Iganga. The Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, has ordered the ministry of Lands and ministry of Environment to expeditiously investigate the cause of a row between more than 500 Iganga District residents and the district environment office over land.
Dr Rugunda issued the directive during a meeting with the residents, Lands minister Daudi Migereko and State minister for Environment Flavia Munaaba in Buliigo village last week.
The meeting came four days after residents petitioned President Museveni who was campaigning in the area accusing district officials of colluding with unknown people to grab their land under the pretext that it’s a wetland.
The conflict started in October last year when the district environment officer, Ms Sarah Najjuma, wrote to local council chairpersons of the affected villages asking them to prepare residents for the demarcation exercise, which she said was aimed at conserving the environment.
The residents, however, cried foul and staged a demonstration on the streets of Iganga Town protesting the move.
They insisted that the stretch of about 100 acres in the six villages of Walugogo, Nakilulwe, Buliigo, Bugabwe, Bukoyo and Igamba was not part of the wetland.
During the meeting last week, the residents claimed they had not been involved in the demarcation exercise which was carried out amid heavy police deployment.
“We were not involved in the exercise and some mark stones were placed six acres away from the said wetland. We inherited this land from parents who lived on it for years and it was not a wetland,” Mr Muhammad Mpiya told Dr Rugunda.
Iganga District chairman Shaban Nkuutu told the meeting that unconfirmed reports indicate that some people had already been issued with titles to the said land, prompting Dr Rugunda to ask Mr Migereko to institute investigations into the matter.
“Start investigating this matter immediately so that we find a solution to it. Next week I will return to the area with technocrats from the two ministries,” Dr Rugunda said.