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Land: Masaka residents protest eviction

By Dismus Buregyeya

Added 20th August 2018 05:16 PM

The affected residents are bibanja holders on the disputed land which originally belonged to Asians

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The affected residents of Kasanje village outside the court premises. Photo by Dismus Buregyeya

The affected residents are bibanja holders on the disputed land which originally belonged to Asians

Over 200 residents from Kyesiga sub-county in Masaka district stormed Masaka Chief Magistrates Court in protest against the treat of eviction from disputed land.

The affected residents who included women from Kasanje village wept as they narrated how the evictions were a nightmare for them.

The incident on Monday came after residents trekked over 40km from Kyesiga to the court to air their concerns.

The Kyesiga sub-county council speaker, Mudasilu Bbaale, told New Vision that one of the prominent elders from Masaka identified as Joseph Bukenya, had allegedly claimed ownership of over 300 acres of the disputed land.

He said the affected residents are bibanja holders on the disputed land which originally belonged to Asians before they were expelled by the former President Iddi Amin in 1971.

Bbaale said Bukenya had initially dragged some of the residents to court on charges of criminal trespass.

The residents who were dragged to court include, Paul Buzaale, Peter Sserwanga, Francis Ssenyange, Harima Nakalema, Namwandu Byarugaba, Lwanga Butenza, Alex Muddu and John Mukaku. John Mukiga and Adam Bakku who were also on the charge list died.

 

Bbaale said the case has languished in court for over nine years.

He said the then Masaka RDC Bwambale Bamusede who had handled the matter, advised the affected residents to pay obusuulu fees to Bukenya.

He said the advice did not work because both parties failed to agree due to eviction developments.

“The residents and our grandchildren have grown on the land, it is not fair for one individual to come and threaten to evict almost the entire village without considering the bibanja holders,” he said.

Bbaale said it is not a wise decision to arrest and prosecute the residents over trespass related matters.

“We need peace and harmony in the village, forceful evictions approach does not work in this era,” he said.

The residents asked Vice President Edward Ssekandi who is the area MP, to intervene in the matter.

Vincent Mugerwa a resident said the government should look for land to settle the affected residents.

The deputy principle private secretary to the Vice President, Vincent Musubire, advised the residents to remain calm since the matters are awaiting court redress.

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