Probed. State Minister for Lands Persis Namuganza
Kampala. A minister on Tuesday questioned the usefulness and work methods of the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire-led Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters, and said the commissioners need to treat witnesses with respect.
Ms Persis Namuganza, the State minister for Lands, also told the commissioners that their gymnastics of scolding witnesses in media glare is not conducive for information sharing and serves to embarrass and smudge the reputation of accused people.
Such individuals suffer lasting damage when the allegations turn out to be false, she said, adding that the Commission is also endangering the country’s credibility.
“We have the issue of Temangalo land…one of the people being mentioned is former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi; a lot of things were being written about Amama not putting in mind that he is hosting a very important in-law, a president of another country,” the minister said.
She was referring to last weekend’s visit to Kampala by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa to attend his son Andile’s traditional marriage to Bridget Birungi, a foster daughter of Mr Mbabazi.
Justice Bamugemereire said the ex-premier had not been on their radar and they stood ready to receive “information from you (Namuganza) after this hearing because that is not what we are investigating”.
Mr Mbabazi and his business associate Amos Nzeyi, who was summoned and testified before the Commission yesterday, acquired land on the cheap from sellers in Temangalo in Wakiso District and kicked up a political storm when they in 2008 sold it multiple times more expensively to the National Social Security Fund.
Minister Namuganza appeared before the Commission to explain her role and the circumstances under which she took purported owners of a land in Mubende District, whose ownership is disputed and being investigated, to meet President Museveni who ordered compensation payment to them. Justice Bamugemereire tasked her to explain why she was more concerned about guarding the reputation of accused persons.
“I am actually thinking that we might write a straight letter to the prime minister to ask what is going on with some of the cabinet ministers because the feeling we get is that some ministers think that some cases need to be kept under the carpet,” said the judge.
Some individuals, she added, seem to hold the view that “we should not touch some matters, don’t talk about so and so, don’t investigate me, my husband, my sister, my brother, my cousin. Is that how we are going to run this country?”
Minister Namuganza said she was not opposed to the Commission’s investigations, but its members must be even-handed and focus on their terms of references without unjustifiably destroying the reputation and careers of people.
She added: “There are so many malicious and sometimes baseless allegations in land matters. Sometimes when you expose somebody and the press picks it (the accusations) and they have written about it, the person sometimes loses lovers, can lose their job, a family because by the time you clear, already something wrong has happened.”
Minister Namuganza raised the stakes by asking the Commission why its members were behaving as if they wanted to penalise her for brokering a meeting between the Mubende residents and President Museveni.
“I have to clearly state it here because I have been asked this question as if I am going to be put on the cross; why did I take people to the President?” she asked.
Commissioner Robert Ssebunya interjected, saying that her statement was not their position.
In a media briefing shortly after the proceedings, Ms Namuganza noted that the land probe team had veered off course, pre-occupying itself with mundane and trivial issues outside its mandate as the members continue to draw hefty allowances in a waste of tax payers’ money.
“I think they need to respect people and reduce on their powers because they are treating people like dogs under the guise of investigating land matters,” she said, vowing to go to jail than be bullied into silence.
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
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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