17 January 2018

Uganda: Land Grabbing - Minister Kibuule Appears Before Land Commission

Minister Ronald Kibuule is appearing before the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters sitting in Wandegeya, Kampala, to defend himself on allegations that he grabbed land in Buikwe District.

The State minister for Water, Mr Ronald Kibuule, has been accused before the commission of inquiry into land matters of fraudulently acquiring hectares of land and illegally displacing hundreds of households in Buikwe District.

Witnesses on Tuesday told the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire-led commission that Mr Kibuule, who is also the MP for Mukono North Constituency, displaced people there purporting to have bought the said land from the Namasole (Queen mother of the reigning Kabaka of Buganda).

The land measuring 261.03 hectares under contention at Kigaya-Golomolo in Buikwe District is located on block 369.

It is alleged that since July last year, Mr Kibuule deployed armed security personnel who have since arrested and jailed people as well as destroying their crops and households, forcing some to flee from their land.

Ms Sanyu Nassali, a peasant, testified that Mr Kibuule deployed armed security personnel who are currently staying in his house on the contested land where graders destroyed her crops on the orders of the minister.

"Since Mr Kibuule came to our area, many people have been arrested and jailed including our LC1 chairman, James Banda who is currently in Lugazi prison. He was denied bail," said Ms Nassali, adding that when the minister settled on land in their area, he told the disgruntled residents to go to court in case of any dispute over the contested land.

She narrated that the deployment of armed security personnel led to the arrest of her husband, Dickson Wasswa, who died six days after he was released.

Ms Nassali testified that Wasswa was one of the people who sued the minister, challenging his ownership of the contested land but he died before hearing of the case started.

The minister has since denied any role in the death of Mr Wasswa.

Apart from Mr Kibuule, the land under dispute is also claimed by senior police officer, Mr Guston Twinamatsiko, businessman Musa Kateregga, Eldard Mugisha and a one Mbowa Mudasil.

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