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How Formasa Co. Limited Forged Certificates of Titles to Grab Square Miles of Land in Mubende



How Formasa Co. Limited Forged Certificates of Titles to Grab Square Miles of Land in Mubende

In the previous story touching the lawsuit 172 evictees filed in Mubende district, we told you about the lead petitioners, the defendants.

As promised, now brings you the particulars of “fraud” orchestrated by Formasa Co. Limited, which is the 2nd defendant in an already ongoing suit.

It is alleged that Formasa Co. Limited “forged certificate of title for land allegedly comprised in Mubende District, Buwekula Sub-County, Block 61 Plot 37.”

Secondly, it is stated in the suit that Formasa “forged certificate of title for land allegedly comprised in Mubende district, Buwekula Sub-County, Block 61 Plot 27.”

With these two forged titles, Formasa Co. Limited claimed to be the true owner of the land covering 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.

The plaintiffs, state that the second defendant therefore, through workers, employees and or agents unleashed all kinds of terror against them which affected them in the following ways;

·         The destruction of crops of plaintiffs and other similarly affected persons, violated the plaintiffs’ right to livelihood and adequate standard of life, which is protected under article 22(1), 45 of the constitution

·         Causing unlawful arrest and detention of some plaintiffs and other similarly affected persons, violated their right to personal liberty which is protected under article 23(1) of the constitution

·         The violence deployed against the plaintiffs and other similarly affected persons; including the savage beating up of individuals and their families; cutting them with machetes, blackmailing them, burning up and or breaking down their houses, threatening them with unspecified consequences, threatening them with forced evictions, planting seedlings in their gardens, and the destruction of their homesteads orchestrated by Formasa Co. Limited violated the right of plaintiffs and others similarly situated, to freedom from torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment which is protected under article 24, 44 (1) of the constitution

·         The entry into homesteads of the plaintiffs and others similarly situated, by the defendants without prior permission or information violated their right to privacy of person, home and property, which is protected under article 27 of the constitution

·         The failure by police to protect the plaintiffs and other affected people from the atrocities perpetrated by the 2nd defendants is a violation of Attorney General, the 5th defendant’s duty under article 20 of the constitution to protect the rights and freedoms of the people

On completion of making a case regarding certificate of title forgeries, the plaintiffs goes ahead to demonstrate the facts constituting their cause of action as follows;

·         The plaintiffs are customary and or bonafide 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 Kyendikyo in Kalekenzi parish, Madudu Sub-County, Buwekula County and Kicucuulo village, Kasolo-Kamponye Parish, Butoloogo Sub-County, Buwekula County.

·         Many of the plaintiffs have always lived on the suit land, some of them since time immemorial. Others acquired land from previous holders who were lawful or customary or bonafide occupants of the land

·         Most of the plaintiffs have registered their land holdings with the Buganda Land Board abd do pay busuulu.

·         The plaintiffs lived peaceful on the suit and until 2010 when 4 people previously unknown to them, including one Henry Kalemeera Kimera, Paulo Kazuga, one Richard and another, visited the villages and laid a claim of ownership to the land comprised therein

·         It was claimed that by the 4 strangers that Henry Kalemeera Kimera, the 3rd defendant was grandson of Daudi Chwa, former King of Buganda.

·         The 4 strangers drove through the disputed land without prior knowledge of the customary and bonafide occupants of the suit land

·         On 10th July 2011, unknown surveyors entered the affected parishes in the company of armed police escort without prior knowledge of customary owners and carried out a survey. In the process, they destroyed the crops of the residents inspite of their protestations

·         Following this entry into their land, 91 customary and bonafide occupants complained to the LCIII chairman of Madudu Sub-County. In response, the LCIII chairman protested to Mubende district staff surveyor in a letter

·         Agents of the Formasa Co. Ltd repeatedly threatened the plaintiffs with forceful eviction. They likened what would befall the plaintiffs to the fate suffered by the neighboring population of Kaweri coffee where people were violently thrown off the land without compensation or that of the neighboring villages of Kendikyo, Busakya, Kabangere, Karukyokaka, Kijuuya and Kiwambya, where FRECA, a tree-planting company forcibly removed people from land without compensation

·         These instances of blackmail and pressure caused fear and panic among the occupants of the land. As a result, some accepted to seek off their land to the 2nd defendant at ridiculously low prices determined by it and then they left the area

·         Having forced some people off the land, the 2nd defendant began to plant trees on the land of those who had sold to them. But they also planted trees on the land of those who had remained on their land and not sold it to them

·         Among others,

Both reporting and editing by Deo Walusimbi


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Breaking: Witness Radio and Partners to Launch Human Rights Monitoring, Documentation, and Advocacy Project Tomorrow.



