The Commission of Inquiry into land matters has canceled the land title belonging to police spokesperson Fred Enanga and his father George Econga Okabo, a retired superintendent of police because it is shrouded in irregularities.
The disputed four square miles of land covers four parishes of Amun, Ayago, Apoi, and Alaru with over 1,740 households and is located in Maruzi Block 2, plot 66 at Oreta village, Akokoro sub county in Apac district.
Enanga and Econga were summoned after clan members including Enanga’s 96-year-old grandfather, Naphtali Enanga and his aunt Lilly Alwedo petitioned the Commission, accusing father and son of attempting to grab the customary land that belongs to the Okabo clan.
On Wednesday Enanga and Econga appeared before the Commission chaired by Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire and asked the Commission to facilitate mediation with the clan and other residents, saying they never had the opportunity to negotiate over the dispute.
Econga accused the residents of encroaching on land that belonged to his late father Enoci Okabo. He told the Commission that the occupants have no rights over the land and must vacate for his family to set up a privately owned mixed farm and mechanized agriculture project.
Enanga said their family has been a victim of unclear intrigues, propaganda and fabrications. Enanga and his father face accusations of illegally registering the customary land as freehold in the names of Awilodyang Mixed Farm, a company they jointly own in total disregard of the interests of the occupants. Awilodyang is a Langi word for ‘I bought a cow’.
The witnesses; Naphtali and Lilly Alwedo, Econga’s brother and sister respectively accused Enanga of perpetrating the dispute from the background using police officers that he occasionally draws from Apac central police station.
Enanga denied the accusations saying his parents only reported criminal activities targeted at their family and property to local leaders which led to some occasional arrests and detention of those behind those criminal activities.
He also refuted allegations that they are claiming the entire 10 square miles of the land, a complete departure from his father’s position that he owns the entire land.
The duo claims they inherited the land from Enoci Okabo, Econga’s dad after he migrated and settled in the area in 1949 after suffering the misfortune of losing three children from Okabo clan land located in Alia village in Akokoro sub-county, some eight miles from the disputed piece of land.
The two said Okabo pacified the area from a complete jungle inhabited by wildlife using hunting skills they practiced. He later distributed the land among his children with George Econga Okabo taking 3 square miles, his brothers Johnson Angala and Naphtali Enanga getting 149 acres and 2.5 square miles respectively. Simon Okwir got 100 acres while Benjamin Enanga received 3 square miles.
Enanga explained that his grandfather migrated to the area from Alia village citing witchcraft in the death of his three children. Commissioner Robert Ssebunya implored Enanga and father to negotiate with the clan members claiming the land to protect their family legacy.
The Commission told Enanga and father that the land was illegally registered in the names of Awilodyang Mixed Farm because the company is separate from George Econga Okabo who had asked for it in 1978.
Herbert Byenkya, the Commission lead counsel said the company does not qualify to secure the customary land as freehold because it was registered as a non-citizen company. In response, Enanga said their lawyer Oper and Company Advocates could have made mistakes in registering the company.
Bamugemereire indicated that the title will be canceled because it is shrouded in illegalities. Enanga’s testimony was interrupted by a repeated power outage which forced the Commission to prematurely adjourn the matter.
Clan members accused Enanga and Econga of using police to forcefully evict them or block them from accessing water from a community borehole sunk by the government in the area.
The Commission later established that the land measuring 824.28 hectares located in Oreta village in Akokoro sub county in Apac district, has been registered as freehold in the names of Awilodyang Mixed Farm, owned by Econga and his son Enanga. They registered the Company in 2018.
Appearing before the Commission earlier, Naphtali and Alwedo said they were shocked at how Enanga, who according to them rarely went to the village and was only given a small portion of land to erect a house and also do some farming in line with the clan’s objectives has now turned into a land grabber. Alwedo, told the Commission on October 7, that Enanga turned against them and began forcefully evicting them.
“Enanga and his father Econga, rarely came home. Enanga grew up in Kampala with his father and they didn’t even have any single hut in Oreta village” Alwedo narrated.
“Now, one time, his daughter died and he brought the body home for burial. Since he had no home to bury his daughter, his uncle Benjamin Enanga, offered to bury the daughter in him home. All seemed well. As a clan, they decided during the meeting after the burial that Enanga also be given some land to build a home”
Alwedo further narrated that “Enanga was given about six acres of land. He started building a house and I was even the one preparing food for the workers at the site. But to my surprise, Enanga chased me from the area and went on to chase all the clan people including his grandfather and uncles.”
The Okabo clan members are very bitter with Enanga’s actions saying he has brought blasphemy to Okabo.
Industrial Park Development in Buikwe is dispossessing hundreds of Native Families…
Structures of houses demolished by G.M Sugar in Namabere village, Buikwe District.
By witnessradio.org Team.
Buikwe – Uganda – Close to 1000 families in Namabere landing site, Buikwe District are forcefully being evicted off their land to give way for an industrial park, witnessradio.org has learned.
