By witnessradio.org Team
Nicholas Kabagambe, a resident of Mengo in Kampala has come under fire from the Land Commission for evicting 70 households in Kassanda District. Kabagambe told the Commission Chaired by Justice, Catherine Bamugemereire that in 2010 Moses Kiwa Ssebunya introduced him to Kisibika Estate in Kalwana Sub County in Kassanda District.
He explained that Ssebunya’s family claimed to own over 600 hectares of land on Sling block 410 plot 5 found in f Kitagonerwa and Kabakonjo Villages. According to the sale agreement presented by Kabagambe, Issa Moses Kiwe Ssebunya, the father to Moses Kiwe Ssebunya bought the land from Sande Kikomeko in 1975 at Shillings 10.000.
Kiwa Sebunya reportedly took him to the land as an estate manager tasked with executing different duties including locating the land through surveying and opening boundaries and clearing it of illegal occupants. Kabagambe says that he made a gentleman’s agreement with Kiwa Ssebunya that he would be rewarded 200 hectares of land upon completion of the task.
Kabagame implicated himself with a letter signed by Kiwa Ssebunya on January 13th, 2013 in which he expressed for the work well done by giving him 200 hectares of the estate. The letter particularly indicated that Kabagambe successfully evicted 70 households using the judicial system of Uganda.
However when tasked to present any document from court that permitted them to carry out the eviction, Kabagambe tabled court summons issued by the Mubende magistrate’s court against Bibanja holders following an application by Kabagambe and his boss.
Commissioner, Mary Ochan grilled him for disrupting the peace of 70 households by illegally evicting them from their land.
Kabagambe attempted to explain in vain that some of the Bibanja holders were compensated. He didn’t present a single document to that effect despite insisting that the Bibanja holders signed consent forms. He told the Commission that some of the Bibanja holders returned to the land after being compensated.
However, earlier testimonies by the victims indicated that over 300 households have been evicted since 2010, many without compensation. Others were asked to choose between accepting compensation or vacating the land without pay.
Commissioner Robert Ssebunya brought this to the notice of Kabagambe who insisted that over 58 bibanja holders were compensated.
Earlier witnesses like Badru Mukuye, Resty Namakula and Ronald Kalemba told the Commission that Kabagambe spearheaded the evictions that were characterised with a lot of suffering.
The residents accused the Kabagambe of demolishing their houses, harvesting their crops, grazing animals in their plantations, beating them and sometimes raping women.
Kabagambe refuted the claims with a smile, which angered Commissioner Ochan.
Ssebunya’s ownership is contested by the family of Zabuloni. The Administrator of Zabuloni family Ronald Kalemba says the family owns about 3.5 square Miles of Land.
They say the land belonged to their late grandfather, Zabuloni Bakyayita. Bibanja holders who appeared before the Commission recognize Zabuloni’s family as their land Lord.