“I’m the representative of these people and if there is any money needed to facilitate the exercise I will pay, but what I don’t want is collecting money from residents,” said Tinkasimire.

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