8 September 2017

Uganda: Museveni Warns Tooro Queen Mother Over Illegal Land Evictions

Photo: The Monitor
President Yoweri Museveni appearing on a radio talk-show

President Museveni has warned Tooro Queen Mother Best Kemigisa, against carrying out illegal land evictions.

Mr Museveni issued the warning while appearing on Voice of Tooro radio station in Fort Portal on Wednesday night as part of his nationwide campaign to explain the proposed Constitutional amendments on land.

The warning stems from complaints from some callers against the Queen mother.

Steven Mugurusi, a resident of Kitumba requested the President to reign in on Kemigisa. Mr Frank Ashaba from Kataraka, Kabarole District also asked about the land issues in Tooro kingdom where he said most people are evicted by the Queen mother Best Kemigisa.

In his response Museveni directed Kemigisa to stop the evictions, saying they are contrary to the law. "The law is very clear; no one should be evicted from their land. That person (Kemigisa) should stop," Museveni said.

He added, "The 1995 constitution does not allow anyone to evict people on land, so Best Kemigisa has no authority to evict people from the land, she is doing it illegally."

Kemigisa has in the past come under criticism for evicting families using Uganda Peoples' Defense Force (UPDF) soldiers attached to the security detail of King Oyo. Some of the families are in Kitumba and Kidukuru villages in Fort Portal. Last year, Kemigisa threatned to evict more than 70 families from a piece of land measuring 25 acres in Kitumba. She said that she wants to use the land to construct a school.

Museveni also said that should the evictions persist, the actions of Kemigisa should be brought to the attention of the local leaders in the district and action taken. "It's good you have told me who is evicting people from their land. This should stop and the leaders in the district should take note and do something", Museveni said.

In May, Tooro Elders under their umbrella, Isaazi lyAbaantu Bakuru Ba Tooro petitioned the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire Land Commission over Kemigisa's actions. On the controversial leasing of crater lakes to Ferdsult Engineering Services Limited by Kabarole district local government, Museveni said that the investor should have thoroughly consulted the community surrounding the lakes before restocking the lakes.

"The fishermen have been using the lakes for a long time, they should have been consulted before restocking started. I don't see any problem with both parties sitting to find an amicable solution", Museveni said. Kabarole District Local government in 2015 allegedly leased twenty crater lakes to Ferdsult Engineering Services Limited to restock them with Fish.

This prompted Kichwamba Sub County residents to challenge the matter in court. In June Fort Portal High Court Resident Judge, Justice Anthony Ojok Ayuko cancelled the deal citing irregularities. Ferdsult and Kabarole district local government have since appealed the judgment.

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