800 pastoralists displaced as govt starts eviction
Posted Saturday, February 9 2013 at 02:00
The pastoralists complain of harassment and destruction of their houses by State House operatives as well as teargas by
Tension is high in Kakuuto Sub-county in Rakai District due to an ongoing forceful eviction of about 800 herdsmen from
Sango Bay land.
The affected pastoralists have been occupying areas around Kanamiti, Kabale, Mutukula, Sango Bay, Minziiro and Kabonera
villages. A group of people claiming to be State House officials led by Mr Ignatius Tumwesigye have launched a forceful
eviction exercise of the herdsmen from the Sango Bay land to pave way for its allocation to a private investor.
On Monday, the officials set ablaze several huts belonging to the herdsmen in Kanamiti, Mutukula, Mayanja and Matengeeto
villages and ordered them to leave. Mr Umar Mugambe, one of the affected pastoralists, who are currently stuck in Kakuuto Trading Centre, accused Mr Tumwesigye and his men of using excessive force.
He said the officials, who were backed by riot police and UPDF soldiers, fired teargas and beat them while accusing them of
defying several eviction notices. Mr Mugambe claims that the land has been occupying belongs to his family because they
acquired it from Rakai District Land Board.
Mr Yusuf Kanyeihamba, a herdsman, accused the government operatives of assaulting him despite the fact that he presented
documents allowing him to stay on the land. Mr Kanyeihamba claims that he is in possession of titles for plots 98, 100 and
101 Buddu block, which he acquired from Rakai District Land Board. He said he will not leave and is ready to die defending
Meanwhile, 50 –year- old Elifaazi Nkunda, who has been living in Kibale Village in Kakuuto sub- county said he is stranded
with his family of 19 and 100 head of cattle after their home was destroyed in the eviction process. Mr Nkunda said he is
finding it difficult to keep the animals in one place as they keep straying into people’s gardens and homes. He said he is
worried that they may be attacked by the armed operatives.
However, Mr Tumwesigye told Uganda Radio Network on phone that he is only enforcing an eviction order issued by Sango Bay and Ministry of Finance. He however refused to explain why they are burning the pastoralists’ homes.
Mr David Kaboyo, the Rakai Resident District Commissioner, has declined to comment saying that he is not aware of the
eviction exercise. In 2012, the government cancelled the 99-year lease offer to Sharad Patel Simunibayi, the owner of Sango
Bay and allocated the 20,000 acre piece of land to Nusiveda Sugar Limited, an Asian firm to establish a sugar factory.