By witnessradio.org Team
Masindi – Uganda – a High Court sitting at Masindi district, mid-western Uganda has fixed the 17th of June, 2020 to hear illegal eviction cases filed by a community of 35000 people in Kiryandongo district accusing multinational companies for excessive use of force, human rights violations/abuses and evicting them without court notices. Multinational companies include; Agilis Ranch 20 and 21 limited/Joseph Initiative/Asili Farm; Great Season SMC limited; Kiryandongo Sugar Limited grabbing land for large-scale farming. Those affected include bonafide and Internally Displaced People (IDPs) of a 20 year-old Lord’s Resistances Army (LRA) civil war in Northern Uganda.
The fixing of a hearing date follows the decision by community lawyers to file a certificate of urgency after multinationals intensified the use of violence to grab community land despite government directives that halted land evictions during the COVID-19 lockdown.
The same communities had petitioned Masindi High Court early this year and sued the three multinational companies whose lawsuits had not been attended to by the same court.
Since announcement of the COVID-19 lockdown, witnessradio.org has documented pieces of evidence showing that multinational companies with aid of Kiryandongo District Police headed by one Joseph Bakaleke, Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) and other private security have orchestrated violence ranging from closing water sources for communities after filling them with soil, kidnap, torture, intimidation, illegal arrest and detention, cutting down communities’ food crops and demolishing houses causing a humanitarian crisis.
One of the many victims, Sarah Apio, a mother of 9 children accuses Kiryandongo Sugar laborers of attempting to defile her two girls whom she had sent to fetch water. She said, the incident happened on May, 30th, 2020 at 3PM.
She said, Kiryandongo Sugar limited workers on that day ring-fenced a community borehole at Ndoyo village which had been serving over 150 families and blocked community members from accessing the water source. “My daughters came back home crying and when they were asked what had happened, they shared details of attempted defilement by laborers. “ a case was reported and opened at Bweyale police” said Apio
Kiiza & Mugisha Attorneys while running back to court stressed that there is an urgent need to dispose of the Miscellaneous Causes filed in Masindi High court including No. 007 of 2020, to secure several human rights and freedoms that are under attack.
The matters will be before Justice Gadenya Paul Wolimbwa at 9am.