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.
Statement: The Energy Sector Strategy 2024–2028 Must Mark the End of the EBRD’s Support to Fossil Fuels
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is due to publish a new Energy Sector Strategy before the end of 2023. A total of 130 civil society organizations from over 40 countries have released a statement calling on the EBRD to end finance for all fossil fuels, including gas.
From 2018 to 2021, the EBRD invested EUR 2.9 billion in the fossil energy sector, with the majority of this support going to gas. This makes it the third biggest funder of fossil fuels among all multilateral development banks, behind the World Bank Group and the Islamic Development Bank.
The EBRD has already excluded coal and upstream oil and gas fields from its financing. The draft Energy Sector Strategy further excludes oil transportation and oil-fired electricity generation. However, the draft strategy would continue to allow some investment in new fossil gas pipelines and other transportation infrastructure, as well as gas power generation and heating.
In the statement, the civil society organizations point out that any new support to gas risks locking in outdated energy infrastructure in places that need investments in clean energy the most. At the same time, they highlight, ending support to fossil gas is necessary, not only for climate security, but also for ensuring energy security, since continued investment in gas exposes countries of operation to high and volatile energy prices that can have a severe impact on their ability to reach development targets. Moreover, they underscore that supporting new gas transportation infrastructure is not a solution to the current energy crisis, given that new infrastructure would not come online for several years, well after the crisis has passed.
The signatories of the statement call on the EBRD to amend the Energy Sector Strategy to
- fully exclude new investments in midstream and downstream gas projects;
- avoid loopholes involving the use of unproven or uneconomic technologies, as well as aspirational but meaningless mitigation measures such as “CCS-readiness”; and
- strengthen the requirements for financial intermediaries where the intended nature of the sub-transactions is not known to exclude fossil fuel finance across the entire value chain.
Download the statement: https://www.iisd.org/system/files/2023-09/ngo-statement-on-energy-sector-strategy-2024-2028.pdf
Complaint against unprofessional conduct of the DPC Kiryandongo district for aiding and abetting land grabbing in kiryandongo district.
Professional Standards Unit, Uganda Police-Kampala.
RE: COMPLAINT AGAINST UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT OF THE DPC KIRYANDONGO DISTRICT FOR AIDING AND ABETTING LAND GRABBING IN NYAMUTENDE KITWARA PARISH KIRYANDONGO DISTRICT AND CARRYING OUT ILLEGAL ARRESTS AND DETENTION OF INNOCENT RESIDENTS/ BIBANJA OWNERS FOR PROTESTING AGAINST THE ILLEGAL EVICTION FROM THEIR LAND.
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
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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