Friday February 12 2016

Mpokya evictees plan demo over delayed pay

By Ephraim Kasozi


A group of 1,097 people who were evicted from Mpokya Forest Reserve in Kibaale District are frustrated with failure by the government to pay their Shs21 billion compensation even after President Museveni directed that the matter be handled urgently.

They have now vowed to demonstrate in Kampala next week, their leader Milton Twehangane said yesterday, after repeated visits to the Ministry of Finance yielded nothing.

However, the Secretary to the Treasury, Mr Keith Muhakanizi, yesterday said government was committed to paying the disgruntled claimants and there was no cause for a demonstration.

The 1,230 evictees are part of the 3,543 people who took government to court for damages sustained during the 1992 eviction exercise.
The group was evicted in 1992 but up to now, a big number of them have never received anything, while a few have received a maximum of Shs500,000 out of the Shs12m which Court awarded each of them, together with interest after winning a case in High Court.

Mr Milton Twehangane, the leader of the group, said after the eviction, the people are now spread in the districts of Kibaale (where the majority are), Kyenjojo, Kabarole, Kyegegwa, Buhweju, Rubirizi, Kamwenge, Kasese, Ibanda while others are in Mbarara, Rukungiri, Kanungu and Kabaale.

He said the evictees were persuaded into voting the National Resistance Movement (NRM) flag bearer in 2011 after promising them that their money would be paid immediately but, to-date, no money has been paid.

“We have been frustrated enough. Government officials keep telling us to come back the following day, week or month for so many years so far. But what is baffling is the fact that the money accumulates interest of six percent per annum. It has since accumulated to Shs21 billion,” Mr Twehangane said in an interview with Daily Monitor.

Mr Muhakanizi said government has since paid part of it, remaining with Shs10.5 billion to clear the entire claim.