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3 million slip into poverty as Covid-19 strikes economy



Traders sit outside shopping arcades that were closed to mitigate the spread of coronavirus in March. The Covid-19 disruption on economy is pushing 3.1 million Ugandans into poverty. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA

The Covid-19 disruption on the economy is pushing 3.1 million Ugandans into poverty, the United Nations has warned in a report on socio-economic impact of the pandemic in Uganda.
The “Socio-economic impact of Covid-19 in Uganda” which was released yesterday in Kampala during a high-level discussion on implementation of sustainable development goals, shows that the lockdown and containment measures made 1.9 million non-poor to become insecure and another 1.9 million insecure individuals become poor.
“The increase in poverty among wage earners could be felt most in eastern and northern regions, due to many households already highly vulnerable to poverty in this regions,”  the report reads in part.

The latest report on poverty comes just days after Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG) and Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE) in partnership with the Ministry of Finance,  Planning and Economic Development, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Sports, and Ministry of Local Government held a high-level policy dialogue on reopening uganda’s economy this week and asked authorities to focus on the wellbeing of the economy.

According to the report, poverty rate in eastern region is projected to shoot from 28.8 per cent to 53.3 per cent, northern region will shift from 30.3 per cent to 44.8 per cent, western region will experience a rise from 13.2 per cent to 31.7 per cent and central region will experience a rise from 8.9 per cent to 18.8 per cent, according to the report.

“If the pandemic is not contained in the short term and the social distancing measures remains in place, the increase in unemployment is expected to increase the poverty rate among wage earners from 17 per cent to 32.7 per cent,”  the report stated.
The UN recommended: “Cautious borrowing could cushion the economy and improve industry, innovation, and infrastructure, reduce inequality and improve the outlook for zero hunger.”
The resident coordinator of the UN, Ms Rosa Malango, asked government to address the problem of corruption and poor implementation of projects that has left the population in poverty.

Ms Malango said the UN is now engaging private sector players to increase the impact of its poverty eradication programme at grass roots.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us why we must not relax; there will be no post-Covid-19 time. We need to engage our partners on the discussion around corruption and integrity to put the interest of people at grassroots and other vulnerable population at the centre stage,” she said during the conference.

“We are not doing business as usual. We are having engagements with private sector in order to reach the 68 per cent of Ugandans who are in informal economy into formal economy.  The UN has in recent time launched a series of partnerships with JUMIA, ABSA bank Safe Boda. We are also partnering with Stanbic bank to teach savings groups in village financial literacy,” she said.
Ms Malango said they have also partnered with government in the Shs715 billion agro-industrialisation for local development initiative in the Rwenzori Sub-region to address the problem of poverty.

On addressing the poverty and unemployment among youth, the UN Uganda boss said they have also launched a ‘one million sustainable development goal solutions’ from youth in Uganda innovation challenge to support youth startups that are impacting communities and creating jobs. She said more than 500 young people have so far expressed interest.
“During the past five years of the implementation of the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) from 2016-2020, the UN in Uganda has contributed to several achievements,  including in the area of governance with strengthening the electoral processes and human capital development,” she said.

Through the interventions by UN, learning literacy and numeracy increased at primary (P.6) from 38 per  cent to 52 per cent,  among other achievements, according to Malango.
“The subsequent cooperation framework with government of Uganda and other development partners will focus on empowering youths and skills development, gender equality climate change mitigation among others,” she said.

Human capital development
Dr Arthur Bainomugisha, the executive director of ACODE, said it is important for government to ensure the education sector that is central in human capital development has  proper  management.
“A lot of money has been borrowed in the name of Covid-19 and we want to know how much it is and how it was used. We must never allow entrepreneurs of Covid-19 to thrive while other people are thrown by the pandemic into poverty,” he said.

However, Mr Julius Mukunda, the executive director of CSBAG, said it is important the government focuses investment on real economy such as agriculture that the largest number of the population depend on.
Ms Mary Karooro Okurut,  the minister in Charge of General Duties at the Office of the Prime Minister, said government is committed to ensuring equitable development for all Ugandans.
She said government has integrated the sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the third National Development Plan. The SDGs focus on inclusive development.

**Daily Monitor


Complaint against unprofessional conduct of the DPC Kiryandongo district for aiding and abetting land grabbing in kiryandongo district.



The Commandant,

Professional Standards Unit, Uganda Police-Kampala.

Dear Sir/Madam;


We act for and behalf of the Lawful and bonafide occupants of Land described as LRV MAS 2 FOLIO 8 BLOCK 8 PLOT 22 (FORMERLY KNOWN AS RANCH 22).

Our Clients are residents of Nyamutende Village, Kitwara Parish in Kiryandongo District where they have lived for more than 30 years and sometime in 2017, they applied for a lease of the said Land to Kiryandongo District Land Board through the Directorate of Land Matters State House.

As they were still awaiting their Application to be processed, they were shocked to establish that the said land had been instead leased to and registered in the names of Isingoma Julius, Mwesige Simon, John Musokota William, Tumusiime Gerald, Wabwire Messener Gabriel, Ocema Richard and Wilson Shikhama, some of whom were not known to the Complainants. A copy of the Search is attached hereto

Our clients protested the above action and appealed to relevant offices, but were shocked to discover that the above persons had gone ahead and sold the same to a one Maseruka Robert.

