Nantaba defies court order, dares eviction
Posted Saturday, January 5 2013 at 02:00
Land question. The minister, who said the 34 people she sought to resettle were illegally evicted, had issued a two-week ultimatum to the landlord.
The state minister for Lands and her agents on Wednesday attempted to enter the controversial land in Kokotero Village in Kayunga District, despite a court order restraining her from entering the land.
Ms Ida Nantaba tried to forcibly evict the area landlord, Mr Paul Kiwanuka, following a two-week ultimatum she had issued earlier. The land would be given back to the 34 people who claim that they were illegally evicted by the landlord.
Ms Nantaba had ordered Mr Kiwanuka to remove his 300 head of cattle from the 365-acre land. “I gave him enough time to remove his cattle but he has failed to do so. I am going to get a place where I will put them. I am not bothered by the court order,” she said.
Mr David Batema, the deputy registrar of the High Court in Jinja, issued the temporary order against Ms Nantaba restraining her and her agents from entering, allocating and destroying any property on the land.
The court order came hardly a week after the minister allegedly oversaw what she described as “giving back land to the rightful owners” who claim to have been evicted in 2004.
Ms Nantaba says Mr Kiwanuka did not compensate the tenants before evicting them, a claim Mr Kiwanuka denies, saying the tenants signed agreements acknowledging receipt of payment for their land.
But because it was already late (6pm), Ms Nantaba promised to carry out the exercise the following day. However, on Thursday morning the landlord deployed 50 “arrow boys” on his farm. The evictees also organised themselves with pangas and clubs, prompting police to intervene.
However, the minister, who had promised to arrive in the area by 8am did not appear.
The Kayunga district police commander, Mr Bob Kagarura, said they had deployed to ensure peace and security in the area. “I am ready to die here but I will not accept anybody to take away my land,” Mr Kiwanuka said.