At least 172 people, who were forcefully evicted by Quality Parts Ltd and Formasa Co. Limited, in Mubende district have filed a lawsuit against the two tree-planting companies seeking for “compensation” and “redress” for the “violations.”
Led by Jimmy Ssegujja, Sam Ssenkinga and Moses Lukyamuzi and others, residents also sued the Ugandan Attorney General, Henry Kalemera Kimera, a man claims to be the grandson of Ssekabaka Daudi Chwa of Buganda Kingdom and the registrar of titles, Mityana District in his capacity.
In the civil suit no 31 of 2017, filed in the High Court at Mubende on April 12, 2017 plaintiffs through their lawyers from Rwakafuuzi &Co. Advocates on instructions of Unwanted Witness-Uganda contend that the duress and forceful eviction was unlawful and in contravention of article 26 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.
“An action for redress and compensation for the violation of the right to freedom from tourture, cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, the right to personal liberty; the right to property, the right to privacy of person, home and other property; and the right to livelihood under articles 20, 22 (1), 24, 26, 27, 45 and 50 (1), (2) of the constitution of Uganda,” reads the law suit in a part.
The plaintiffs therefore, seek courts declaration that “the duress, intimidation, fraud, terror, and forceful eviction from the suit land was unlawful and in contravention of articles 26 of the constitution of Uganda which protects their right to property and that plaintiffs are lawful or customary and or bona fide occupants of the suit property.”
According to their civil suit, plaintiffs aver that they are the bona fide occupants of land comprised in the following locations of Mubende district: Butolo, Kaswa, and Nakasozi villages in Naluwondwa Parish; Namayindi, Kisiigwa, Bikonyi, Mukiguluka, Busaabala and Kendikyo in Kakenzi Parish, Madudu Sub-County, Buwekula, County; and Kicucuulo village, Kasolo-Kamponye Parish, Butoloogo Sub-County.
They elaborated the kind of duress these evicting companies occasioned on them and these include;
Cutting down, slashing and destroying the crops of customary occupants of the land, perpetrating a systematic campaign of violence and threats of violence including the beating up and terrorizing of the customary and bona fide occupants on the suit land.
Others were; planting tree seedlings in the land holdings of customary occupants on the suit land, threatening unspecified consequences and imminent forceful evictions against land holders that refused to give up their land to Formasa Co. Limited and the arrest, detention and prosecution of customary and bonafide occupants under trumped up charges.
Formasa, according to the suit, also established camps of its workers, employees or agents in the land holdings of the bonafide occupants on top of establishing boundaries on the land holding of the customary occupants.
There was also repeated and brazen taking or robbing of food crops by the workers, employees or agents of Formasa from the gardens of the customary occupants.
In part II of our reporting on this civil suit, witnessradio.org will bring you the particulars of the fraud Formasa Co. Limited applied to forge certificate of land titles for various pieces of land.