Connect with us

Livelihood

600 civil servants protest eviction from Entebbe land

Published

on

ENTEBBE- Civil servants, who were evicted from the Old Entebbe staff quarters, have accused the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) of mistreatment.

Last week, Aviation Police forcibly evicted more than 600 sitting tenants from the prime land measuring about four acres, which initially belonged to the ministry of Agriculture, but is currently being claimed by CAA. The area is currently heavily guarded by soldiers.

However, the area defence secretary, Mr Ronald Orea, said they were not given ample time to relocate.
“We have really been traumatised and we did not expect such mistreatment from fellow Ugandans,” Mr Orea said during an interview on Wednesday.

“If the land belongs to the ministry of Agriculture as we all know, there is no reason why CCA should take it by force. We smell a rat and we shall petition Parliament to investigate the matter,” he added.

Mr Orea insisted that those who evicted them contravened the law since they did not have a court order.

“As we were waiting for a communication from our employer, which is the ministry of Agriculture, to tell us where to relocate, people deployed by CAA descended on the staff quarters and started throwing out our property,” he said.
The affected civil servants were working with the ministry of Agriculture’s veterinary department and some claim they have been working with the ministry for more than three decades.

However, the CAA principal public affairs officer, Mr Vianney Luggya, denied reports that the affected civil servants were not given ample time to relocate, insisting that they had been aware of the looming eviction for more than a year.

“We have information that they illegally occupied those quarters and they should not expect any compensation from us,” he said.

Mr Luggya added that the disputed land is very close to the air traffic control tower and they cannot allow people to continue staying in the area when the airport is undergoing expansion.

“Those staff quarters were too close to our airport control tower and their [occupants] presence compromised safety and security at the airport,” he said.

When contacted, Mr Vincent Ssempijja, the minister for Agriculture, said he was not aware that their staff had been evicted.

Mr Ssempijja added that the eviction was hurriedly done even though CAA had earlier notified the ministry about their expansion plan.

“CAA should have notified us before evicting them. So, I need to find out from my permanent secretary whether there was such a communication,” he said by telephone on Wednesday.

In 2009, CAA officials petitioned President Museveni and requested him to allow them utilise the 132-acre ministry of Agriculture land adjacent the airport to implement its 20-year civil aviation master-plan.

Mr Museveni gave the green light but the ministry surrendered only 66 acres, saying they also needed the land for agricultural research purposes, especially for new cow breeds.

The President later agreed that the Ministry and CAA share the land. CAA continued to engage the ministry officials to surrender all the land, saying it was not good to keep cows near the airport as they would attract birds that may cause air accidents but the former refused.

Upgrading and expansion of Entebbe International Airport, commenced in May 2016 and will end in 2021. The project is estimated to cost Shs713b and involves construction of new cargo terminal, oil firm and expanding the aero plans runway.
Recently, members of the Mamba clan in Buganda Kingdom also accused CAA officials of encroaching on a piece of land housing their cultural site as they expand the airport.

Source: Daily Monitor

I write Human Rights

Business & Human Rights: Industrial Park Development in Buikwe is dispossessing hundreds of Native Families…

Published

on

By witnessradio.org Team

Buikwe – Uganda – Close to 1000 families in Namabere landing site, Buikwe District are forcefully being evicted off their land to give way for an industrial park, witnessradio.org has learned.

The industrial park which measures approximately 329.5 Ha, along the shores of Lake Victoria, is the brainchild of Magan Patel, the head of Nile Group of Companies. It is not clear whether the park authorities obtained the social and environmental impact assessment from environmental regulatory bodies as it is adjacent to the lake.

witnessradio.org findings indicate that so far the park has attracted about 26 companies amongst others include; Nile Agro Ltd; Nile Aluminum Ltd; Nile Batteries Ltd; Nile Wheat Ltd; Auro Meera Paper Ltd; Modern Distillers Ltd; Modern Laminates Ltd; Nile GM Plastics Ltd;  Modern Rubber Ltd; and Cable Ltd and many others.

According to the affected persons, GM Sugar Company one of the companies targeting their land, since November 2020 with the help of Buikwe police has been forcing natives to receive payment in form of transport on a gunpoint to vacate the land. The payment ranges from 100,000 – 200,000 Ugandan shillings to residents of the area to vacate their land.

“Imagine at a gunpoint, someone is paid Uganda Shillings 100,000, his/her properties get destroyed and your forced to vacate where you earn a living. How do you feel? Do you know how hard this is?” angrily asked a 45-year-old Bayati Kafuuko.

Bayati, a mother of six (6) said that she has nowhere to go and left with nothing to feed her family since all her property was destroyed by the armed men.

“What can that money do, it can’t even meet transport costs,” added Bayati.

Several affected persons revealed that before the eviction, there was neither consultation and concession to the project nor valuation and fair compensation of their property.

“Ever since the attack started we live in fear, we cannot sleep because most of our houses were pulled down. All our fish was taken by soldiers, we have nothing to eat,” said a 58-year-old Francis Obiire.

He added that he cannot accept being illegally evicted on land he has lived on since his birth.

“My father has lived on this land since 1950. I was born here in 1962. With this little money, which land do they expect me to buy,” Obiire added.

The chairman of Namabere village Mr. Ochen Peter said his people are being intimidated without due process is followed.

He further said that workers of the investors under the protection of police carry out daily patrolling of the area just to intimidate residents.

When witnessradio.org contacted Ssekamatte Musa, one of the GM Sugar company managers, he declined to speak.

“I am busy, I will call you,” he said.