Aggrieved by these actions, the Complainants appealed to the RDC who advised them to institute proceedings against the said persons, and assigned them a one Mbabazi Samuel to assist them to that effect. The said Mbabazi accordingly filed Civil Suit Noa 46 of 2019 against tne said registered proprietors at Masindi High Court challenging the illegal and fraudulent registration, sale and transfer of the subject land to Maseruka Robert.

While awaiting the progress of the case mentioned hereinabove, the Complainants were surprised to find that the said Mbabazi, instead of assisting them, he went into a consent settling the said suit on their behalf without their knowledge or consent. A copy of the Consent is attached hereto.

Among the terms of the said consent Judgment was that the residents would be compensated without specifying how much and would in return vacate the Land.

As if that was not enough, Maseruka Robert and Mbabazi Samuel are going ahead to execute the said Consent Judgment by forcefully evicting the occupants without compensation which has prompted the complainants to challenge the said Consent by applying for its review and setting aside at Masindi High Court which is coming up for hearing on the 29th March 2023. A copy of the Application is attached hereto.

Sensing the imminent threat of eviction, we also filed an application for interim stay of execution of the said consent to avoid rendering their application for review nugatory but unfortunately the same could not be heard on the date it was fixed for hearing (6th February 2023). A copy of the Application is attached hereto

On Thursday last week, three tractors being operated by 6 workers of a one Mbabazi Samuel [the very person who had been entrusted to represent our Clients to secure their Land through Civil Suit No.46 of 2019] encroached close to 50 acres of our Clients’ land and started ploughing it but our Client’s protested and chased them away.

We have however been shocked to receive information from our Clients that on Sunday at Mid night, 3 police patrols invaded the community in the night and arrested community members; Mulenje Jack, Steven Kagyenji, Mulekwa David, Ntambala Geoffrey, Tumukunde Isaac 15 years, Kanunu Innocent, Mukombozi Frank, Kuzara, Rwamunyankole Enock, and took them to Kiryandongo Police Station where they are currently detained.

We strongly protest the illegal arrests and detention of our Clients as this is a carefully orchestrated land grabbing scheme by Maseruka Robert and Mbabazi Samuel who are  receiving support from the DPC Kiryandongo.

The purpose of this Letter therefore is to request your good office to investigate the misconduct, abuse of office and unprofessionalism of the said DPC Kiryandongo District and all his involvement in the land grabbing schemes on land formerly known as Ranch 22.

Looking forward to your urgent intervention,

C.C The Head Police Land Protection Unit Police Head Quarters Naguru

CC The RDC Kiryandongo District

CC The Chairman LCVKityadongo District

CC The Regional Police CommanderAlbertine Region

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The Executive Director of Witness Radio Uganda talks about the role played by Witness Radio in protecting communities affected by large-scale agribusinesses in Kiryandongo district in an interview with the ILC.



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Witness Radio Uganda wins the best CSO land rights defenders award at the National Land Forum Awards.



By Witness Radio Team

Uganda’s leading land and environmental rights watchdog, Witness Radio has been awarded the best CSO land rights defender award 2022 in the recently concluded National Land Forum Awards held last week at Mestil hotel in Kampala.

Witness Radio’s executive Director, Jeff Wokulira Ssebaggala attributed the award to the community land and environmental rights defenders who stand up against the intimidation and different forms of harassment from land grabbers (economically powerful and politically connected companies and individual investors).

“This is an award for defenders at a community level. They work in very deadly environments filled with harassment, torture, death threats, arrest, trumped-up charges, and kidnaps among others to advocate for community land and environment rights. This is happening at a spate where criminalization and silencing of  community land rights defenders are at increase.” Jeff added.

The award has come at a time when hundreds of Ugandans in different parts of the country are accessing services provided by the organization ranging from legal service provisions, non-judicial mechanism engagements, empowerment to help them understand their rights, and using the same knowledge to use the same skills to push back against illegal and forced evictions

The chairman of the organizing committee of the second National Land Forum, Mr. Jimmy Ochom noted some progress on legislation in Uganda’s land Governance. He cited growing inequalities on land where the poor are more vulnerable.

During awards, the state minister for housing, Hon persis Namuganza revealed that the government approved the plan for 2018-2040 that maps the land use in the country.

According to the minister, the government had identified land for settlement, game reserves, wildlife, arable land for farming, and water bodies among others in the plan which she said was passed a few weeks ago.

The event was organized by Oxfam and partners and provided a platform for discussions by the different actors in the land sector on issues around land governance, including land rights, land administration, and land governance for improved collaboration, cooperation between the actors, and improved land service delivery for Ugandans under a theme “Taking stock of the National Land Policy in addressing Land inequality in addressing Land inequality in Uganda.”

Other categories of awards that were won by different organizations and individuals including Mr. Eddie Nsamba-Gayiiya for his contribution to research on land rights, Justice Centers Uganda for Promoting Access to Land Justice, and Mr. Henry Harrison Irumba for Championing Legal Reforms among others.

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