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Land as a security issue: endless forced land evictions and impunity threaten Uganda’s peace, lawlessness on the rise.



By Witness Radio team

Sad! A ‘landlord’ and her husband murdered in a preventable bloodshed!

On Monday, the 31st of July, 2023, families in the Kiruma sub-county in Mubende district woke up to sad news of the killing of a couple (Naava Milly Namutebi and her husband, Abdallah Kayizzi) that was claiming ownership of 906.496 hectares. Naava and the husband were killed after they were allegedly found harvesting maize belonging to a kibanja holder, Kamanzi, not his real name, due to the sensitivity of this matter. Kamanzi is a bonafide kibanja holder born on that land in 1975. He has been in and out of prison for owning a Kibanja on a piece of land ‘owned’ by Naava’s family.

In Uganda, Kibanja ownership is defined under the Land Act Cap 227, (Section 29(1)(a)(i) as a lawful occupant falling within registered land particularly described as Mailo land tenure system, while a landlord kis referred to as a property owner (including their authorized agent) who rents or leases that property (such as land, houses, or apartments) to another party in exchange for rent payments according to the Landlord and Tenant Act, 2022.

According to sources, Naava Milly Namutebi, now the deceased, has been an ‘administrator’ of the family estate however, since she assumed that responsibility in 2011, she has never gotten to terms with families she found already owning bibanja on their land.

The land has over 4000 bibanja holders, and it covers 16 villages such as Kirwanyi Central, Kirwanyi East, Kirwanyi West, Nakasagazi, Kituule A, Kituule B, Kibalagazi A, Kibalagazi B, Kakkanembe, Bukyambuzi A, Bukyambuzi B, Kisende, Mulanda, Kituule central, Kirwanyi A, and Butayunja in Kirwanyi and Kituule parishes in Butoloogo Sub County in Mubende district.

Because of endless disagreements, the deceased, on several incidents, would hire police officers from Mubende district police, army offices at Kabamba Army Barracks based in Mubende district, and private security guards to carry out arbitrary arrests, and detention, imprisonment, to carry out forced land evictions and to provide security to her (Naava) while harvesting food crops with impunity belonging to bibanja holders such as maize. All this impunity has been exercised, under the watchful eyes of the police, officers at the Director of Public Prosecution in Mubende district, Judicial officers in Mubende district, and elected leaders.

On different occasions, the late Naava could be arrested under the orders of heads of several organs and agencies of government. For instance, the former Inspector general of police fired top heads of Mubende police for failing to restrain her (Late Naava) from harassing bibanja owners, and the commission of inquiry arrested her plus her accomplices for forging documents used to evict 3,000 people from a private mailo land in Mubende district and many other incidents. However, these arrests would not deter the late from continuing her conduct.

Due to the ongoing criminalization of activities of smallholder farmers in Uganda by individuals who are politically connected, on Friday, the 24th of June, 2022, Mubende district chief magistrate court set free six community land rights defenders (victims of late Naava) who were facing murder charges and had been on remand without trial since 2019. Their release came after the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) withdrew murder charges against the six defenders for several reasons.

With the high levels of impunity in Uganda, at around 6:00 am, late Naava, her late husband, and their casual laborers rounded up, roped Kamanzi inside his house, descended to his kibanja, and started harvesting his maize.

According to sources, news of roping Kamanzi circulated in many villages. It was estimated that between 7:00 am and 7:30 am local time, a group of unknown people, allegedly found late Naava and her group harvesting Kamanzi’s maize. Naava and her husband were attacked and hacked to death.

Witness Radio Uganda has monitored and documented instances of human rights violations and abuses committed against bibanja holders and community land rights defenders who were arbitrarily arrested and detained in ungazetted detention centers and tried under kangaroo court established by late Naava and her group, peasants farm field got slashed down, many got coerced to sign documents that would take away their rights as Bibanja holders.

