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Probe queries unaccounted 800 acres in Butaleja land row

By Andante Okanya, Edward Anyoli

Added 25th July 2018 08:28 PM

The disputed land is largely a wetland and adjacent to the Doho Irrigation scheme, where rice is grown.

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The disputed land is largely a wetland and adjacent to the Doho Irrigation scheme, where rice is grown.

LAND PROBE

KAMPALA - The land probe commission is querying ownership of 800 acres that are unaccounted for, in the Butaleja district row between the community and the prominent business family of late Abdu Hifude.

On Tuesday, the probe team was prompted into making the query after Hifude’s son, Mwamadi Hiire, could only account for about 400 acres.

Businessman Hiire 66, testified at the probe public hearing conducted at the Archives and Records centre on Lourdel Road in the city suburb of Nakasero.

The disputed land is largely a wetland and adjacent to the Doho Irrigation scheme, where rice is grown.

Asked by assistant lead counsel Andrew Odiit to ascertain the land his father bequeathed to the family, Hiire responded that Hifude started land acquisition in the 1970s.

He said Abdu Hifude also inherited land from his grandfather Waluka Hifude, who bequeathed it to Bumali Hifude.

Hiire also submitted three land sale agreements and a title for land, all totaling to about 120 hectares, which is 350 acres.

But probe chairperson Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, noted that the complaint from over 5,000 families, raises serious queries that the Hifude family cannot ignore.

“You really shouldn’t be torturing people  on that land. You have no evidence to support that claim. You only have four agreements.The land being complained about is two square miles.It is probable that you are sitting on people’s land,” Bamugemereire stated.

Commissioner Mary Ochan, remarked that it was evident that the Hifude family did not have documentary proof to support the claims over the land ownership.

When Odiit tasked him to substantiate claims that some security operatives, were intimidating the community under the influence of his family, Hiire responded that the claim was untrue.

Hiire explained that the volatile situation, compelled Police to deploy after violence and revenge attacks escalated.

He requested Bamugemereire to broker the mediation, saying it is pointless to continue living in disharmony, yet ownership can be ascertained through boundary opening. Hiire said the Hifude family would abide by findings.

Probe team

The other commissioners are Frederick Ruhindi, Robert Ssebunnya, Joyce Habaasa, Dr Rose Nakayi, and George Bagonza.

Ebert Byenkya is lead counsel, while John Bosco Suuza is assistant lead counsel.

Dr Douglas Singiza is Commission Secretary, while Daniel Rutiba is Deputy Secretary.

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