Uganda: 300 Iganga Families Face Eviction

17 September 2019

Tension is high at Buligo Village, Buligo Parish in Iganga Municipal Council after officials of Busoga University accused residents of encroaching on their land.

Officials from the ministry of Lands and the university at the weekend stormed the disputed land and started opening boundaries, where more than 300 families face eviction.

The land, officials from the university claim, is part of the 89 acres that the Church of Uganda gave the institution 10 years ago.

On the disputed land sits Buligo Primary School, a government-aided school, mosques and churches among other properties belonging to the residents.

The officials were accompanied by the Resident District Commissioner, Ms Eva Kwesiga, and the District Police Commander, Mr David Ndaula.

Mr Job Mwegombi, the Dean of Students, said the land on which some families were living was for the institution and they have its land title.

"The land was given to the university by the Church of Uganda which is reported to have bought it in the 1930s.

"It is for the university and we have a land title of 2005. We are here to open the boundaries before government takes over the university," Mr Mwegombi said.

However, as the exercise went on amid high deployment of armed police officers. The affected residents cried foul, accusing the university of conniving with Iganga District officials to grab their land.

Ms Zulufa Nabirye, one of the affected residents, said they have lived on the land for many years, with some of them possessing land tiles.

"Where were they when we were buying and constructing on this land? I bought this land 20 years ago and even possess its land title," Ms Nabirye said.

Background

Early last week, the Iganga municipality Member of Parliament, Mr Peter Mugema, alias Panadol, accused the university of conniving with some leaders to grab people's land and challenged the institution to produce a land title of the 1920s when locals settled on the land.

"Residents have lived on this land for more than 50 years; if the land is theirs, how could they look on as locals occupied it? This is a ploy to grab people's land, which I wont accept," he said.

Authorities

The Resident District Commissioner, Ms Eva Kwesiga, said the ministry of Lands and the Office of the President were interested in establishing the boundaries of the land before the university is officially taken over [by government].

She added that there were plans to compensate the affected people.

"The surveyors are here to open the boundaries and later report to the President to have the affected residents compensated.

"Majority of the local leaders know the truth about this land but surprisingly, they are the ones deceiving and inciting the residents," said Ms Kwesiga.

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