By Witness Radio Team.

Witness Radio, in collaboration with Dan Church Aid (DCA) and the National Coalition for Human Rights Defenders (NCHRD), is set to launch the Monitoring, Documentation, and Advocacy for Human Rights in Uganda (MDA-HRU) project tomorrow, 22nd February 2024, at Kabalega Resort Hotel in Hoima District.

The project, funded by the European Union, aims to promote the protection and respect for human rights, and enable access to remedy where violations occur especially in the Mid-Western and Karamoja sub-regions where private sector actors are increasingly involved in land-based investments (LBIs) through improved documentation, and evidence-based advocacy.

The three-year project, which commenced in October 2023, focuses its activities in the Mid-Western sub-region, covering Bulisa, Hoima, Masindi, Kiryandongo, Kikuube, Kagadi, Kibale, and Mubende districts, and Karamoja sub-region, covering Moroto, Napak, Nakapiripirit, Amudat, Nabilatuk, Abim, Kaabong, Kotido, and Karenga districts.

The project targets individuals and groups at high risk of human rights violations, including Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) and Land and Environmental Defenders (LEDs). It also engages government duty bearers such as policymakers and implementers in relevant ministries and local governments, recognizing their crucial role in securing land and environmental rights. Additionally, the project involves officials from institutional duty bearers including the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), Equal Opportunities Commission, and courts, among others.

Representatives from the international community, faith leaders, and business actors are also included in the project’s scope, particularly those involved in land-based investments (LBIs) impacting the environment.

The project was initially launched in Moroto for the Karamoja region on the 19th of this month with the leadership of the National Coalition for Human Rights Defenders (NCHRD).

According to the project implementors,  the action is organized into four activity packages aimed at; enhancing the capacity and skills of Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) and Land and Environmental Defenders (LEDs) in monitoring, documentation, reporting (MDR), and protection, establishing and reinforcing reporting and documentation mechanisms for advocacy and demand for corporate and government accountability;  providing response and support to HRDs and marginalized communities; and lastly facilitating collaboration and multi-stakeholder engagements that link local and national issues to national and international frameworks and spaces.

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Kiryandongo leadership agree to partner with Witness Radio Uganda to end rampant forced land evictions in the district.



By Witness Radio team.

Kiryandongo district leaders have embraced Witness Radio’s collaboration with the Kiryandongo district aimed at ending the rampant violent and illegal land evictions that have significantly harmed the livelihoods of the local communities in the area.

The warm welcome was made at the dialogue organized by Witness Radio Uganda, Uganda’s leading land and environmental rights watchdog at the Kiryandongo district headquarters, intended to reflect on the plight of land and environmental rights defenders, local and indigenous communities and the role of responsible land-based investments in protecting people and the planet.

Speaking at the high-level dialogue, that was participated in by technical officers, policy implementers, religious leaders, leaders of project affected persons (PAPs), politicians, media, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and development partners that support land and environment rights as well as the Land Based Investments (LBIs) Companies in the Kiryandongo district, the leaders led by the District Local Council 5 Chairperson, Ms. Edith Aliguma Adyeri appreciated the efforts taken by Witness Radio organization to organize the dialogue meeting aimed at bringing together stakeholders to safeguard community land and environmental rights in order address the escalating vice of land grabbing in the area.

During the dialogue, participants shared harrowing accounts of the impacts of land evictions and environmental degradation, including tragic deaths, families torn asunder, young girls forced into marriage, a surge in teenage pregnancies, limited access to education, and significant environmental damage which have profoundly affected the lives of the local population in Kiryandongo.

Participants attending the dialogue.

In recent years, Kiryandongo district has been embroiled in violent land evictions orchestrated to accommodate multinational large-scale agriculture plantations and wealthy individuals leaving the poor marginalized.

