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How officials looted Shs158 billion from Land Fund

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Probe. Justice Catherine Bamugemereire (left), the head of the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters, and other members of the commission, listen to an official from the Nakaseke District land office at a public hearing in Nabbika Village, Nakaseke District, recently. PHOTO BY DAN WANDERA 

A potentially mega corruption scandal worth more than Shs158b threatens to shatter the country’s record of stealing public resources in a single scheme involving a web of government officials, lawyers and other private citizens.
The network is suspected to have carefully hatched and fuelled the ripping-off of public money from the “land fund” with impunity for at least 15 years.

It is a story that begins with the failure by government officials to establish proper procedures to run the Land Fund and ends with the same officials working with a carefully selected team with access to power to dig their fingers deeper into the government purse.

The tale of mega theft also involves the same team, using insider information, manipulating would-be or intended beneficiaries with paltry pay-offs and or forged documents.
To date, the Land Fund established under Section 41 of the Land Act as a “multi-purpose resource envelope meant to serve targeted beneficiaries, including tenants seeking to buy or own land, government seeking to buy land for redistribution to bonafide occupants or resettlement of the landless, among others” has never been operationalised but some government officials working with the “network” are using funds for the “support Uganda Land Commission” project to enrich themselves through shady reimbursements.

Through this and other avenues, taxpayer money has been channeled out ostensibly as compensation to absentee landlords in former lost counties of Buyaga and Bugangaizi in present day Kibaale District in Bunyoro. In 2002, government set up a land fund, among other things, to buy off the absentee landlords who hold land titles in Kibaale and other parts of the country.

In other cases payments have been made and are still being made in names of people who are already dead. The scandal has also put the role of some judicial officers in facilitating the theft of public resources in the spotlight.
For instance, some officers at Hoima Chief Magistrates’ Court issued letters of administration for property valued in billions of shillings yet the court has no jurisdiction to handle transactions worth Shs100m and above.

Sources privy to the dirt that is believed to have been kicked off in 2002 say the Commission of Inquiry into Land matters led by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire has only scratched the surface of the “land fund cash bonaza”. But the commission is still probing deeper with more people expected to be summoned as revelations of their greasy hands come to the fore.

“People who own the land didn’t get the money but it went to underserving people. At least 90 per cent of those who got the money are either middlemen or smart conmen in town,” a senior member of the commission told this newspaper in reference to what they have so far unearthed.
The official declined to be named and instead asked Saturday Monitor to quote their statements during the commission’s proceedings.

By the end of the ongoing investigations, the “land fund scandal” will share the same infamous podium with the 2012 Pension’s scandal in which taxpayers lost at least Sh169b and another at the Office of the Prime Minister where at least Shs50b was lost.
Similar corruption scandals that have raised eyebrows include one stemming from the 2007 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), which is estimated to have cost the taxpayer in excess of Shs247b.

Another was Shs95b reportedly stolen in the Global Fund scandal in 2008, Shs19b under the National ID scandal of 2010, Shs4b under the local council Bicycle Scandal of 2011, and more than Shs60b under the Microfinance Scandal, and at least 169b in the controversial compensation to businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba in 2011.

Same old?
Corruption scandals in the country are a common occurrence and the aforementioned are just a tip of the iceberg, and many Ugandans will, most likely, not be surprised at a new one. However, many are likely to be baffled at the extent and length of time it took for some questions to be asked of those involved.

More importantly, it will be victims like, Teddy Nansubuga who was reportedly conned of more than Shs1.4b by her lawyer that will be left with more questions than answers.
Ms Nansubuga owned more than 200 hectares of land in Kibaale District. She inherited the land from her deceased parents.

In the course of the Bamugemereire commission hearings, it became apparent that Ms Nansubuga, who is illiterate, was taken advantage of by her lawyer, Mr Richard Buzibira, who convinced her to transfer her powers of attorney to him.

In explaining to Ms Nansubuga what had happened to her, the commission’s deputy lead counsel, Mr John Bosco Suuza, perhaps summarised it best.
“These thugs, these thieves, they took advantage of you – a poor lady with limited education and exposure. They lied to you and they conned you out of all those millions that I have told you. Not only that, they used your name and went to the highest office in the land and claimed to be acting on your behalf. Somewhere along the way, a minister [Ms Betty Amongi] got involved. More money was paid in your name and you know nothing about it, which is tragic,” he said.

Mr Lawrence Semakula, the Accountant General, has already apologised for his office’s failure to detect and avert the theft of public resources. From his submissions before the commission, it appeared, he could only do so much given the powerful individuals involved.

