Uganda: Rwandan Nationals Buying Land in Kabale to Resettle in Uganda

Rwandan nationals are stealthily buying land in Uganda following the tension between the two neighbouring countries. Rwanda closed its borders with Uganda on February 27 to purportedly expedite the construction of single custom at Gatuna border.

Rwanda advised truck drivers destined to Kigali to use Kagitumba border via Mirama hills. However, Rwandan officials including President, Paul Kagame later accused Ugandan authorities of abducting its citizens and locking them up in ungazetted areas.

Rwanda also accused Uganda of hosting and facilitating dissidents especially Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which have declared war on the Kigali government. Rwanda advised its citizens against travelling to Uganda, saying it can't guarantee their safety.

Now, fresh information from Katuna town council, Rubaya and Butanda sub counties in Ndorwa West County in Kabale district indicates that Rwandan nationals are stealthily crossing into Uganda to buy land for construction so they can permanently relocate.

Bernard Nturanabo, a resident of Kahungye in Butanda sub county, says he has personally seen various Rwandan nationals crossing into Uganda through the porous borders looking for land for purchase. Nturanabo says the Rwandan nationals don't mind about the fertility of the land but all they need is land for construction.

Geresome Mafuuni, the Murandamo village LC 1 chairman in Bigaga parish says most Rwandan national cross to his village at night to buy land because of fear of being arrested by Rwandan border security. Mafuuni says some Rwandan nationals have already started preparing land to construct houses, saying they want to relocate to Uganda.

Butanda sub county LC V councillor Eric Kigunzu Tumwesigye, says that he has already notified security about the Rwandan nationals crossing to his sub county to buy land. Gad Rugaaju Ahimbisibwe, the Kabale deputy resident district commissioner says their records show that more than 60 Rwandan nationals have bought land in Butanda with intentions of constructing houses.

He faults LC 1 chairpersons and Ugandan nationals for consenting to the sale of land to illegal immigrants.

"People cross to Uganda and connive with Ugandans and buy land. And when they buy land, they settle and don't go through the process. Legally they are not Ugandans, you don't become Ugandan by how many years you have stayed in Uganda. You're Ugandan by citizenship or by birth. So when you come here you're supposed to register, you go through the legal process... over 56 people crossed to Uganda, they bought land and they are beginning to develop it. That is illegal and land must be returned back to Ugandans and these Rwandans must follow the right process of how to acquire land in another country." said Rugaaju.

One of the Rwandan nationals who bought a piece of land in Murandamo village recently told our reporter on condition of anonymity that they plan to settle and become Uganda's citizens to escape the misery in their home country.

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