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Government cancels Pastor Kakande’s Mubende land titles

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Government has cancelled land titles which had been issued to Pastor Samuel Kakande for the 26 square miles of land he acquired in Mubende District.
Pastor Kakande, who heads the Kampala based Synagogue Church of All Nations, had reportedly planned to use the land to expand his rice scheme.
The affected residents are spread in 56 villages. The cancellation is in response to Mubende District Land Board secretary, Ms Mary Jessica Nankabirwa who admitted that the process of giving away land to Pastor Kakande was marred by gross irregularities.

“… this is therefore to inform you that this office has gone ahead to cancel the said certificates of title mentioned above. The complainants as may thus go ahead and apply to the land board for their land,” reads part of the letter written by the senior registrar of titles at the ministry of lands, Ms Aisha Kibira.
The disputed land has over 10,000 sitting tenants spread in two Sub Counties of Manyogaseka and Kiganda.

On January 22, 2018, Ms Nankabirwa wrote to the registrar of titles in the ministry of Lands saying they had revoked a resolution that had granted Pastor Kakande lease to utilize the land.
Mubende District had issued two copies of freehold land titles to Pastor Kakande.
One of the canceled titles was in the names of Mechanised Agro Uganda Limited where Pastor Kakande is the biggest shareholder. Other shareholders are Mr Jonathan Byabasaija, Ms Joy Male, Mr Jonson Mwanguzi and Ms Eva Nakatudde.

The land titles
Mechanised Agro Uganda Limited was allocated 13 square miles on Block 436, Plot 33 in Ndeeba Village, Kiganda Sub County. The second title was in the names of Pride Chick Uganda Ltd where Pastor Kakande and his secretary, Ms Noeline Ndagire, are shareholders.
The land, measuring 13 square miles, is on Block 436, Plot 34, in Lwakabuutu Village, Singo. Both titles were issued on August 4, 2016.
When news of cancelling the titles reached Mubende on Monday, the sitting tenants were seen celebrating.
Kasanda South MP Mr Simeo Nsubuga who is the area MP mobilized residents to celebrate this milestone and commended government for listening to the cries of poor residents.

“If people in the Ministry of Land continue to care about the plight of the poor Ugandans who are pushed off their land like they have done in this case, I am sure the current episodes where people are deprived of their land by rich people will come to an end,” he said.
The tenants had earlier complained that they were not given first priority, as stipulated in the law to buy the land and develop it.

They claim that the district officials had frustrated all their efforts to regularise their tenancy on the land, claiming that it is a forest reserve.

Meanwhile, after detecting the anomalies in the land titles in January this year, Pastor Kakande through his lawyers, Bakara Legal Associated Advocates unconditionally surrendered the duplicate certificates of title to the district land board for cancelation. In a letter dated January 16, 2018, a copy of which Daily Monitor has seen, Pastor Kakande’s lawyers, said though their client was the registered proprietor of the disputed land, they had discovered that the sitting tenants’ claim had merit.
“Therefore, our clients have taken a decision to forward the said two duplicate certificates of title to you [Mubende District Land Board] unconditionally for cancelation. Kindly acknowledge receipt thereof in writing,” Julius Mukholi Wamukota, one of Pastor Kakande’s lawyers, wrote.

Pastor Kakande already owns rice schemes in Kibaale, Masindi and Masaka Districts.
He was, however, last year faulted by the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire-led Commission of Inquiry into land matters for destroying wetlands on the shores of Lake Victoria in Masaka and ordered to halt all his activities.
Mubende, is one of the few remaining districts with vast arable land and the area has been the scene of intense land wrangles for many years which have led to loss of lives in some villages.

Source: Daily Monitor

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Business & Human Rights: Industrial Park Development in Buikwe is dispossessing hundreds of Native Families…

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By witnessradio.org Team

Buikwe – Uganda – Close to 1000 families in Namabere landing site, Buikwe District are forcefully being evicted off their land to give way for an industrial park, witnessradio.org has learned.