“It is not true that we don’t have the guidelines and laws in place. The guidelines and laws are there, but they are abused by individuals,” he said before issuing an apology.
Out of the Shs1.4b Mr Buzibira and others picked on behalf of Ms Nansubuga without her knowledge, she was only paid Shs260m. The rest of the money ended in the pockets of Mr Buzibira and others. The sad tale of what befell Ms Nansubuga pales when compared to the case of “businessman” Warren Mwesigye who allegedly, fraudulently, received Shs13b from the Land Fund.

The scheme reportedly starts with Mwesigye purchasing five square miles of land in 2015 from different people at Shs500m only to claim payment shortly after from the Land Fund.
The alleged scheme by Mr Mwesigye is only an extension of the allegations against Mr Buzibira and his associates at Frank Katusiime and Company Advocates. It was a chain according to revelations from the Bamugemereire-led land commission.

Lawyer Buzibira would allegedly trick the “illiterate” owners to grant him powers of attorney, he would then transfer ownership to Mwesigye who would then whip government bureaucracy into an unusual efficiency.
In the end, at least Shs13b was released from the Land Fund to Mr Mwesigye. That, however, was not the end of the string.

The actual beneficiaries of what now appears to be a fraudulent scheme were watching and waiting in Mr Mwesigye’s account for their share, at least by Mr Mwesigye’s confession.
He told the commission that money went directly to his creditors including Legacy Group owned by businessman Ben Kavuya. Mr Mwesigye did not name the other beneficiaries.
But Kavuya in an Interview with Saturday Monitor dismissed Mr Mwesigye’s claims.
“I absolutely disassociate myself from that fellow. We’re a legitimate business company and he has never even tried to borrow from us. What he did is very bad and he did it under oath,” Mr Kavuya said. He had also in an earlier interview with this newspaper asserted that his company had no records of ever lending to Mr Mwesigye.

Commission’s lead counsel Ebert Byenkya told Saturday Monitor, in an interview, that it was becoming clear each day that the people who benefitted were not entitled. He, however, explained that they would summon more people in the coming days over the fraudulent scheme.

Those accused of involvement in scam

Richard Buzibira, an associate at Frank Tumusiime and Company Advocates, is accused by the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters of being the face of a scheme that fraudulently acquired more than Shs16 billion meant to compensate 20 claimants from the Land Fund since 2013.
Mr Buzibira and others, it is alleged, fraudulently acquired letters of attorney from their clients and working with senior government officials processed and received billions of shillings.
He stands accused of conspiracy and involvement in the questionable dealings, failure to act professionally, and other criminal acts.
“We began receiving instructions for Land Fund in 2013 and I acted as an agent and advocate. The clients came on referral basing on the number of cases I had handled. The money was paid quarterly in instalments and the vouchers show that Shs13.3 billion has since been paid and balances in the range of Shs5 billion is still pending,” Mr Buzibira testified.

Pr Daniel Walugembe, who doubles as a land dealer, is accused of defrauding government of more than Shs2.5b. He was arrested and detained after being quizzed by the commission.
Pr Walugembe of Internal Gospel Church in Kampala was dragged to the land commission by Elisabeth Musoke, a clinical psychologist, for allegedly selling land belonging to her family to the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) without consent. The land in dispute measures approximately 507 acres. Pr Walugembe denies the fraud charges. He says he paid Shs500m for the land he later sold to government at the amount.

Dennis Musinguzi

The former Kibaale District staff surveyor acquired more than 1,000 acres at Shs72,000 nominal fees and later sold the same land to ULC in 2014 at more than Shs1b.
He sold another portion of land to Hoima Sugar Ltd at Shs390m. He is also accused of aiding several government officials and other powerful individuals to acquire substantial pieces of land later sold to government through the scheme.
His role, it is alleged, was to check the accuracy of the survey files and also ensure the title was followed. He denied that he procured proprietorship of land occupied by other people to dupe government and acquire payment of Shs1b but admitted receiving the money and sharing it with other people whom he preferred revealing to the commission in a closed-door session. Mr Musinguzi, is currently a senior land management officer for Hoima District. He was arrested and released after recording a statement with the police.

