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Family seeks to reclaim 49 acres from Lyantonde district



Byehondozo and her daughter Kakako. Photos by Davis Buyondo

LYANTONDE -A family in Lyantonde is seeking to repossess its 49.05 acres of land said to be illegally occupied by the district local government for 14 years.

The contested land is located on Block 76, plot 50, Kaliiro ward ‘A’ in Kabula county. It currently houses the district administration block and other departmental offices plus other portions subdivided and allocated to different developers.

It is currently becoming a major land row since the claimant wants the district to vacate her land and compensate her for the period the have occupied it illegally.

Copies of relevant documents obtained by the New Vision indicate Joyce Byehondozo, 81, a resident of Kaliiro ‘A’ in Lyantonde town council, is the rightful owner of the land who originally possessed a title.

She was born on this land in 1939 and inherited it from her father __late Kinanigira who also inherited it from his father.

She explained that former President Apollo Milton Obote’s government took a small portion of land and put structures including a sub-county block, the house of the sub-county chief and a toilet.

Her woes date back to 1993 when Lyantonde was still under Rakai district administration. It is said that Rakai district bought the land from Byehondozo in 1993 which land it transferred to Lyantonde when it became an independent district in 2006.

But Byehondozo disputed the claim saying she did not sell her land to Rakai district or anyone as it is claimed.

She explained that after claiming her right over the disputed land, some unscrupulous district officials asked her to avail to them the duplication certificate of the title for verification.

This was done on an understanding that after the verification process the duplicate certificate of the title would be returned back to her.

However, Byehondozo did not receive her duplicate certificate of the title for her land from Rakai District as it had been agreed.

Her daughter Florence Kakako (67) and grandchildren are following up on the matter given the fact that the old lady is weak and can hardly move.

They later learnt that the then Rakai Administration registered itself at the lands office as the actual proprietor of the land without her knowledge and consent or any payment for consideration.

“Rakai district authorities fraudulently obtained the title of the land and we are treated as illegal occupants,” Kakako recounted.

In a letter dated July 17, 2018 addressed to the land commission secretariat, Muhanga and Associates, who represent the ill-fated family, it is indicated that in 2010, Lyantonde district had been entered on to the certificate of the title as the proprietor of the land.

And to their shock, Byehondozo and her family were served with a notice to vacate the land from Christopher Okumu, the Chief Administrative Officer dated June 15, 2015.

“Some claimed we were illegal occupants and they wanted us to vacate the land to pave a way for their development projects including a subdivision of plots to allocate them to different developers,” she said.

The family further holds the Lyantonde district and the Attorney General jointly liable for the continued trespass on their land and the eventual fraud in procuring the registration of the same land in their names as well as developing it illegally.

In May 2017, Byehondozo filed a claim in the High Court at Masaka intending for eviction orders against the district and the compensation.

Nevertheless, on June 30, 2017, the district and attorney general of Uganda entered their respective defence in the main suit.

Arnold Agira, Byehondozo’s son speaking to the reporters after the family camping at the CAO’s office

Statehouse intervenes

The matter came to the attention of President Yoweri Museveni. In a letter to the Lyantonde CAO, dated February 1, 2016, Flora Kiconco,
the Principal Private Secretary to President Yoweri Museveni, the matter was brought to the attention of the president who directed that the district should not interfere in Byehodozo’s occupation of land.

However, Kiconco added, this office continued to receive complaints from the complainant that the district officials had continued trespassing on her land, cultivating on it, and in the process of fencing it to deny her use.

“The purpose of this letter is to once again inform you about H.E the president’s directive and request you to ensure that Byehondozo enjoys a quiet possession of that land without any interference,” she noted. She further requested the CAO to prevail over the district officials who interfere with Byehondozo’s occupation on the said land until when the president intervenes.

Byehondozo sleeping at th CAO’s office

Temporary injunction

On February 14, 2018, Byehondozo entered a temporary injunction restraining- both parties, their agents, assignees, and others, from leasing, alienating, selling, or harassing or in any way interfering with each other’s’ occupation until the main suit is determined.

The matter was before her Worship-Beatrice Stella Atingu, the Assistant Registrar of the High Court of Uganda at Masaka.

Although the injunction was issued, the district did not halt its operations on the land. Different people were allocated portions of land for cultivation.

Last year, people who were allocated portions of land sprayed chemicals to dry the grass but Byehondozo’s family lost two cows after eating the sprayed grass.

In another letter dated February 19, 2018, Kiconco requests the Lyatonde RDC to ensure that both parties (complainant and the defendants) abide by the court order.