According to various reports, including findings from Witness Radio’s 2020 research Land Grabs at a Gun Point, the forceful land acquisitions in Kiryandongo have significantly impacted the livelihoods of local communities. It is estimated that nearly 40,000 individuals have been displaced from their land to make room for land-based investments in the Kiryandongo district. However, leaders in the district also revealed in the dialogue that women and children are affected most.

The Kiryandongo Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Mr. Jonathan Akweteireho, emphasized that all offices within the Kiryandongo district are actively involved in addressing the prevalent land conflicts. He also extended a welcome to Witness Radio, acknowledging their collaborative efforts in tackling and resolving land and environmental issues in the district.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we all know that the land rights together with environmental rights have been violated in our district, but because we don’t know what our rights are, because we have not directly done what we could to safeguard our rights and now this is the time that Witness Radio has brought us together to safeguard our rights. I want to welcome you in Kiryandongo and be rest assured that we shall give you all the necessary support to help us manage these rampant cases,” Ms. Adyeri said in her remarks during the dialogue meeting.

The team leader at Witness Radio Uganda, Mr. Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala expressed gratitude to the participants for their active involvement in the dialogue and revealed that Witness Radio’s objective is to find a holistic solution to the escalating land disputes in Kiryandongo district serving as an example to other districts.

“We are here to assist Kiryandongo district in attaining peace and stability because it stands as a hotspot for land grabbers in Uganda. Mismanagement of land conflicts in Uganda could potentially lead to a significant internal conflict. Everywhere you turn, voices are lamenting the loss of their land and property. Kiryandongo, abundant with ranches, suffers from a lack of a structured framework, which amplifies these land conflicts. The influx of wealthy investors further complicates the situation,” Mr. Ssebaggala disclosed.

Within the dialogue, Mr. Ssebaggala emphasized the need for the Kiryandongo district council to pass a by-law aimed at curbing land evictions as an initial step in addressing the prevalent land injustices.

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Kiryandongo authorities decry rising cases of land disputes



The LC5 chairperson of Kiryandongo, Ms Edith Aliguma Adyeri, has saidnland dispute has impacted on people’s lives, dignity and children’s education in the district.

Just like other parts of Uganda, conflicts over land in Kiryandongo arise when individuals – who often are blood relatives – compete for use of the same parcel of land or when members of the community lay claim over ownership of unutilised government land.

Ms Adyeri further said land and environmental rights affect people both directly and indirectly, “and we are not hearing it from afar. It is already together with us [here], it has already affected us!”

She was speaking at a meeting which sought to discuss alternative remedies to salvage the appalling land and environmental rights situation in Kiryandongo at the district headquarters on Thursday.

The one-day dialogue was aimed at reflecting on the plight of land and environmental rights defenders, local and indigenous communities and the role of responsible land-based investments in protecting people and the planet.

It was attended by private companies, members of civil society and local government officials and organised by Witness Radio – an advocate for land and environmental rights in Uganda – in partnership with Oxfam, and Kiryandongo District leadership.

“Some people have even died, families are broken up, and brothers are not seeing eye-to-eye because of land rights. Access to justice is equally becoming very difficult because when you hire one lawyer that
lawyer will talk to learned friends, and they agree. They leave you in suspense,” Ms Adyeri said.

According to her, some children have not accessed education because of land and environmental rights.

Mr Jonathan Akweteireho, the deputy Resident District Commissioner of Kiryandongo, said enlightened people especially should be sensitive to the historical injustice of this area.

“We can never handle the Bonyoro land question without thinking about that history. It will be an injustice to the incomers, to the government and to the leaders who don’t understand,” he said.

“We had 38 ranches here which on the guidance of these international organisations, especially the World Bank, the government restructured them, allowing people to settle there, they were never given titles and up to today, there are big problems in all those ranches,” he added.

Mr Jeff Wokulira Ssebaggala, the executive director of Witness Radio, said that a well-functional land sector supports land users or holders and investors, reduces inefficiencies and provides mechanisms to resolve land disputes.

Mr David Kyategeka, the secretary to the Kiryandongo District Land Board, said the issue of land rights is very clear but the major challenge has been sensitising the locals to know what rights he or she expects to enjoy out of this very important resource.


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