James Sakka

The Executive Director of National Information Technology Authority-Uganda (NITA-U), is accused of selling a 640-acre piece of land at Bugangaizi, Kibaale District, at Shs928m obtained from the Land Fund. Part of his land is reportedly worthless. Mr James Sakka has since got a payment of Shs402m.
Mr Sakka was also faulted for selling land which did not qualify under the Land Fund, did not execute a sale agreement with ULC and did not qualify to be an absentee landlord as required by law.
The “worthless” land was valued at Shs480m while 70 per cent of the land that was occupied by squatters was valued at Shs448m.
In his testimony, Mr Sakka admitted receiving Shs402m in instalments out of total Shs927m. His land was valued at Shs15.2m.

Robert Mwesigwa Rukaari is accused of receiving Shs4.1b from the Land Fund in 2016 and 2017 for land on Plot 1 Block 123, Plot 2 Block 269 in Buyanda and Plot 3 Block 62 in Bugangaizi yet he neither owned land nor was an absentee landlord in the area.
“I first received Shs455m in 2016 and then in January 2017, I received Shs100m and in June I received Shs3.6b,” he told the commission.
He was accused of using his influence as chairman of NRM National Entrepreneur’s League and his American Procurement Company to receive the payments from government. Mwesigwa and Pr Walugembe used J.L. Oulanyah & Co Advocates owned by Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah to receive at least Shs8.6b from the Fund.

Rogers Kweezi is the principal human resource officer of Kibaale District. He is accused of, among other things, corruption, connivance, conflict of interest and abuse of office in regard to acquisition of the land. He was quizzed by the commission and later arrested for his role in regards to various plots of land he acquired and sold to ULC at Shs3.7b upon investing only Shs210,000. He disputed valuation reports but admitted receiving more than 50 per cent of the total sale price and that part of the money was paid to his wife Carolyn Kisembo, who applied for one of the portions of land.

Pius Bigirimana

The Ministry of Gender Permanent Secretary, Mr Pius Bigirimana is accused of having received under unclear circumstances compensation for land in Zirobwe from the Fund yet he did not qualify for compensation.
He reportedly demanded for Shs504m from the Fund in 2016 for 50.5 acres of land on Plot 5 Bulemeezi Block 103 that had been encroached on by squatters.
In line with the request, Lands minister Betty Amongi wrote to the commission in 2016 authorising the initial payment of Shs50m by the Uganda Land Commission to Mr Bigirimana. He later received Shs150m in 2017 for the same land.
Mr Bigirimana pleaded that he never got to know he did not qualify for the compensation but if the commission thinks he did not qualify, he is ready to follow their recommendation.

Kasirivu Atwooki

The State minister in-charge of Economic Monitoring in the Office of the President was at one time a State minister for Lands. He has been named as one of the people who acquired large tracts of an unsurveyed land belonging to the Kibaale District Land Board.
It is alleged Mr Kasirivu and other district officials paid Shs70,000 nominal fees to acquire certificates of titles for thousands of acres of land in various parts of the district so as to enrich themselves. The commission termed his alleged activities as constituting “conflict of interest and abuse of office”.

Betty Amongi

Lands, Housing and Urban Development minister Betty Amongi has been questioned about her role in handling of the Land Fund and failure to manage the same. She has also been cited for overstepping her mandate in making directives to pay from the Fund, some well-connected individuals.

Patrick Zikasangisa

By 2013, Patrick Zikasangisa, a local businessman in Kagadi, had invested Shs15m to acquire land yet he is claiming Shs904m from the Fund. With help allegedly from his area MP and friend, Finance minister Matia Kasaija, Lands minister Amongi and ULC boss Baguma Isoke, he has received more than Shs100m from the Fund and was due to be paid more when the commission of inquiry intervened. He has been accused of fraud, speculation to get money from government and telling lies, among other things.

Ms Molly Kamukama

The Principal Private Secretary to President Museveni, Ms Molly Kamukama, was questioned by the commission for allegedly directing payments from the Land Fund. She, however, said her letters were meant to address the Lands authorities on concerns raised before the President and did not in any way imply directives.

Albert Jethro Mugumya

The Uganda Land Commission (ULC) undersecretary was gilled for his role in the management of the Fund, including effecting payments based on “special requests” of minister Amongi.
On November 23, 2016, for example, he effected payment of Shs620m to nine people on the directives of Ms Amongi. He also effected payments of Shs100m for Ms Victoria Kakoko-Sebagereka, Shs50m to Mr Kuriash Barinda of Isingiro District, and Shs675.8m to Yisaka Lwakana for land at Kooki, Katete.

Source: Daily Monitor

Livelihood

Trauma and Land Loss: New Study Focuses on Mental Health of Evicted Indigenous People

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Kenyan security forces evict Ogiek people from the Mau Forest Complex in the  Rift Valley Region.

