Masindi court says Balaalo eviction illegal
Posted Wednesday, January 23 2013 at 02:00
Ruling. The judge said the eviction was illegal since the defendants failed to produce the court order.
High Court in Masindi District has declared the eviction of herdsmen, commonly known as the “Balaalo”, from Buliisa District on December 12, 2010, as illegal and unconstitutional.
In his ruling yesterday, Justice Ralph Ochan noted that though the defendants represented by the principal state attorney, Mr Wanyama Kadoli, claim that the eviction was constitutional and that it was effected using a court order, the copy of the order was never presented to court.
“It’s clear from the 1995 constitution that the powers of the state are not immutable,” Justice Ochan said, adding that the defendants ignored the court order issued by the High Court in Masindi staying the eviction.
“I find that the eviction was unlawful and unconstitutional, and therefore the applicants are entitled to compensation and general damages of Shs2 million each by these unlawful state agents,” Ochan said.
The ruling stems from an application filed in the Masindi court by 158 Balaalo, led by Ms Grace Bororoza, against Gen. David Ssejusa, formerly known as Tinyenfunza, the Inspector General of Police, Gen. Kale Kayihura, the Attorney General, the Buliisa County MP, Mr Stephen Birahwa among others, over illegal eviction from the land they acquired in Buliisa.
The eviction was followed by ethnic tensions between the indigenous Bagungu and the Balaalo in Buliisa, that left several people injured and their property destroyed.
The Bagungu, led by the area MP Stephen Birahwa, claimed that the disputed land in Kicoke, Kataleba and Waiga villages in Buliisa, was owned communally by the Bagungu, while the Balaalo argued that they bought the land from the locals.