By witnessradio.org Team
Tough times are ahead for native land owners in Uganda. This is the case because land grabbers are changing tactics from forceful eviction with the aide of state machinery to conspiracy with senior public officers who help them obtain certificate of land titles owned by thousands of natives. The final stage of this well planed and calculated process is to transfer the land to different companies owned by one individual, witnessradio.org has learnt.
Information obtained by Witnessradio.org shows that a racket of people behind land grabbing, open and operate multiple companies which they front to illegally apply for certificate of title for land which hundreds of thousands of native families have occupied for decades. These people are known as bonafide occupants, under the law.
witnessradio.org investigations have unearthed four out of a dozen of companies under investigations that have dominated illegal land eviction including; M/S Ven group limited, Misanga Supply Farm Ltd, Kaleba Investments and Star React, a security firm/company. Businessman and NRM Boss Moses Karangwa’s shareholding in these firms stands at 60 percent by May, 2019.
The four companies have been sighted in different illegal evictions and dispossession of thousands of native families in Buganda and Busoga regions among others. Statistics show that only 15%–20% of the land is formally registered in Uganda.
According to documents obtained by witnessradio.org from the Registrar General’s office, the companies owned by one person, Moses Kalisa Karangwa – an infamous landlord in Kayunga district -who also doubles as the ruling National Resistance Movement in the same area, have doubled in the last five years.
Karangwa allegedly has a state machinery that helps him to identify arable land being occupied by natives for subsistence farming. He’s allegedly armed and under the protection of police. He uses several methods to grab land including torture, illegal arrest and detention, uses Director of Public Prosecution staff members to prefer capital offenses against rightful land owners. According to sources Karangwa who’s 24/7 armed is also known to be under full-time protection of police.
Karangwa allegedly has spotters who move from one district to another identifying unregistered-virgin land which they later grab through deploying various tactics including using herdsmen to hire grazing land for a specific period from native families (bonafide occupants) before sidelining them and registering such land as lawful owners and unleashing a private security agency known as Star React Security Guard.
Residents of Mubende and Kayunga who have tasted this new form of land grabbing have already petitioned government calling for its immediate intervention and if possible end this altogether.
In a petition to Witnessradio, which has been copied to government entities like the police, Inspector General of Government (IGG), president’s office and the ministry of lands among others, Joseph Yiga, Michael Kamoga and Francis Lubega accuse Karangwa’s racket for getting hold of land on which hundreds have settled for years through deploying underhand methods.
“This has been happening in different parts of the country and if all fails, they go to court hire lawyers with knowledge of the tendencies of the registrar or magistrate to have them evicted, ”says the trio who are brothers.
Witnessradio has also learnt that upon acquiring the titles and evicting people, transfers are immediately made to another company which in-turn sales or subdivides the land into smaller plots that are sold at a higher price.
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: https://www.iisd.org/system/files/2023-09/ngo-statement-on-energy-sector-strategy-2024-2028.pdf
Complaint against unprofessional conduct of the DPC Kiryandongo district for aiding and abetting land grabbing in kiryandongo district.
Professional Standards Unit, Uganda Police-Kampala.
RE: COMPLAINT AGAINST UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT OF THE DPC KIRYANDONGO DISTRICT FOR AIDING AND ABETTING LAND GRABBING IN NYAMUTENDE KITWARA PARISH KIRYANDONGO DISTRICT AND CARRYING OUT ILLEGAL ARRESTS AND DETENTION OF INNOCENT RESIDENTS/ BIBANJA OWNERS FOR PROTESTING AGAINST THE ILLEGAL EVICTION FROM THEIR LAND.
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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