NAIROBI – At the foot of Kenya’s Mount Elgon on the border of Kenya and Uganda, the little-known indigenous community of Ogiek is living scattered in recently-built thatched huts and timber houses that belie not only their poverty but also the impermanence that followed their eviction by the government a year ago from their native lands on the mountain.

From a life in the forest, this community of just over 50,000 people can no longer access their land to hunt small game, gather wild fruits and medicinal herbs or practice beekeeping, as their forefathers did.

They have instead been forced to eke out a living through subsistence farming and keeping livestock – a lifestyle borrowed from agrarian communities. As such, they are unable to afford school fees and sometimes even sufficient food for their children.

The Ogiek community has been fighting a longstanding battle with the Kenyan government which claims that the evictions were necessary to conserve indigenous forests.

However, Daniel Kobei, the executive director of the Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program (OPDP), blames the evictions on the destruction of the forest by multinational companies and uncontrolled encroachment in the Mau Forest Complex. The OPDP is a Kenya-based NGO that promotes the recognition and identity of the Ogiek indigenous community and its culture.

As recently as July 2020, the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) personnel, with protection from the country’s security forces, have been driving the eviction process in defiance of a 2017 ruling of the African Court of Human and People’s Rights which recognised the Ogiek peoples’ right to their ancestral land, by evicting the community.

The community now finds itself thrust into an unfamiliar environment with their way of life grievously disrupted, making it difficult for them to cope – financially and emotionally.

Little Attention to Mental Strain of Evictions

Ogiek community members ponder on what to do next following their eviction from the Mau Forest Complex by Kenyan security forces.

While some local Kenyan and international groups have protested the evictions, the stress and mental health effects of the displacement have received little attention.

“When we talk about environmental changes, we often ignore the mental aspect that comes with it,” noted Billy Rwothungeyo of the Minority Rights Group International (MRG) told Health Policy Watch.

MRG is a human rights organisation that works to secure the rights of marginalized and indigenous communities around the world. It works in 150 countries, with its Africa office based in Kampala. It has a presence in Kenya, Uganda, Cameroon, Congo, Gambia, Ethiopia, Tunisia, and Egypt.

New Global Research Initiative Examines Mental Health Stress of Indigenous Communities

The Ogiek people are part of a new research initiative that will look into the mental strain faced by indigenous communities around the world facing evictions.

Indigenous communities in East Africa, Finland, Northern Thailand and India will participate in the global research project that looks at the emotional effects of environmental changes experienced by the world’s indigenous groups.

Dubbed Land Body Ecologies Research Group, the research will involve the Ogiek, the Batwa in Uganda, the Sámi in Finland, and the Pgak’yau in Northern Thailand. Communities living in the buffer zones of the Bannerghatta National Park in India will also take part.

The two-year research project, due to start in October, will involve human rights activists, mental health researchers, scientists and artists in a bid to understand solastalgia, a phenomenon defined as the emotional or existential suffering caused by environmental change. It is also commonly described as “the feeling of homesickness while still at home.”

Funded by the  Wellcome Trust Hub Award, the initiative will be led by Invisible Flock, an award-winning interactive arts studio based in London and MRG. The final project will take the form of an art exhibition in London.

“The space will be used to showcase results from the project, which will be open to the public, academics, media and other stakeholders,” explains Rwothungeyo.

“With around half of the world’s languages having no written form, art can act as a vehicle to bring forward alternative modes of expression not limited to human speech,” according to Victoria Pratt, artist and creative director of Invisible Flock in a press release

Pratt said that their approach is to tell multiple global stories at once, with the hope that through this process, solutions, answers, and meanings would be collectively conjured in the act of listening and retelling.

Indigenous Communities Continue to Lose Land.

A hut belonging to one of the Ogiek community members still smouldering following evictions carried out by the Kenyan security forces.

Indigenous communities all over the world have lost and continue to lose their ancestral lands due to encroachment from other communities and state-sanctioned evictions under the guise of forest conservation. This has brought with it environmental changes, which indigenous communities have had to live with, but whose mental and psychological toll is still not well understood, hence this new research effort.

To make matters worse, the minority groups say the global call to turn 30% of the world’s surface into protected areas by 2030 will displace hundreds of millions of indigenous peoples and traditional landowners.

Through the solastalgia research, the team aims to understand the lived experiences of land trauma on marginalised and indigenous communities.