Failures by ministries, government departments and agencies and state organs to restrain late Naava from exercising excessive authority targeting bibanja holders and community land rights defenders have cost lives.

Several years ago, Witness Radio – Uganda documented many land related murder cases because government offices were absent, and where they are present, majority of them take sides to protecting the rich.

Uganda is witnessing a widening gap of land inequality, and if not addressed, Uganda may experience a civil war resulting from land conflicts.


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Appellate Division of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) to hear an Appeal filed by CSOs which seeks to reinstate a petition against the construction of the EACOP project tomorrow.



By Witness Radio team.

In a stirring development for environmental and human rights advocacy in East Africa, the Appellate Division of the East African Court of Justice (EACJ) is set to hear an appeal that four East African civil society organizations (CSOs) filed to re-instate the petition challenging the construction of East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project.

The organizations spearheading this appeal include the Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) from Uganda, the Center for Food and Adequate Living Rights (CEFROHT) also from Uganda, Natural Justice (NJ) based in Kenya, and the Centre for Strategic Litigation (CSL) from Tanzania.

This appeal comes in response to a ruling handed down in November 2023 by the Court of First Instance at the EACJ, which dismissed the case on ground that it was filed out of time.

The pipeline, spanning 1443 kilometers from Uganda to Tanzania, has been met with fierce opposition from many groups and environmental activists all over the world, who argue that it violates key East African and international treaties, as well as laws safeguarding human rights, environmental conservation, biodiversity, and the protection of Lake Victoria.

According to activists, the EACOP project is traversing through sensitive ecosystems, including protected areas and internationally significant wetlands, posing threats to biodiversity and ecosystems that local communities depend on for their sustenance posing grave environmental risks.

Furthermore, the project also termed as a curse by the majority of the would-be beneficiaries due to displacement of thousands of individuals from their ancestral lands, and human rights violations/abuses.

Despite the setback of the initial dismissal, the four organizations pressed forward their pursuit of justice.

In their appeal, groups contend that the Court of First Instance erred in its ruling, and want the Appellate Division to reinstate their case.

Mr. Dickens Kamugisha, the CEO of AFIEGO, expressed that they remain resolute in their pursuit of justice through the East African Court of Justice and other courts.

He further mentions that millions of East Africans have high hopes in the regional court to protect their socio-economic and environmental rights and help them continue advancing their aspirations for climate change mitigation and clean energy.

Mr. Kamugisha added that they maintained hope that the court would prioritize the rights of East Africans over the profit-seeking endeavors of large corporations, even if it came at the expense of people.

According to the Executive Director of Natural Justice, Ms. Farida Aliwa, the EACOP and related projects have already led to serious human rights abuses, including evictions, assaults and environmental destruction

“In the interests of justice, we believe that this case needs to be heard at the East African Court of Justice, as a positive outcome will be good for the East African people and planet. The Court has the power to affirm that the governments, investors, and companies violate both national and international laws and that the EACOP project must be stopped. We trust that the East African Court of Justice will see this, and decide to hear the merits of this case.” She revealed.

The case will be heard tomorrow 9:00 East Africa Standard Time at the Court of Appeal of the East African Court of Justice.

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PFZW scraps funding from Total and others for failure to transition into a cleaner energy mix.



By Witness Radio team.

In a significant move towards aligning its investments with environmental goals, Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn (PFZW) has announced its decision to disinvest from fossil fuel giants such as Shell and Total.

This decision comes after two years of intensive engagement with fossil fuel companies, during which PFZW sought to encourage the development of climate transition plans in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.

PFZW is the pension fund for the care and welfare sector based in the Netherlands. PFZW invests the contributions paid by employers and employees to achieve a high, stable, and responsible return over the long term at an acceptable level of risk. The fund invests globally in the investment categories of variable-yield securities and fixed-income securities. The pension fund had a total of € 217 billion of assets under management at the end of 2022.

According to PFZW, 310 oil and gas companies failed to demonstrate a clear transition to a cleaner energy mix.