The industrial park which measures approximately 329.5 Ha, along the shores of Lake Victoria, is the brainchild of Magan Patel, the head of Nile Group of Companies. It is not clear whether the park authorities obtained the social and environmental impact assessment from environmental regulatory bodies as it is adjacent to the lake.
witnessradio.org findings indicate that so far the park has attracted about 26 companies amongst others include; Nile Agro Ltd; Nile Aluminum Ltd; Nile Batteries Ltd; Nile Wheat Ltd; Auro Meera Paper Ltd; Modern Distillers Ltd; Modern Laminates Ltd; Nile GM Plastics Ltd; Modern Rubber Ltd; and Cable Ltd and many others.
According to the affected persons, GM Sugar Company one of the companies targeting their land, since November 2020 with the help of Buikwe police has been forcing natives to receive payment in form of transport on a gunpoint to vacate the land. The payment ranges from 100,000 – 200,000 Ugandan shillings to residents of the area to vacate their land.
“Imagine at a gunpoint, someone is paid Uganda Shillings 100,000, his/her properties get destroyed and your forced to vacate where you earn a living. How do you feel? Do you know how hard this is?” angrily asked a 45-year-old Bayati Kafuuko.
Bayati, a mother of six (6) said that she has nowhere to go and left with nothing to feed her family since all her property was destroyed by the armed men.
“What can that money do, it can’t even meet transport costs,” added Bayati.
Several affected persons revealed that before the eviction, there was neither consultation and concession to the project nor valuation and fair compensation of their property.
“Ever since the attack started we live in fear, we cannot sleep because most of our houses were pulled down. All our fish was taken by soldiers, we have nothing to eat,” said a 58-year-old Francis Obiire.
He added that he cannot accept being illegally evicted on land he has lived on since his birth.
“My father has lived on this land since 1950. I was born here in 1962. With this little money, which land do they expect me to buy,” Obiire added.
The chairman of Namabere village Mr. Ochen Peter said his people are being intimidated without due process is followed. He further said that workers of the investors under the protection of police carry out daily patrolling of the area just to intimidate residents.
When witnessradio.org contacted Ssekamatte Musa, one of the GM Sugar company managers, he declined to speak.
“I am busy, I will call you,” he said.
Beijing proposes seven-point plan for upgrading China-Africa cooperation
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.
Trauma and wounds caused by evictions in Kiryandongo still fresh three years down the road…
By witnessradio.org Team
Kiryandongo-Uganda -Anna Maria Mukabariyanga a mother of four is one of the people that have tested the wrath of Kiryandongo Sugar Limited. It’s one of the multinational companies that have evicted over 35000 people to pave way for different projects
Mukabariyanga a resident of ranch 23 was attacked by security operatives of Kiryandongo Sugar, beaten, and thrown out of her house on the fateful night that left many homeless.
She was pregnant and in the process, she had a miscarriage.
“I was 8 months pregnant when the armed operatives attacked us, beat me up on the back. My husband was away and had no one to come to my rescue. I was thrown down by one of the evictors who continued beating me,” Says Anna Maria Mukabariyaga.
“In five days, I started bleeding but could not go to the hospital because I did not have money and later on I lost my lost child. However, I was later taken to Kiryandongo Hospital by neighbors in the area I had moved to”. She adds.
Such violent repression is the tale of villagers in Kiryandongo who were never consulted or given information privy to the eviction.
“I heard notices over the radio that, people should prepare to have their land valued for compensation but that did not trickle down to us in form of meetings”. Said 78-year old Bakaikara Edward, a resident of Kakoba village, Kitwala Sub County in Kiryandongo district.
Bakaikara says, the advert ran for two months and later evictions started.
“I was born and raised on this land by the late Kamiri Kajula. My siblings and I have been staying here since childhood. They cultivated and lived on 400 hectares as a family”. He narrates.
“I had also developed the land as a farmer, but all crops were destroyed, I have nothing to feed the family on.” He added.
“Our hearts are broken. Our children are not going to school and we do not have food. We are very angry and hungry too,” Another resident only identified as Joyce chorused in as Mr. Bakaikara told his story.
Before the agribusiness companies came in, Badudu and the other small farmers of Kiryandongo planted beans, maize, sweet potatoes, bananas, groundnuts, cassava, and mangoes, and reared pigs, goats, and cows.
Much of their former land is now occupied by sugarcane, coffee, soya, and maize which are all solely exported for profits.
Joseph Walekula one of the community leaders in Kiryandongo says, many people have been turned into beggars and reduced to working on land that they used to own.
“When Kiryandongo sugar company limited came in, people lost their land, no due compensation was done. Many people joined refugee camps where they live up to now, others ran away, and we don’t know where they are.” Says Mr. Walekula.
This is all happening under the watch of government bodies and security agencies like Police that have instead turned against the communities in defense of the investors.
Kiryandongo Sugar is owned by the Rai dynasty operating agribusiness and timber activities in DR Congo, Uganda, Kenya, and Malawi. One of its directors is a shareholder of a British Virgin Islands company, which was listed in the Panama Papers database
It arrived in 2017, owns about 2400 hectares of sugarcane plantation project in Kiryandongo, and one of the three multinational projects that have continuously evicted people in the area.
Others are the; Great Season SMC Limited, a Dubai-based company reportedly owned by Sudanese businessmen building a coffee plantation on 1,165 hectares, and Agilis Partners, a company owned by US businessmen and backed by several foreign development agencies and “social impact” investors establishing a large-scale grains farm on around 3,850 hectares.
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