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Is gun violence and state power…determining land ownership in Uganda?


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Charles Lwanga Masengere, 51, is counting 17 years of fighting for his land and lost properties worth billions of shillings but the journey is still far From over with no sign yet of regaining his access to land and use…!

“The 17 year-fight has been coupled with kidnap and put into a car boot, violent arrests, torture and being subjected to different forms of inhumane degrading treatment throughout my entire youthful time fighting to get back my land, which has been my employer and source of livelihood for my entire family” Masengere narrated findings indicate that the grabbed 642.65 hectares hosted five villages namely Mitigyabisobyo, Katuugo, Kasagi, Katovu, and Kyerimira, Mundadde parish, Kitumbi Sub-County, Mubende district.

Masengere, 51 said he lost his ancestral land to one Moses Karangwa, whose source of backing is not yet established, he is believed to be a powerful businessman with connections to the first family and the ruling party National Resistance Movement. Masengere said that he owned fixed assets including houses, both digging and planting tractors, maize flour millers, maize garden measuring over 80 acres and family land worth billions.

“I have been in and out of police cells, incarcerated in prisons on trumped-up criminal charges after being beaten numberless times by armed personnel. My private parts were at on point squeezed, which affected my manhood and life has never been the same again. I have survived four assassinations so far and [Moses] Karangwa himself attempted to shoot me [dead]” Masengere told in an interview.

Can you imagine a rich man owning properties worth billions of money being charged with chicken and goats’ robbery and at times armed robbery? It’s a true story that Masengere faced such charges inside different courts.

Masengere who once lived a happy man besides his family told that Karangwa uses armed personnel from police and Star React, his personal security firm. “He (Karangwa) has a strong connection with top leadership especially in Mubende district namely Resident District Commissioner (RDC) and both regional and district police commanders, who provide protection and manpower anytime he wants.

Although has not confirmed yet names of people occupying public offices in a racket to protect land grabbers in the country but Masengere insisted that these individuals were purposely appointed to work in key criminal justice institutions to frustrate land grabbing cases namely in judiciary, Uganda police Force and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Masengere claims that he has on several times met his tormentors in private meetings with public officials working on his case files whenever he tried to make follow ups on his matters, who after tell him to a money offer since he’s not going to win these land cases.

So, upon completing his five-year original lease period, Masengere was allowed to extend his lease offer and registered his Mitigyabisobyo mixed farm in 1978 on top of surveying and demarcating the land on plot number 28, block 489 at Mitigyabisobyo estate. So, when he succeeded his father, Masengere rightly carried on with his father’s work.

“After succeeding him, I got letters of administration which enabled me to proceed with his farming activities on the land,” Masengere said.

He added; “In 1997, I went to Lands to check on the status of the land and I was informed that dad had surveyed it and allocated plot number 28, block 489 at Mitigyabisobyo estate. Lands allowed me to open boundaries of the land they got me the surveyor only identified as Dhaka who wrote a report to Lands.”

Trouble strikes: Although he had made strides in obtaining the title of the land he inherited, Masengere met resistance from the lands officer at Mubende district. “Before obtaining my title, one Namukoye who worked as land officer, Mubende district wrote a letter stopping me from getting it.” Masengere said.

Her reasoning was that during the process of opening the boundaries, “I encroached on Mugenyi’s land.”

Masengere says that “I later discovered that she had curved out 200 hectares out of my land and allocated it to Kabagambe, Kasamunyiga and Kanamunyiga, all casual workers who were hired to look after heads of cattle before entering into a 1-year rent agreement on my land in 1998 with my manager Anthony Kasozi.”

Upon expiration of their rent agreement, the trio adamantly “refused to vacate the land which prompted me to charge them with criminal trespass in 2000 at Mubende court.”

Though he won the case, Masengere says that it wasn’t easy ride as different people opted to “charge me with criminal offences.” But fortunately, the court ruled in Masengere’s favor.

Masengere is the heir to his father Josephat Kasozi Lubega who was shot dead at Makindye, a Kampala surburb in 1986. Before his death, Lubega acquired a lease-hold of the contested land in 1972 from the Uganda Land Commission for farming activities.

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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:

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Complaint against unprofessional conduct of the DPC Kiryandongo district for aiding and abetting land grabbing in kiryandongo district.



The Commandant,

Professional Standards Unit, Uganda Police-Kampala.

Dear Sir/Madam;


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

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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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