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Kampala District Land Board Chairperson Nsimbambi Reveals City Land Grabbers’ Techniques

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The investigations into Land management in Uganda are on-going by the judicial Commission of inquiry chaired by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire.

Among the witnesses that have appeared before a seven-member commission so far, is Yusuf Nsibambi, the chairperson, Kampala District Land Board.

But when he interfaced with the Commission on May19th 2017, Nsibambi, sounded frustrated not only for being paid peanuts with his commissioners, but also informed the committee about what he termed as a “curtail” in which land grabbers in Kampala associate themselves, thus revealing the techniques they apply to dupe his board with a view of siphoning tax payers’ money in connivance with various government officials.

Although he raised many other issues, the second outstanding one is lack of financial support to the board. He revealed that whereas his board fetches more than Shs 8bn annually into Kampala Capital City Authority’s coffers, the Authority fails to prioritize the remuneration of the board members to the extent that he is being paid just Shs 350,000 in his capacity as their chairperson per month.

Nsibambi thus suggested that its perhaps low earnings by his board members that leads not only corruption tendencies amongst members, but inefficiency in service delivery by his team.

witnessradio.org, brings you Nsibambi’s presentation before the Commission of Inquiry on these two particular issues verbatim.

To me, I would request this Commission to investigate further the issue of land grabbers and speculators (in Kampala) even if it involves me or the board.

It is almost curtail in Kampala because I don’t know about other boards elsewhere that there are people who have schemes of grabbing land of the vulnerable and public properties. This curtail  has established structures at the Ministry of lands, within city hall, it is fuelled, so powerful and they have control of all the structures to the extent that they actually have an inventory of land which we may also not be having as a board.

Specifically for land under our control, there are people who have running genuine leases but may be not in Uganda especially Asians, but members of this curtail would access information I don’t know whether from Ministry of lands or registry and would hide a file to appear that this land has no claimant or the lease expired.

They would even come and even add documents to your won file giving a position which is not the true position on the ground. Given that we are not facilitated and the board basically is not a permanent board, they would support a lease application supported by the area land committee recommending that the land is available or the lease expired.

So, when you carry out a search and you go to the Ministry of Lands, you would get a folio of an expired lease. When you go on ground if you have a site visit, they would organize a site visit with the person claiming to be the chairman of LC1… So, in the process, you would issue a report of lease offer, but after two weeks, you get a person saying now I am the true owner of land.

He sues the District land board and KCCA as the party that received money and within one or two months, there is judgment yet other cases are taking years and the rewards in judgments are in billions.

So, the person who lost that land, the land grabber is also suing to be awarded billions and we have about Shs 10bn as a result of judgments of this nature, but we are still questioning them.

The speculators have titles. I know this curtail is very dangerous because the settlements are carried out by insiders in KCCA without even involving us. Actually, this is the greatest challenge that I would seek your indulgence to investigate further because cases are swiftly heard and determined by courts.

We shall provide you with those cases in camera.

Lack of financial support

The board members are paid meager allowances which are not commensurate to our workload. I raise this personally because if you look at the chairperson (me) get Shs 50,000 per sitting, retainer of Shs 350,000 per month, fuel allowance of Shs 180,000 and gratuity of 40% .

Members (of the board) get Shs 50,000 per sitting, Shs 350,000 per month, and Shs 180,000 for fuel.

So, I sometimes, find it hard to raise the quorum which slows our work and sometimes fail to convene meetings because members feel that their entitlements are not enough.

The board gets an imprest  of Shs 419,000  a month and this is supposed to cater for all procurements including site visits which makes our work quite difficult. For effective discharge of the board work, we have repeatedly requested support in the following areas but in vain

We requested for a 14-seater vehicle for us to carry out such visits which are very important in ascertaining who owns what and the nature of land. We often get assistance from the applicants which make it difficult for us to deny an application from a person who gave us a lift.

We requested for a digital camera to enable us take shots in the field but we have never received it seven years later…

We raise a lot of revenue from our work, for example last year, we rose close to Shs8bn, but that money goes to KCCA fund because we are not mandated to manage funds.

In our second part of Nsibambi’s testimonies before the Commission of Inquiry, we will inform you his suggestions on Buganda Land Board and the land policy

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I write Human Rights

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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land, livelihood and investment

Beijing proposes seven-point plan for upgrading China-Africa cooperation

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African leaders at the FOCA meeting in 2018

Chato, Tanzania | XINHUA |  The 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) has achieved great success and become a new monument to China-Africa friendly cooperation, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Friday.

Wang made the remarks at a joint press conference here with Tanzanian Minister of Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation Palamagamba Kabudi during his official visit to the African country.

Wang noted that over the past two years, China has fully implemented the eight major initiatives with African countries proposed at the Beijing Summit.

Cooperation in areas of industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, health care, people-to-people exchange, and peace and security have been carried out in a comprehensive way, he said, adding that the overall implementation rate has exceeded 70 percent.

