Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, the head of the Commission of Inquiry into land matters, has ordered for the eviction of Mbale Central Forest Reserve encroachers.
Justice Bamugemereire made the directive after interrogating one of the encroachers, Mr Hamis Maasa, in the ongoing land probe at Resort Hotel in Mbale Town.
The forest is located in Wanale Division, Mbale municipality. “The people who have encroached on the forest reserve must leave. It is a government land. We are not here to play games but we are investigating the matter concerning land grabbing,” she said.
Justice Bamugemereire said preliminary investigations indicate that Mbale Municipal Council leaders connived with businesspeople to grab 40 acres of forest land.
“We have started our investigation to find out people who obtained tittles in the forest reserve. This forest is the reason you have fresh air in Mbale,” Justice Bamugemereire said.
Mr Frederick Ruhindi, one of the commissioners, blamed municipal council leaders of disorganising the town as buildings are erected without proper plan.
“Mbale town is filthy. The public servants don’t know their responsibilities, almost all the public land, including forest reserves, have been taken and no one cares,” he said.
The Mbale District surveyor, Mr Edison Namara, said land grabbers survey the forest land at night.
“I have reported such cases to Mbale Central Police Station for investigation,” he said.