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Monday,November 30,2020 14:04 PM

Kiyonga report on Kibaale is out

By Vision Reporter

Added 16th April 2002 03:00 AM

The chairman elect for Kibaale District might not be sworn in tomorrow. Fred Ahabwe Ruremera is facing resentment from the native Banyoro population in Kibaale on grounds that he is an immigrant.

The chairman elect for Kibaale District might not be sworn in tomorrow. Fred Ahabwe Ruremera is facing resentment from the native Banyoro population in Kibaale on grounds that he is an immigrant.

By Gerald Businge The chairman elect for Kibaale District might not be sworn in tomorrow. Fred Ahabwe Ruremera is facing resentment from the native Banyoro population in Kibaale on grounds that he is an immigrant. The cabinet committee investigating the political and land crisis in the district wants the president to intervene. While the committee recommended that a further influx of immigrants into Kibaale be stopped, it could not make a definite recommendation on Ruremera’s position. In an interim report submitted to President Yoweri Museveni, the committee poses two scenarios. As a democratically elected chairman, Ruremera can claim his legal rights and take up office. But this could aggravate tension and lead to more resentment of immigrants in Kibaale and other parts of Uganda. The committee says that if Ruremera takes office, top political and religious leaders in the district have to be counselled before hand. The other possibility floated by the committee is to convince Ruremera to forfeit his position in the interest of diffusing tension. This scenario, which would give way to a by-election, would require the intervention of the president, according to the report. The report also says Government should create and fund a land committee as required by the 1996 Land Act, to handle land distribution. It says that with effect from this year. Government should pay off absentee landlords, mostly Baganda, so that they give up claim to the plots that were given to them by the colonial government. The committee wants Government to formulate a policy on resettlement to avoid similar crises in future. They also recommended that illegal immigrants in Kibaale be relocated to alternative settlements. President Yoweri Museveni appointed the committee in February in the wake of growing tension between the native Banyoro and Bakiga immigrants. Dr. Crispus Kiyonga, national Political Commissar, chaired the committee. Other members of the committee are Prof. Omwony Ojok, state minister for economic monitoring; Beatrice Magoola, Iganga Woman Member of Parliament (MP) and Catherine Amajo, Kaberamaido woman MP. Reliable sources say the committee gave its interim report to the president on April 9, 2002, but will continue with the investigations. Ruremera was one of the people interviewed by the committee. The tension in Kibaale heightened after Ruremera, an immigrant, won the Kibaale district LC5 seat with 55.4% of the votes in an election clouded by ethnic sentiments. Political analysts say Ruremera won because the immigrant Bakiga now outnumber the native Banyoro in Kibaale. A cross section of Banyoro have vowed to block Ruremera from swearing in and taking up office as the district LC5 boss. They equate Ruremera’s impending leadership to colonisation. Ruremera on the other hand says his election reflects the will of the majority and therefore nothing should stop him from taking up office. He also argues that he had support from all tribes in the district, including ethnic Banyoro. Kiyonga’s committee said that to diffuse the tension and reach a consensus, each side of the conflict has to make a sacrifice. “The solution to the prevailing problems in Kibaale requires a lot of give-and-take rather than looking straight into the legal provisions. It is for this reason that the committee is seeking further intervention of the president before April 18,” says the report. The committee warned that if the tension is not diffused it might lead to bloodshed. Their fears are not far fetched. On Easter Sunday, an ethnic clash in Kakindo sub-county sent over 200 Bakiga fleeing to a temporary settlement in neighbouring Nalweyo. Seven days later, unknown people broke into the office of the LC3 Chairperson for Kirayanga sub-county and burnt all documents and furniture. The attackers left a letter threatening to kill the chairman, a Mukiga, if he does not vacate the seat. Recommendations l Further influx of immigrants into Kibaale should be halted. l Illegal immigrants be resettled in alternative places. l The 1994 Land Act should be implemented. l President Yoweri Museveni should intervene. l Government should formulate a resettlement policy. Committee findings Position of the Banyoro l We have no problem with the formal settlements of Bakiga in Kagadi-Rutete and Kisita between the 1960s and early 1990s, but we are against the illegal influx of their relatives and friends since the mid 1995s. l We do not dispute anybody’s constitutional right to settle anywhere, but the massive influx of the Bakiga looks like a plan to wipe us out. l The Bakiga immigrants have land titles while for us we are squatters on our own land. l The influx of Bakiga brings memories of the conquest and annexation of Bunyoro by Buganda in the early 20th century. l Corrupt LCs help illegal immigrants to acquire land. l The Bakiga cut trees and cause land degradation. l The Bakiga are provocative, cunning and do not respect our culture l We cannot be ruled by a non-Munyoro Bakiga l We are in Kibaale to stay. l We came to Kibaale peacefully under two resettlement schemes. l We have a constitutional right to expand beyond the boundaries of the resettlement schemes. l Some of us settled on our fathers’ land then slowly bought from public/mailo land l We have been more hardworking than the Banyoro and that is how we developed our areas Ends

Kiyonga report on Kibaale is out

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