The industrial park which measures approximately 329.5 Ha, along the shores of Lake Victoria, is the brainchild of Magan Patel, the head of Nile Group of Companies. It is not clear whether the park authorities obtained the social and environmental impact assessment from environmental regulatory bodies as it is adjacent to the lake.

witnessradio.org findings indicate that so far the park has attracted about 26 companies amongst others include; Nile Agro Ltd; Nile Aluminum Ltd; Nile Batteries Ltd; Nile Wheat Ltd; Auro Meera Paper Ltd; Modern Distillers Ltd; Modern Laminates Ltd; Nile GM Plastics Ltd;  Modern Rubber Ltd; and Cable Ltd and many others.

According to the affected persons, GM Sugar Company one of the companies targeting their land, since November 2020 with the help of Buikwe police has been forcing natives to receive payment in form of transport on a gunpoint to vacate the land. The payment ranges from 100,000 – 200,000 Ugandan shillings to residents of the area to vacate their land.

“Imagine at a gunpoint, someone is paid Uganda Shillings 100,000, his/her properties get destroyed and your forced to vacate where you earn a living. How do you feel? Do you know how hard this is?” angrily asked a 45-year-old Bayati Kafuuko.

Bayati, a mother of six (6) said that she has nowhere to go and left with nothing to feed her family since all her property was destroyed by the armed men.

“What can that money do, it can’t even meet transport costs,” added Bayati.

Several affected persons revealed that before the eviction, there was neither consultation and concession to the project nor valuation and fair compensation of their property.

“Ever since the attack started we live in fear, we cannot sleep because most of our houses were pulled down. All our fish was taken by soldiers, we have nothing to eat,” said a 58-year-old Francis Obiire.

He added that he cannot accept being illegally evicted on land he has lived on since his birth.

“My father has lived on this land since 1950. I was born here in 1962. With this little money, which land do they expect me to buy,” Obiire added.

The chairman of Namabere village Mr. Ochen Peter said his people are being intimidated without due process is followed.

He further said that workers of the investors under the protection of police carry out daily patrolling of the area just to intimidate residents.

When witnessradio.org contacted Ssekamatte Musa, one of the GM Sugar company managers, he declined to speak.

“I am busy, I will call you,” he said.

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Two Witness Radio members, 26 others have been released on bail after spending close to 3 years in jail…

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By witnessradio.org Team

Mubende – Uganda – the High Court in Mubende has released two Witness Radio members and 26 others on bail after spending 28 months in prison. In late 2018, all the 28 were targeted and arrested because of their role in empowering the community to lawfully desist an illegal eviction, charged with 9 counts including murder and aggravated robbery, and remanded.

This was the second bail attempt after the 2019 bail for two Witness Radio members Grace Nantubiro and Ronald Mugwabya was rejected by the then Mubende High Court resident Judge Justice Joseph Murangira on pretty flimsy excuses.

Before the arrest of Grace Nantubiro and Ronald Mugwabya, the duo had used the media platforms local radio stations, and community meetings to call upon Mubende district authorities to intervene and stop an illegal and forceful eviction of 3500 inhabitants off five villages namely; Kambuye, Kikono, Kyabaana, Kanseera, and Lwensanga in East Division in Mubende municipality by one Kaweesi George.

Also in the line of fighting for the protection of the community’s land, Grace Nantubiro, Ronald Mugwabya, and some members of the press at one point were waylaid and kidnapped by laborers of the businessman. Mubende police rescued them but the perpetrators remained scot-free.

Due to public pressure, the situation was arrested by the then Mubende district police commander Martin Okoyo and other leaders, stopped the eviction, and ordered the withdraw of the businessman’s casual laborers from the community’s land until the land matter is resolved.

