11 December 2018

Uganda: Mudimi Blasts MPs Over Land for Resettling Mudslide Victims

Kampala — Elgon County MP Ignatius Wamakuyu Mudimi has shot back at the parliamentary committee report on the status of the resettlement of landslide victims in Bugisu sub-region.

While addressing journalists yesterday, Mr Wamakuyu said the report seeks to malign him because his involvement in the government purchase of the disputed land was based on the powers of attorney granted to him by three people who formerly owned part of the land.

Mr Wamakuyu said he represented three Catholic priests based in the United States of America; the Rev Fr Patrick Watikha, the Rev Fr Godfrey Manana and the Rev Fr Andrew Mutubusi to handle the transaction on 1,688 acres.

"My involvement was to ensure that the resettlement project succeeds. I have been a leader for about a decade in that area of Bunambutye. I was there for 20 years until I shifted to Elgon County. I know the character of people in making multiple sales," he said.

Recommendations

The Presidential Affairs Committee last week presented a report on the resettlement of landslide victims in Bugisu. The report recommended prosecution of Mr Wamakuyu for alleged irregular involvement in the sale of land worth Shs4.2 billion to government through the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) to facilitate resettlement of landslide survivors.

The land is part of the larger 2,876 acres of land in Bunambutye Sub-county in Bulambuli District, which government bought at Shs8 billion to resettle the survivors.

The committee was tasked to investigate the conflicts surrounding the land acquired by OPM to resettle more than 150,000 people from mudslide-prone areas around Mt Elgon. It followed media reports that more than Shs32 billion allocated for the purchase of the land and resettlement activities had been swindled.

"I am ready to defend myself and show the huge gaps in the report which include failure to consider the relevant documents on the transaction and a survey report. My prayer is to implore my colleagues to interest themselves in the facts and have the report expunged from public records," said Mr Wamakuyu ahead of the parliamentary debate of the report today.

He described the allegations against him as political.

"If you look at the report, it is not debated yet. I will show Parliament the gaps and move an action of Parliament to have it expunged from the public records. It is based on a record which was already overtaken by events," the visibly agitated legislator said.

Effects

According to the report, in March 2010, the landslide disaster in Bududa District claimed lives of more than 350 people and displaced more than 8,000 persons. As a result, more than 2,000 residents displaced by landslides in different villages in Bududa sought refuge in the nearby schools, churches and trading centres.

In 2011, a mudslide in Bulambuli killed 28 people while in 2012 another mudslide killed six people in Sironko District and buried 18 others in Bududa.

In October, a landslide disaster hit Bukalasi Sub-county in Bududa and claimed more than 54 lives, injured 33 and destroyed property worth millions of Shillings in 13 villages leaving many displaced.

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