Court to decide whether a forceful eviction of 2300 families can be stopped

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Kiryandongo Land evictions

By witnessradio.org Team

A group of about 2300 native families from Kiryandongo District who want court to issue an injunction halting their impending eviction will be in at the Masindi High Court again on May, 31, in anticipation of justice.

The long and painful process of fixing the date comes after 15 months when the impoverished families first dashed to court challenging their eviction which is superintended by Agilis partners limited, an agricultural development company based in Uganda.

The upcoming hearing will be the second attempt by the families to seek an injunction from the same court, before the main case is heard, and later determined.  The first challenge to stay the eviction via an interim application was thrown out by Justice Frank Albert Rugadya Atwoki on grounds that the applicants “failed to produce evidence that the situation is dire warranting an injunction.”

The case stems from a 2018 move by native communities who dashed to the High Court accusing Agilis Partners scheming with Uganda Police and Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) to forcefully grab their land.

According to Kabera James, the chairperson of Nyamalebe Landless Association, Agilis has never consulted them as bonafide occupants on the investment. He insists that Agilis has never consulted on a cross-section of key issues ranging from the type of investment, valuation of properties, to agreed rates for compensation and contract from them to give their land to the food company. “I only remember a rally which was held at Kanoni trading center in November, 2017. During the rally, police and Kiryandongo Resident District Commissioner (RDC), announced that our land had been given to Joseph Initiatives,” Kabera explained, “They threatened us with arrests and detention should we “sabotage” the development.”

An independent investigation by witnessradio.org, indicates Agilis wants to use the 2100 hectares to grow sim- sim, maize and soya beans. And through this project, it wants to empower 50,000 farmers from neighboring communities with modern farming skills. The same company pledged Shs. 1 billion equivalent to about USD 250,000 earmarked as community development budget for extension services, training centers, schools, hospitals and infrastructure development among others.

Besides dealing in supplying of grains to different agencies including the World Food Program, Agilis, through Joseph Initiatives, has benefited from financial assistance of international agencies like UK’s Department for International Development (DFID).