And last week, according to Arnold Agira, one of Byehondozo’s children, another district staff sprayed with chemicals a portion of land measuring half an acre.

He argued that they were provoked to storm the CAO’s office due to the increasing violation of the injunction.

“We honored the injunction but the district is still allocating people land. We have reached the RDC’s office, CAO, Police but no one has bothered assisting us,” he said.

However, Byehondozo’s family has appealed to Col. Edith Nakalema, the head of the Anti-Corruption Unit of State House, to investigate the corruption and increasing theft of land in Lyantonde especially their 49.05 acres which the district took.

District intervenes

A delegation of top district officials toured the land on Tuesday.

They include Catherine Kamwiine, the Resident District Commissioner, David Lubuuka, the Chief Administrative Officer, Jamal Kanyesigye, the District Police Commander, DISO- and Fred Muhangi, the Lyantonde LC5 chairperson.

Led by Kamwiine, the officials first held a closed meeting with the family members to dialogue over the longstanding grievances.

They later toured the land and halted several activities mainly farming as well as warning people who were cultivating the land illegally.

Former RDC speaks

Sulaiman Tuguragara Matojo, the former Lyantonde RDC, said that the matter came to his office and statehouse intervened and built her a new house on the land as they wait for the court decision on the matter.

He explained that his office had earlier advised the two parties to sit and agree on the compensation plan but the family wanted eviction of the district headquarters which has cost over a billion shillings to build.

He explained that the family was only paid sh11m as compensated for the portion of land measuring about half an acre which Obote’s government has occupied.

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The East African Court of Justice fixes the ruling date for a petition challenging the EACOP project.



By Witness Radio team.

The East African Court of Justice has set Wednesday the 29th of November, 2023 to deliver a ruling on a petition challenging the construction of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) Project filed by four East African Non-governmental Organizations.

The Court consists of Honorable Mr. Justice Yohane Bokobora Masara Principal Judge, Honorable Justice Dr. Charles Nyawello Deputy Principal Judge, Honorable Mr. Justice Richard Muhumuza, Honorable Mr. Justice Richard Wejuli, and Honorable Justice Dr. Gacuko Leonard.

According to the ruling notice seen by Witness Radio, the regional Court will deliver the ruling at 9:30 East Africa Standard Time, the 29th of November 2023.

On 6 November 2020, Natural Justice, Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), Centre for Strategic Litigation and the Centre for Food and Adequate Living Rights (CEFROHT) Limited filed a petition against the governments of Uganda and Tanzania and the Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC) challenging the construction of the EACOP project. 

The basis of the Applicants’ petition rests on the assertion that the EACOP project violates multiple provisions of the Treaty of the Establishment of East African Community. The project further violates the Protocol for the Sustainable Management of the Lake Victoria Basin, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the African Convention on Conservation of Natural Resources, the post–2020 Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Paris Climate Accords.

Furthermore, the Applicants argue that the entities backing the EACOP project, such as Total Energies, China’s National Offshore Oil Corporation, and the Governments of Uganda and Tanzania, failed to carry out thorough and meaningful public engagement and consultation processes and additionally did not conduct comprehensive assessments of both the human rights and climate impacts before initiating the EACOP project.

In 2006, Uganda discovered commercially viable oil reserves in the Albertine Graben region, specifically in the Lake Albert area near Hoima district.

With the cooperation and support of its neighbor, Tanzania, the two governments approved in March 2023 the construction of the $5 billion EACOP project, which is planned to cover a distance of 1,443 kilometers.

The East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) connects the Tilenga and Kingfisher oilfields in western Uganda with the port of Tanga in eastern Tanzania, when completed, the project will be the longest heated crude oil pipeline in the world crossing through 10 districts in Uganda, and 25 districts in Tanzania.

Uganda’s President, Mr. Yoweri Museveni Tibuhaburwa, has often celebrated the oil projects calling a success. He firmly believes that the oil discovery represents a significant catalyst for economic development and will bring benefits to the local communities, but the current reality is a reverse to his statements.

The EACOP project has triggered significant concerns among communities and civil society groups due to its detrimental impacts on thousands of individuals in Uganda and Tanzania. The most affected have been the Project Affected Persons (PAPs) and human rights activists who stand against the project. Reports have highlighted cases of land grabbing, the displacement of host communities, inadequate compensation, and the troubling trend of harassing and arresting community leaders and rights activists.

It should be remembered that on the 14th of September 2022, the European Union Parliament passed an advisory resolution to suspend the oil pipeline for a year citing disastrous human and environmental rights violations associated with the project.

The resolutions put forth by the European Parliament legislators echo the distressing issues raised by affected communities regarding the oil pipeline project.