Added to the food insecurities caused by environmental changes, indigenous communities also suffer increased incidence of diseases such as malaria, malnutrition, stomach disorders and respiratory diseases.

Involve Indigenous Communities More

“This research is supposed to inform such stakeholders as government and civil society to come up with more targeted measures to help marginalized communities, who are often overlooked in public policy,” added Rwothungeyo, maintaining that the study will also shed light on how these communities are being left behind and why governments should involve them more.

The OPDP’s Kobei said that even though the core objective of the research is to understand the mental predicament of indigenous communities brought on by environmental changes, they were hopeful that a learning center for the Ogiek culture will be established, following this study.

“If you talk to a 70-year-old Ogiek about the forest they have lost, he will talk in a very emotional manner,” said Kobei. “He will tell you of the kind of honey we used to harvest in the forest that is no more, the kind of hunting we used to undertake in the forest that is no more, the kind of herbs and clean water we used to get in the forest that are no more.”

Image Credits: Ogiek Peoples Development Program.

Original Source: Healthpolicy-watch.news

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How politically connected individuals abuse their powers to grab land for poor communities; a case of a Ugandan presidential aide

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Mrs. Grace Majoro Kabayo, (standing in the middle) in a meeting that was blocked by residents.

By witnessradio.org Team

As the demand for land for land based investments soars, the middleman’s role in the unlawful land transactions between investors and government agencies remains crucial in the broader scheme. The middleman business has become a lucrative venture in Uganda; more people are being recruited into it. For a public servant with access to vital information from land registries, the business is a goldmine. Middlemen are grabbing land for investors.

From the stage of land grabbing to investing, middlemen resort to the use of violence orchestrated by both police and other security agencies; at this point, high levels of impunity are exhibited, land rights defenders and land owners who demand for justice are then arrested for non-existent offences.

Witness Radio – Uganda records show that a reasonable percentage of grabbed land from poor communities in the country have for instance remained undeveloped.

In Mubende District, Central Uganda, residents accuse Mrs. Grace Majoro Kabayo a Senior Presidential Advisor for using her position to fraudulently acquire their land using police and officials from the Ministry of Lands. Ironically, Kabayo advises the President of Uganda on Pan-Africanism, and doubles as the Executive Secretary of the Pan African Women Organization’s PAWO Eastern Africa chapter, where she oversees the organization’s day-to-day activities.

Mubende District according to Witness Radio – Uganda figures, is ranked as one of the districts with the highest incidents of forced and illegal evictions and has registered with more than five cases since the year 2021 started.

Mubende District is bordered by Kyankwanzi District to the north, Kiboga District, Kassanda to the northeast and Mityana District to the east. Gomba district and Sembabule District lie to the south, whereas Kyegegwa District to the southwest and Kibaale District to the northwest.

Mrs. Kabayo with her political influence is allegedly using survey and boundary opening tactics to grab 625 Ha of land for thousands of inhabitants, which she has never lived on or owned.

According to locals, this is not the first time for the presidential advisor to engage into land grabbing, in 2017 while accompanied by the police in Mubende, she forcefully surveyed and grabbed 20 square miles and now wants to expand.

It is anticipated if Kabayo succeeds with the land grab, more than 5000 people on five villages comprising Kattambogo A, Kattambogo B, Rwobushumi, Rwonkubi and Nyaruteete, in Kigando-Buwekula Sub County in Mubende district, will lose their livelihood.

A letter dated 29th March, 2021, signed by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mrs. Docus Okalanyi which Witness Radio – Uganda obtained a copy, okayed the move by the president’s advisor to open boundaries on land located at block 379 and all adjacent blocks which include: 378, 380 and 381 a process which the residents opposed.

Without any prior notice to the residents, Kabayo accompanied by the officers from Ministry of Lands, State House officials, and security personnel for the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) and Uganda Police had planned to conduct a rally at Nyarutete, one of the 5 villages, but was blocked by the angry residents.

Mr. Ruzhoga Laurent, 53, a resident of the village from birth, said, they have been facing threats of forced evictions for the last three years by Kaboyo. He asserted that his family would not leave the land for an imposter. Ruzhoga added that he would only leave as a corpse.

Jordan Byakatonda, an area land committee, chairperson said, the land targeted is public land with people on living on it.

He said, any person who wishes to get a leasehold on public land must first show his or her interest in the land before picking application Form 8 from the District Land Office or Area Land Committee, fill it, and attach 4 passport photos. He stated that the area land committee’s mandate involves receiving applications and issuing notices for public hearings concerning land ownership using Form 10, Byakatonda observed that Kaboyo had not engaged the committee during the process.