Some of the big oil and gas companies that PFZW parted ways with are Total, Shell, and BP among others. These major corporations have frequently faced criticism for investing in fossil fuel projects.

For example, Total, among other projects putting the World climate at risk, is advocating for the construction of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) and Tilenga projects in western Uganda. Despite, environmental experts warning of potential environmental damage, Total has persisted in heavily funding these projects.

PFZW’s disinvestment strategy is part of its broader commitment to sustainability and responsible investing. The PFZW fund has sold its stakes in 310 oil and gas companies, totaling 2.8 billion euros, for failure to demonstrate a clear transition to cleaner energy sources.

During this period, dialogue with oil and gas companies was significantly intensified to encourage them to produce verifiable transition plans that support the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Joanne Kellermann, chair of the board of PFZW said that “the intensive shareholder dialogue over the past two years with the oil and gas sector on climate has made it clear to us that most fossil fuel companies are not prepared to adapt their business models to ‘Paris’. While the largest companies in this sector do invest in sustainable forms of energy, the switch from fossil to low carbon is not nearly fast enough. Incidentally, this reflects the slow pace we see globally in the transition to renewable energy.”

According to PFZW, seven listed oil and gas companies with a compelling climate transition strategy will remain part of the portfolio. This contributes to the goal of investing more in companies that play a positive role in the global energy transition.

Despite parting ways with numerous fossil fuel companies, PFZW will continue to invest in seven oil and gas companies that have demonstrated a commitment to transitioning towards renewable energy sources. These companies, including Cosan S.A., Galp Energia, and Neste Oyj, are regarded as frontrunners in the energy sector due to their efforts to reduce carbon emissions and invest in low-carbon technologies.

“The seven companies we will continue to invest in are the only ones that show a switch is possible. At the same time, it is disappointing that there are only seven. We encourage the biggest players in the oil and gas sector to also accelerate the switch to a cleaner energy mix.” She revealed.

Furthermore, to significantly increase its investments in companies focused on improving the climate and energy transition, allocating two billion euros over the next two years to companies with measurable impacts on climate and the energy transition reflecting PFZW’s dedication to achieving a climate-neutral investment portfolio by 2050, with interim goals such as a 50% absolute carbon reduction by 2030 for equities, liquid credit, and real estate.

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Museveni grants avocado growing investor 5 square miles of refugee camp land



President Museveni has granted investors permission to use part of the land, where Kyaaka One and Kyaaka Two refugee camps sit, for avocado growing.

Museveni, in his letter dated January 30, 2024, directed the minister of relief, disaster preparedness and refugees, Hon. Hillary Onek, to secure 10 square miles of land (2,600 hectares) off the two refugee camps of Kyaaka one and Kyaaka two.

The president says half of the land will go to avocado-growing investors, while the other half will be used to develop an industrial part in the area.

“One purpose is for an Investor to use 5 Square Miles and develop a plantation of Avocadoes, with value addition facilities for the Avocadoes being part of the package. Avocado oil is important for use in the manufacturing of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. The other square miles will be used to develop an industrial Park for that area,” the letter reads in part.

Museveni says the industrial park and avocado plantation will create approximately 200,000 jobs for Ugandans.

“An industrial Park in that area would create a lot of jobs, and so would a big plantation of avocadoes, apart from the other benefits for the Country. Namanve Industrial Park will create 200,000 jobs when it is fully developed,” the letter adds.

Museveni also noted that he had been informed that part of the land was invaded by land grabbers and promised to visit the area in April 2024, directing that the 10 square miles be secured from the available land.

“I intend to come and meet those people who invaded a well known Government land in April 2024. In the meantime, I want the 10 Square Miles from the surviving Refugee Camp of Kyaaka. That is the size of 11 Square Miles“, he said.

He says the industrial Parks would give Uganda the tax money to support both the citizens and the Refugees.

Original Source: Chimp reports  Via

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