In response to the violation of human rights, conventions, and treaties, Civil Societies including Natural Justice, AFIEGO, Centre for Strategic Litigation, and CEFROHT took the pivotal step of approaching the East African Court of Justice to challenge the construction of the EACOP project.

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UPDF General, District Police Commander, and Presidential Representative defy Court summonses for the second time as DPP takes over the EACOP-PAP’s case.



By Witness Radio team.

The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in Hoima has taken over the private prosecution case filed by Arinaitwe Peter and Company Advocates on behalf of an East African Crude Oil (EACOP) Project affected community against the Army General, Presidential Representative, District police Commander, and 10 others accused of violently and illegally evicting over 2500 lawful residents from their land they had called home for decades.

On 11th/09//2023, the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) Project-Affected Persons (PAPs) started a private criminal proceeding against the thirteen suspects including Brig. Gen. Peter Akankunda Nabasa, Gafayo Ndawula William, Kyakashari Micheal, one Oketcha Micheal, Bogere Jackson, one Kiiza Nathan Byarugonjo, one Oromo Luzira, a Local Council One Secretary for Runga, one Mukindo Bosco, Okethi Bosco, Oming Jacob, Muswa Micheal, Kawiya Henry, Ningaling Joseph, and others still at large in an effort to hold them accountable for their criminality and human rights violations committed during the Kapapi brutal evictions.

Criminal case file no. 877 of 2023 at Hoima court contains various criminal offenses namely; sexual abuse, rape, criminal trespass, arson, looting properties, battering people, and forcefully evicting residents from their homes, which constitutes a violation of the non-derogable right to freedom from torture, cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment, as guaranteed under Article 23 And 44 of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.

The court session, scheduled for 9 am, faced a delay due to the state attorneys’ late arrival caused by prior engagements. Despite this, the Court commenced proceedings and began by addressing an application submitted by the ODPP on October 10, 2023. This application aimed to grant the ODPP permission to take over the prosecution, citing constitutional mandates and legal provisions.

During these proceedings, key figures including the Army Gen. Brig. Gen. Peter Akankunda Nabasa, Presidential representative, Kyakashari Micheal, and District Police Commander Bogere Patrick, among others, defied the Court’s second summonses issued against them to present themselves before Court. Simultaneously, several other individuals related to the case including Gafayo William, a Hoima-based businessman, Oketcha Micheal, Orumu Luzira, and Oming Jacob were present in Court.

Lawyers for the EACOP community objected to the ODPP’s involvement, raising concerns about potential biases, lack of transparency, the application’s failure to meet the standards outlined in Article 120, Clause 4(a) of Uganda’s Constitution, and the DPP office’s past alignment with the accused. The defense highlighted instances where the ODPP allegedly favored the accused, disregarding serious complaints filed by the community and even resulting in the wrongful imprisonment of the complainants.

“The very office seeking to take over this case was previously instrumentalized by the accused individuals to criminalize the complainants, resulting in the complainants being charged with multiple offenses and imprisoned for periods ranging from three to five months. Moreover, this same office has failed to act on filed cases and complaints by community members against the suspects. For instance, a reported gang rape case at Kitoba police referenced HMD-GEF-003 of three women belonging to the Kapapi community where the 4 suspects include; the District Police Commander, remain unaddressed. How can trust be placed in an entity that has previously been utilized in a manner seemingly benefiting the accused, while overlooking serious complaints filed by the community?” Lawyer Arinaitwe Peter who represented residents asked Court. 

In their rejoinders, the DPP’s office, led by state attorneys Catherine Nakaggwa and Crispus Ceaser Naloda, reiterated that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) holds the right to appear in any court proceeding, regardless of the stage of the trial initiated under private prosecution emphasizing the DPP’s authority to orally address the court regarding their intention to assume control of the ongoing criminal proceedings.

In addressing concerns about impartiality and transparency, the attorney stated that the lawyers representing the victims will be closely monitoring the proceedings to ensure clarity and fairness. They emphasized that the victims’ legal representatives will “watch a brief,” allowing them to observe and comprehend every step taken by the DPP’s office as they execute their mandate.

While giving her ruling on the submissions, Grade One Magistrate Stella Mwali of the Hoima Court referenced Article 120(3)(c), which grants the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) the authority to assume control and proceed with any criminal proceedings initiated by another individual or authority to grant their request.

“The charges are criminal in nature and the court sees no powerful reason to object the DPP’s office from taking over this case and exercising its mandate.” Her worship said in a ruling.

