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Apaa residents plead with Museveni to degazette land




AMURU/ADJUMANI. Apaa locals have petitioned Parliament demanding that Apaa land be degazetted for human settlement instead of wildlife.

The land measuring about 827 square kilometres borders Amuru and Adjumani districts and is being claimed by communities.

The government on the other hand claims the land under contention is a protected East Madi Wildlife Reserve gazetted by Parliament in 2002.

The leaders, led by the speaker of Amuru Town Council, Mr Alfred Odoch, had earlier petitioned President Museveni, only to be told that he was out of the country.

They later handed over the petition to the deputy speaker’s Principal Personal Secretary, Mr Robinson Kawesa, on April 30, who promised that Parliament would write a cover letter and hand it over to President Museveni and Cabinet.

In the petition, a copy of which Daily Monitor has seen, Apaa locals say they will not accept any amount of compensation offered to them to relocate elsewhere.
“We the undersigned petition President Museveni and Cabinet to degazette the entire area of Apaa, commencing from Zoka River so that we may live permanently in our ancestral land in peace,’’ the petition reads in part.

“Turning Apaa into a wildlife reserve to attract investors took place while our people were displaced in camps. Therefore, we will not accept any amount of compensation offered,” the petition said.
In February, Cabinet resolved to resettle victims of Apaa land conflict with building materials and money after assessing damages.

In a Cabinet memo, the residents were to be given a package of Shs10 million, 20 iron sheets, 20 bags of cement and Shs2 million for those who do not have National Identity Cards.

The compensation and resettlement process would be spear headed by the Office of the Prime Minister, Lands ministry and Minister for Northern Uganda, Ms Grace Kwiyucwiny.

Mr Sylvester Odoki, the chairperson of Acholi Ber Parish, told Daily Monitor on Wednesday that the petition seeks President Museveni’s intervention to consider degazetting Apaa land for human settlement.
“The petition we presented on Tuesday, April 30 was signed by 3,347 household not only 374 household as it was earlier presented to the President,” Mr Odoki said.

He added that the registration was done by same people who keep tormenting them.
“The registration was done forcefully by same people who always burn our huts and many of us took off thinking that they would arrest us,” Mr Odoki said.

The secretary for Disaster Preparedness in Apaa Village, Mr Wilson Acoma, said the Apaa residents are not willing to take the iron sheets and other offers from the government, saying all they need is the land to be degazetted.

“We are not refugees and we do not want any help from the government in the name of iron sheets or food. We can work for ourselves. Only degazette for us the land for our use then the rest shall be history,” Mr Acoma said.

Mr Odoch said the petition to the President and Cabinet is part of the struggle to bring to an end the land dispute that has claimed lives and several properties lost and that it should not be politicised.
Adjumani District chairperson James Leku, however, said the petition was not brought to the attention of Adjumani leadership.

“The petition must be written through the district and now that they decided to deliver it without the district knowledge; we wish them good luck,” Mr Leku said.

Source: 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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