Information Sources from Mubende district preferring anonymity for security reasons accused some government officials of manipulating the stated legal procedures and guidelines. “Everything is coming from the center (ministry) instead of starting from an area where the land is located”, said the source.

“The first time we saw her, she was grabbing land and now she has come back to take ours. When she was asked by the land probe committee headed by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire why she had surveyed the land forcibly, she replied that she never surveyed any land and did not know those people,” another villager who preferred anonymity said.

According to guidelines of Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Planning Act, 2010 and Land Act, Cap 227, state that;

Any applicant for a leasehold on the public land must have in his/her possession fully completed form 4,10,19 23, a set of 3 authentic deed plans, 3 passport photographs, receipts of payment and a forwarding letter requesting for a freehold title signed by the District Land officer of the respective district where the land is located.

Step 2

The applicant presents the full set of original documents in duplicate and a photocopy of the same to the department of land administration for checking.

The photocopy is stamped received and returned to the applicant. The applicant checks with the department of land administration after 10 working days to confirm their approval or rejection.

Step 3

Once approved the documents are forwarded to the department of the land registration for issuance of a freehold land title. The applicant checks after 20 working days.

Step 4

The applicant presents the photocopy given to him/her by the department of land administration stamped, received and identification documents on collecting the freehold Title. The applicant signs for the title and the photocopy is stamped returned on completion.

Documents required include; Deed plans, set of passport photographs, general receipts of payment and a requesting letter. Fees paid at the ministry. Registration fees-10,000#, Assurance of the title- 20,000#, issuance of the title-20,000#.

The preliminary steps that involve the Area Land Committee were not complied with by Mrs. Grace Majoro Kabayo as she acquired land that accommodates thousands of people.

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Witness Radio welcomes the World Bank’s intervention into Kawaala drainage channel project affected persons…

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By witnessradio.org Team

Kampala – Uganda – Witness Radio Uganda has welcomed the World Bank’s decision to intervene into its funded project which is dispossessing poor urban dweller at Kawaala Zone II, Lubaga division, Kampala district.

On March 4th, 2021, the World Bank Team held its first ever virtual meeting with other stakeholders including the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) over a forceful implementation Kampala Institution and Infrastructure Development (KIIDP 2) project.

On top of running to court to stop an illegal eviction, the residents through Witness Radio – Uganda lawyers raised a complaint to the World Bank to restrain its grantee (KCCA) from imposing a project they (residents) never participated in from the start.

In 2015, KCCA acquired USD 175 million loan from the World Bank and the International Development Association (IDA) for Kampala Institution and Infrastructure Development (KIIDP) project. However, part of the money (USD 17.5 million, which is 63 billion Uganda shillings) was earmarked to construct Lubigi Primary Channel.

Without following business and human rights standards, KCCA started using tricks aimed dispossessing the poor urban community at Kawaala including; hiding under section 72(1) cap 281 of the Public Health Act, and issued a notice to dwellers to pull down what it termed illegal structures erected on their land or otherwise, KCCA would do so at the cost of residents, just to cause a property loss to them.

In a meeting chaired by Martin Onyach-Olaa, a Task Team Leader, Senior Urban Specialist at the World Bank, faulted KCCA for failing to engage community including taking the contractor to the ground without their notice.

“The project affected community have valid grievances, which must be attended to in the interest of Kawaala project” Said Onyach-Olaa

The representatives from the affected community accused KCCA of intimidation, undertaking a forceful survey, sidelining and usurping powers of elected local leaders, extortion and undermining business and human rights standards before and during the implementation of the World Bank project.

“I was threatened and forced to participate in KCCA valuation exercise of my properties and I never understood what was done. I was even lured to sign on certain documents that were in a language they never explained and no copy was left with me. I am opposed to the KCCA’s working and I will not allow them to come back on my property: Said Segue Abbas.

He added that when he sought wise counsel from his lawyers, he just realized that he had been duped.

Among other recommendations, KCCA was advised to embark on an inclusive exercise to identity project affected persons, properties to be affected by the project and ensure that surveys and property valuation exercises are undertaken in accordance within the law.

About the Grievance Redress Committee the KCCA claims they elected, the World Bank saw it important that the Grievance Redress Committee be put in place with a complaint book and functional internal appeal mechanism.

It was further emphasized that no Kawaala resident will be forcefully lose his/her under a project being funded by the World Bank.

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