The 13 accused persons and their agents in the wee hours (1:00 AM) local time on February, 10th 2023, raided people’s homes with dozens of unidentified armed individuals, donning Uganda Police Force (UPF) and Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) uniforms. 

Acting under the orders of DPC Bogere and Brigadier Nabasa, along with armed guards affiliated with Magnum, a private security company fired tear gas and live bullets into their houses, sexually abused women, set people’s houses ablaze, physical assaults, kidnaps, looted livestock, and food items and forced eviction of over 2500 people from their land.

The actions of the accused led to the grabbing of 1294.99 hectares of land that were being lawfully occupied and cultivated by thousands of locals in the villages of Waaki North, Kapapi Central, Waaki South, Runga, and Kiryatete within Kapapi and Kiganja sub-counties in Hoima district 

Their actions were aimed at positioning themselves to benefit from compensation related to the community’s land, earmarked for an EACOP (East African Crude Oil Pipeline) project scheduled to be developed on this territory.

The private prosecution case of the 13 suspects will re-appear in the same court on the 19th of December 2023 with plea taking.

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Breaking: The army general, police chief, presidential representative, and others are appearing before the Hoima Chief Magistrate court today.



By Witness Radio team

Hoima, 13th of November 2023. A Ugandan Army General, Hoima Rural District Police Commander, and a Presidential representative among the 13 suspects expected to be charged with several criminal and human rights violation offences committed while forcefully evicting over 2500 local families to give way for an East African Crude Oil pipeline (EACOP) project.

Brig. Gen. Peter Akankunda Nabasa, one Gafayo Ndawula William, Kyakashari Micheal a Deputy Resident District Commissioner in Hoima, one Oketcha Micheal, Bogere Patrick, a Hoima Rural District Police Commander, one Kiiza Nathan Byarugonjo, one Oromo Luzira, a Local Council One Secretary for Runga, one Mukindo Bosco, Okethi Bosco, Oming Jacob, Muswa Micheal, Kawiya Henry, Ningaling Joseph, and others still at large accused of raping women, defilement, arson, and criminal trespass among other offenses.

The 1st accused person is the Deputy Commander of Uganda Peoples Defense Forces, First Division Kakiri in Wakiso District; The 2nd accused person is a Businessman with Businesses in Hoima District; the 3rd Accused is Deputy RDC Hoima District. The 4th accused is the Hoima Rural District Police Commander. The 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th & and 13th accused persons are residents of Kapapi Village and were agents of the evictors.

It followed on October 12th 2023 when the 13 suspects’ plea-taking flopped after the absence of the trial magistrate.

Meanwhile only four of the thirteen suspects, namely Gafayo William Ndawula, Oketcha Micheal, and Oromo Luzira, lawyers for Brig. Gen. Peter Akankunda Nabasa was present in court on that day.

On 11th/09//2023, the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) Project-Affected Persons (PAPs), through their lawyers Arinaitwe Peter and Company Advocates started a private criminal proceeding against the thirteen suspects to hold suspects accountable for their criminality and human rights violations.

Each charge attracts different punishments on conviction, as shown below;

Section 124 of the Penal Code states that the punishment for rape on conviction is liable to suffer death; the punishment for assault on court conviction is five years; the punishment threatening violence on court conviction does not exceed four years; the punishment for arson on court conviction is fourteen years; and Punishment for robbery, one has to suffer life imprisonment among others.

According to the charge sheet, the accused persons and their agents in the wee hours (1:00 AM) local time on February 10th, 2023, raided people’s homes without a court order with dozens of unidentified armed individuals, donning Uganda Police Force (UPF) and Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) uniforms.

Acting under the orders of DPC Bogere and Brigadier Nabasa, along with armed guards from Magnum, a private security company. The suspects and their agents fired live bullets and tear gas into their houses, sexually abused women, set people’s houses ablaze, physical assaults, kidnaped, and looted livestock, and food items, and forcefully evicted project-affected families off their land.

The actions of the accused led to the grabbing of 1294.99 hectares that were being lawfully occupied and cultivated by thousands of locals in the villages of Waaki North, Kapapi Central, Waaki South, Runga, and Kiryatete within Kapapi and Kiganja sub-counties in Hoima district.

According to research findings by Witness Radio, the individuals involved in the Kapapi land grab are targeting to benefit from the potential compensation intended for community members, given that their land was identified to be impacted by the Tilenga Resettlement Action Plan 4, an EACOP project.

In one of the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) reports, Total Energies Uganda identified Kapapi, Runga, Waaki, and Kiryatete villages as areas that will be affected by the proposed Tilenga Feeder Pipeline Component (RAP 4).

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