What you need to know:
- Mbale Industrial Park currently has four factories producing different products. They include Pearlight Technology, which manufactures bulbs, and Ubon Technology, which produces powder. The park is expected to house more than 50 factories.
At least 30 families that were evicted from Mbale Industrial Park land in Mbale City have appealed to President Museveni to intervene and order Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) to compensate them.
Daily Monitor has learnt that the affected families have on numerous occasions received warning letters from UIA, asking them to vacate the land but had refused until last week when they were evicted in the night.
We visited the contested land in Masanda Village, Bukasakya Sub-county, last week and found the residents’ houses flattened and the land fenced off.
The evicted residents and their family members are now living in a nearby church belonging to the Seventh Day Adventists.
The residents claimed that the operation was conducted by police and soldiers but the spokespersons of the two security agencies denied knowledge of the operation.
The UIA park manager for eastern Uganda, Ms Rosette Palma, told Daily Monitor that she was aware of the eviction but had no information on who carried it out.
Ms Palma, however, said only five families were living on the park land at the time of the eviction.
“We have compensated 99 per cent of the squatters and of the 15 others who had gone to court, five have since withdrawn the case and have also been paid,” she said.
Ms Palma added that 23 other squatters rejected compensation despite numerous engagements by various leaders.
The government acquired the said 600 acres of land in 2008 to establish the park as a precursor to job creation and economic transformation of the region.
During the commissioning of the park in 2018, President Museveni asked the remaining squatters to vacate the government land.
However, the evicted families say they declined to leave because compensation they were supposed to get was little.
“The money I was being given was too little. I could not use it to resettle that is why I did not move,” Ms Jessica Nabugeke, a 95-year-old victim, said.
The chairperson of Bukasakya Sub-county, Mr Robert Mukamba, condemned the manner in which the eviction was conducted. “The people were evicted in the way which wasn’t normal. The UIA officials have confused the President to believe that everybody was paid, which is not true,” he said.
Mr Mukamba asked the government to intervene, saying the evicted families currently are homeless and without food.
The deputy RDC, Ms Lillian Nakawesa, said she was not aware of the eviction.
“I was not aware. May be ask the RDC,” she said. The RDC, Mr Sulaiman Baraza Ogajjo, did not return our repeated calls.
The UPDF spokesperson for Elgon/Bukedi Sub-region, Lt Jude Wandera, denied allegations that UPDF soldiers were involved in the operation.
About the park
Mbale Industrial Park currently has four factories producing different products. They include Pearlight Technology, which manufactures bulbs, and Ubon Technology, which produces powder. The park is expected to house more than 50 factories.