Shortly after the withdrawal, the laborers were secretly returned on the conflicted land in the wee hours in the following night and a fight ensued between businessman’s laborers and some locals. In a process, the life of one Yunusu Tabu was lost. Tabu was a manager of laborers.

The deadly scuffle introduced the criminalization of land rights defense and caused a random arrest that targeted Grace Nantubiro and Ronald Mugwabya because of their work. Some of the activists namely; Mugisha Focus, Ssekamana Kaloli, Mwikirize Keleti, Ssewanyana Kizza John, Tumwine Moses, Bigirwa Gilbert, Mulindwa Tadeo, Kayesu Patrick, Kyalimpa Tobias, Mugisha Stephen, Mwesigye John, Kiiza John Bosco, Byakatonda Aroon, Manirikiza Elidefunce, Tabalamule William, Kobwemi Christopher,  Kiwanuka Emmanuel, Senkula Charles, Ssemombwe George, Musinguzi Paul, Biryomumisho Fred, Maniriho Forodis,  Habimana Ernest, Byaruhanga Emmanuel, Mwesigye Julius, and Kezaala Saul were severely beaten and tortured by Mubende police during the arrest and as result, some still have visible scars all over their bodies.

The ill-planned arrest and conduct by Mubende police facilitated a land grab of more than 322.5 hectares, registered on Block 168; Plots 19, 22, and 23 in Mubende Municipality, Mubende district.

While appearing before Mubende High Court Judge Justice Isaac Muwata, all the 28 were released on a cash bail of 100,000 Uganda Shillings (one hundred thousand shillings) equivalent to about US dollars 28 while sureties were conditioned UGX 2 million not cash.

Other conditions, the 28 are required to report to the Mubende High Court registrar’s chambers every first Monday of the month.

 

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Renewing demand for justice; the 28 land rights defenders have applied for bail

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By witnessradio.org Team

Mubende – Uganda – the defense lawyers of the 28 community land rights defenders have filed new applications for bail at Mubende High Court after spending 3 years in prison.

The 28 include two staff members of Witnessradio.org‘s Nantubiro Grace and Mugwabya Ronald.

Others are; Mugisha Focus, Ssekamana Kaloli, Mwikirize Keleti, Ssewanyana Kizza John, Tumwine Moses, Bigirwa Gilbert, Mulindwa Tadeo, Kayesu Patrick, Kyalimpa Tobias, Mugisha Stephen, Mwesigye John, Kiiza John Bosco, Byakatonda Aroon, Manirikiza Elidefunce, Tabalamule William, Kobwemi Christopher,  Kiwanuka Emmanuel, Senkula Charles, Ssemombwe George, Musinguzi Paul, Biryomumisho Fred, Maniriho Forodis,  Habimana Ernest, Byaruhanga Emmanuel, Mwesigye Julius and Kezaala Saul.

They are facing 9 counts including murder, and aggravated robbery among others.

The prosecution alleges that on October 12, 2018, the accused at Kambuye-Kanseera, Mubende district, killed and robbed Yunus Kasajja Tabu of his three mobile phones.

Late Tabu allegedly died during a fight with land grab affected community whose assailants are still unknown. Tabu was a manager of local businessman one Kaweesi George, under the protection of police grabbed 322.5 hectares and violently evicted over 3500 lawful occupants on Block 168; Plot 19, 22 and 23 covering five villages namely; Kambuye, Kikono, Kyabaana, Kanseera and Lwensanga in East Division, Mubende Municipality, Mubende district. The land is adjacent to Kaweeri Coffee Plantation is covering on.

However, police carried out a random arrest and targeted land rights defenders and activists that were mobilizing and empowering the landgrab affected community to resist an illegal and forceful eviction.

In January 2019, the attempt to get bail for witnessradio.org‘s Nantubiro Grace and Mugwabya Ronald was denied High Court in Mubende’s justice Joseph Mulangira.

According to officials at Mubende High Court, bail applications will be heard this afternoon.

 

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