Wednesday April 25 2018

Former MP Otada locked in Kiryandongo land wrangle

Former Kibanda County MP Sam Otada

Former Kibanda County MP Sam Otada  

By MISAIRI THEMBO KAHUNGU

Kampala- Former Kibanda County MP Sam Otada has been accused of attempting to grab 100 acres of land from 52 families in Bimyika, Kiryandongo District.

The residents, who claim Mr Otada and two others are threatening to evict them, have petitioned President Museveni and the Inspector General of Police to come to their rescue.

This newspaper has seen copies of the two letters to the President, in which the residents narrate that they settled on the said land in 1987 and have lived undisturbed until 2016 when the former legislator sent three people to evict them.

According to the residents, Mr Otada started behaving strangely shortly after losing the Kibanda North parliamentary seat to Mr Tampo Amin. In the letter signed by the Bimyika community chairperson, Mr Arafat Gadaffi Ocira, the residents pleaded with the President to resolve the matter so that they can be given titles as bonafide tenants that have occupied the land for more than 12 years.

According to Mr Hitler Mukasa, the affected community’s secretary, before they received response from President Museveni, the former MP sued them at the Masindi Magistrate’s Court where they have been battling the case of trespass. The ruling on the case is expected next month.

The residents, through their lawyers, Okurut and Company Advocates on March 23, wrote to the Inspector General of Police, Mr Martin Okoth-Ochola, complaining of continuous intimidation and malicious damage of their property by Mr Otada’s agents even before court decides the case.

“The violence against our clients is akin to mob justice and sometimes disguised as tribal conflict between the Paluo tribe of Hon Otada and the minority tribes where our clients belong,” the lawyers say.

Most of the people in the affected community are Alur, Lugbara, Acholi, Langi, Iteso and Karimojong.

Otada’s response
Mr Otada, who acknowledged suing the 52 families, disputed claims that his agents have been attacking them and destroying their properties.
He said the recent attacks were carried out by the same group targeting “peaceful tenants” that he has been hosting on the land.
“They are the ones carrying out attacks on my peaceful tenants after knowing that they refused to join their cause of stealing my land. Those people are peasants; what can I gain from attacking them and destroying their properties? I am not a fool to sue someone in the courts of law and attack him or her at the same time,” he said.
Mr Otada said he owns 700 acres of land in the area but the contested part is about 300 acres where the people, who were running away from the LRA insurgency, settled in 1987.

mkthembo@ug.nationmedia.com

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