Noting that China-Africa cooperation on the “Belt and Road” is progressing smoothly, Wang said over 1,100 cooperation projects continue to operate during the epidemic.

Meanwhile, nearly 100,000 Chinese technical and engineering personnel also stick to their posts to coordinate and promote epidemic prevention and control as well as resume work and production, making important contributions to local economic and social development.

The friendship between Chinese and African people has continued to grow and the two sides have established 11 pairs of new sister cities, bringing the total number to 150, said Wang,

Furthermore, the China-Africa Institute has been inaugurated, a number of Confucius Institutes have been set up in Africa and exchanges in sectors of sports, health, tourism and youths between the two sides have yielded fruitful results, Wang added.

Wang noted that despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it will not stop China and Africa from moving forward together. The two sides are scheduled to hold a new session of the FOCAC in Senegal later this year.

“China is ready to enhance communication with our African friends and we will carefully design the outcomes of the meeting and upgrade China-Africa cooperation based on the new situation, new needs and new opportunities of China-Africa cooperation,” said Wang.

A seven-point plan for upgrading of China-Africa cooperation is also proposed by Wang.

  • –China will strengthen health cooperation, work together with Africa to completely defeat the epidemic, help Africa enhance its capacity to prevent and respond to major diseases, and jointly build a “Healthy Africa”.
  • –China will enhance production capacity cooperation and upgrade China-Africa project cooperation to a more clustered, large-scale, industrialized and localized scale. China will help Africa raise its capacity for independent production and jointly build a “Made in Africa”.
  • –China will strengthen regional connectivity, explore China-Africa free trade cooperation, and help Africa enhance internal infrastructure connectivity, unimpeached trade and financial integration so as to jointly build an “Inter-connected Africa”.
  • –China will strengthen agricultural cooperation, carry out cooperation in grain production, storage and transportation, help Africa strengthen its food security and guarantee capability to jointly build a “Harvest Africa”.
  • –China will strengthen digital cooperation, give full play to China’s technological advantages, help Africa seize the opportunity of the information revolution and jointly build a “Digital Africa”.
  • –China will carry out environmental protection cooperation, practice the concept of sustainable development, help Africa improve its ability to cope with climate change and jointly build a “Green Africa”.
  • –China will strengthen military security cooperation, promote political solutions of critical issues in Africa, help Africa enhance its peacekeeping and anti-terrorism capabilities, and jointly build a “Safe Africa”.

Wang also expressed confidence that with the joint efforts of both sides and under the guidance of the forum mechanism, China-Africa cooperation will continue to bear fruits and make greater contribution to the building of a closer China-Africa community with a shared future.

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XINHUA

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Livelihood

A tree planting Chinese Company, Formosa Limited in fresh illegal land eviction…

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By witnessradio.org Team

Mubende – Kampala – More than 14 families in 3 villages of Butoro, Kyedikyo, and Nakasozi, Madudu Sub County in Mubende district are facing fresh evictions by Formasa Tree Planting Company, a Chinese-owned company.

Since 2011, Formasa Limited under the protection of Mubende police has forcefully grabbed 2590 hectares that were a source of livelihood for poor communities.

The land grabbing has affected over 10 villages including Butoro, Kyedikyo, Nakasozi, Namayindi, Kitebe, Kisiigwa, Mukiguluka, Busaabala, and Kicucuulo located both in Maduddu and Butoloogo sub-counties, Mubende district.

Cecilia Namawejje aged 80 years, resident of Butoro is one of the families under tension after her 2acres banana plantation was cut down by a group of 42 workers of Formasa tree planting company.

In the last days of 2020, a group of 42 workers attached to Formasa Company attacked 3 villages, destroyed houses and plantations of residents forcing them off their land.

Namawejje with over 20 acres in this area said she has occupied this land for more than 50 years and this has been earning a living for her family.

“Wounds caused by Formasa to me can never heal. In 2017 my two sons; Sam Serugo and Yona Sejjombwe were arrested and imprisoned for 34 years over the same wrangles. And again they came threatening to kill us if we do not move off our land. The land we have occupied for decades, where do they want us to go,” she narrated.

Namawejje who had more than 50 acres said over 30 acres have so far been grabbed by formasa. “I cannot access the remaining 20 acres, I have a family of 8 grandchildren, we have nothing to eat and I cannot even afford to educate them,” she added.

Annet Nannyonjo a mother of 11 in the same village whose 5 acres of cassava plantation were also destroyed is in total misery due to a lack of what to feed the family.

“My husband (Salongo Ssemombwe Richard) was arrested by the same company, we used to grow food but the workers usually cut it down. Now we are left with nothing to eat,” she added.

She added that she experiences sexual assaults from the workers. “They threatened to gang-rape me because the would-be keeper (my husband) was first arrested, “she added.

Residents who have never received compensation from Formasa or its agents are being threatened and stopped from cultivating their land by company workers.

The chairperson of Butolo village, Mr. Ngenda Paul said that the case was reported to police but they were not attended to.

According to residents, Formasa land grab has deprived them of the right to food, clean water, shelter, and education for their children among others.

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