Continue Reading

I write Human Rights

Two Witness Radio members, 26 others have been released on bail after spending close to 3 years in jail…

Published

on

By witnessradio.org Team

Mubende – Uganda – the High Court in Mubende has released two Witness Radio members and 26 others on bail after spending 28 months in prison. In late 2018, all the 28 were targeted and arrested because of their role in empowering the community to lawfully desist an illegal eviction, charged with 9 counts including murder and aggravated robbery, and remanded.

This was the second bail attempt after the 2019 bail for two Witness Radio members Grace Nantubiro and Ronald Mugwabya was rejected by the then Mubende High Court resident Judge Justice Joseph Murangira on pretty flimsy excuses.

Before the arrest of Grace Nantubiro and Ronald Mugwabya, the duo had used the media platforms local radio stations, and community meetings to call upon Mubende district authorities to intervene and stop an illegal and forceful eviction of 3500 inhabitants off five villages namely; Kambuye, Kikono, Kyabaana, Kanseera, and Lwensanga in East Division in Mubende municipality by one Kaweesi George.

Also in the line of fighting for the protection of the community’s land, Grace Nantubiro, Ronald Mugwabya, and some members of the press at one point were waylaid and kidnapped by laborers of the businessman. Mubende police rescued them but the perpetrators remained scot-free.

Due to public pressure, the situation was arrested by the then Mubende district police commander Martin Okoyo and other leaders, stopped the eviction, and ordered the withdraw of the businessman’s casual laborers from the community’s land until the land matter is resolved.

Shortly after the withdrawal, the laborers were secretly returned on the conflicted land in the wee hours in the following night and a fight ensued between businessman’s laborers and some locals. In a process, the life of one Yunusu Tabu was lost. Tabu was a manager of laborers.

The deadly scuffle introduced the criminalization of land rights defense and caused a random arrest that targeted Grace Nantubiro and Ronald Mugwabya because of their work. Some of the activists namely; Mugisha Focus, Ssekamana Kaloli, Mwikirize Keleti, Ssewanyana Kizza John, Tumwine Moses, Bigirwa Gilbert, Mulindwa Tadeo, Kayesu Patrick, Kyalimpa Tobias, Mugisha Stephen, Mwesigye John, Kiiza John Bosco, Byakatonda Aroon, Manirikiza Elidefunce, Tabalamule William, Kobwemi Christopher,  Kiwanuka Emmanuel, Senkula Charles, Ssemombwe George, Musinguzi Paul, Biryomumisho Fred, Maniriho Forodis,  Habimana Ernest, Byaruhanga Emmanuel, Mwesigye Julius, and Kezaala Saul were severely beaten and tortured by Mubende police during the arrest and as result, some still have visible scars all over their bodies.

The ill-planned arrest and conduct by Mubende police facilitated a land grab of more than 322.5 hectares, registered on Block 168; Plots 19, 22, and 23 in Mubende Municipality, Mubende district.

While appearing before Mubende High Court Judge Justice Isaac Muwata, all the 28 were released on a cash bail of 100,000 Uganda Shillings (one hundred thousand shillings) equivalent to about US dollars 28 while sureties were conditioned UGX 2 million not cash.

Other conditions, the 28 are required to report to the Mubende High Court registrar’s chambers every first Monday of the month.

 

Continue Reading

I write Human Rights

Renewing demand for justice; the 28 land rights defenders have applied for bail

Published

on

By witnessradio.org Team

Mubende – Uganda – the defense lawyers of the 28 community land rights defenders have filed new applications for bail at Mubende High Court after spending 3 years in prison.

The 28 include two staff members of Witnessradio.org‘s Nantubiro Grace and Mugwabya Ronald.

Others are; Mugisha Focus, Ssekamana Kaloli, Mwikirize Keleti, Ssewanyana Kizza John, Tumwine Moses, Bigirwa Gilbert, Mulindwa Tadeo, Kayesu Patrick, Kyalimpa Tobias, Mugisha Stephen, Mwesigye John, Kiiza John Bosco, Byakatonda Aroon, Manirikiza Elidefunce, Tabalamule William, Kobwemi Christopher,  Kiwanuka Emmanuel, Senkula Charles, Ssemombwe George, Musinguzi Paul, Biryomumisho Fred, Maniriho Forodis,  Habimana Ernest, Byaruhanga Emmanuel, Mwesigye Julius and Kezaala Saul.

They are facing 9 counts including murder, and aggravated robbery among others.

The prosecution alleges that on October 12, 2018, the accused at Kambuye-Kanseera, Mubende district, killed and robbed Yunus Kasajja Tabu of his three mobile phones.

Late Tabu allegedly died during a fight with land grab affected community whose assailants are still unknown. Tabu was a manager of local businessman one Kaweesi George, under the protection of police grabbed 322.5 hectares and violently evicted over 3500 lawful occupants on Block 168; Plot 19, 22 and 23 covering five villages namely; Kambuye, Kikono, Kyabaana, Kanseera and Lwensanga in East Division, Mubende Municipality, Mubende district. The land is adjacent to Kaweeri Coffee Plantation is covering on.

However, police carried out a random arrest and targeted land rights defenders and activists that were mobilizing and empowering the landgrab affected community to resist an illegal and forceful eviction.

In January 2019, the attempt to get bail for witnessradio.org‘s Nantubiro Grace and Mugwabya Ronald was denied High Court in Mubende’s justice Joseph Mulangira.

According to officials at Mubende High Court, bail applications will be heard this afternoon.

 

Continue Reading

Resource Center

Legal Framework

READ BY CATEGORY

Facebook

Trending