Wednesday April 23 2014

Evicted families petition Mbabazi

By Francis Mugerwa

Hoima- Hundreds of families that were evicted from Bukinda village in Kyangwali Sub-county, Hoima District have sued the government, contesting their eviction.

Through their lawyers Ngaruye Ruhindi, Spencer and Company Advocates, the residents of Marembo, Kasonga and Kyangwali villages, accuse officials in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) of irregularly evicting them from their land.

The lawyers wrote to Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi on April 12, informing him that they filed a suit against the government in the High Court’s Land Division.

The residents said late last year, a combined team of police, the army and officials in the OPM in the course of their employment and service to government, wrongfully entered their land covering about 3,500 acres and declared it to be part of Kyangwali Refugee Camp.

“They chased away the plaintiffs and their families, destroyed livestock and crops and settled refugees on approximately 40 hectares,” the letter reads in part.

The families claim that following the intervention of ministers for Internal Affairs, Lands and Disaster Preparedness, they were helped to regain their land but refugees are still settled on the said land.

A technical verification team headed by Maj Gen Julius Oketta, the director of National Emergency Coordination and Operations, in the OPM, recently presented its findings in the Hoima District Council, which indicated that the evicted families had encroached on government land.

However, the residents said their land is not part of the Kyangwali Refugee Settlement whose boundaries are clear and covers approximately 90 square kilometers on plot 6, Buhaguzi Block 3.

The residents have asked court for compensation of Shs900 million, want a declaration that their land is not part of the refugee settlement and that government officials trespassed on their land.