Residents, investor  face off over eviction 

Some of the tenants with placards calling for the intervention of the President and Prime Minister in Mukono last week.  Photo/JESSICA SABANO

What you need to know:

  • Speaking at the commemoration of Heroes Day on June 8, 2021 at Kololo Independence Grounds in Kampala, President Museveni said the Mailo land tenure is evil and should be dismantled.
  • Mr Museveni expressed particular disapproval of the Mailo land tenure, one of four land holdings provided under the Constitution, for alleged rampant evictions of Bibanja holders. The other tenures are customary, leasehold and freehold.

Residents of Kazinga Village in Nakifuma-Nagalama Town Council, Mukono District, who had repossessed their bibanja on the orders of State minister for Lands Sam Mayanja, have been evicted.

The residents claim that they were evicted by UPDF soldiers hired by an investor, Mr Ismail Muhammed, who claims ownership of the 50-acre piece of land.

On February 25, Minister Mayanja, during a meeting held in Kazinga Village, directed that the residents return to the 50-acre piece of land.

But the tenants told Daily Monitor that the minister’s orders have not been respected because when they tried to use their land, the UPDF soldiers chased them.
They added that the investor has started planting mark stones on the land and putting roads, destroying their crops under the supervision of soldiers.

Ms Farida Namakula, one of the affected residents, said she has been on the land for more than 30 years and was born there.
“We have been having issues on this but when we held the last meeting with Minister Mayanja, he ordered us to go back and use our land. Unfortunately on Thursday, we found that our crops were destroyed,” Ms Namakula said.

Some residents claimed that the authorities connived with the investor to evict them from their bibanja, noting that the latter would have not brought UPDF soldiers to provide protection during the evictions.
Some of the crops destroyed include sweet potatoes, banana plantations and cassava.

Mr Charles Bilinga, a resident, alleged that during the evictions, they approached different offices, including that of the RDC, but have not got any help. Ms Jalia Nakijoba, the official of the Kabaka in the area, said the land is under Buganda Kingdom as her office has been collecting busuulu (ground rent) from the bibanja owners since 1991.

Death threats
Ms Nakijoba, however, said her life is in danger as she is getting death threats for siding with the tenants.
The residents called upon President Museveni and Prime Minister Robinah Nabanja to intervene in the matter.

When contacted, Minister Mayanja said he was aware of the land  issues of  Kazinga and promised to return to the area. “I am ready to go back and have a mediation between the Indian investor and the residents to see that the matter is resolved,” he said.

Mukono Deputy RDC Mike Segawa, whom the locals accused of conspiring with the investor to evict them, said the bibanja owners and the investor have had several meetings chaired by the minister so that the matter ends in a win-win situation.

The land in question is found on Block 40, plots 192 and 194. This land also has a school and a mosque on it.