Connect with us


Mubende district police are aiding land grabbing and committing crimes against locals they are obliged to protect.



By Witness Radio team.

Mubende – Uganda: police personnel deployed to defuse land conflicts between worrying factions in Kirwanyi and Kituula parishes in Butoloogo sub-county, Mubende district has taken sides. Under the command of Mubende District Police Commander (DPC) Ayatollah Kapchmu, police are now conspiring with land grabbers to forcefully and violently evict locals, criminalizing homes and family fields for local leaders, community activists, and land rights defenders opposed to their method of work.

In July 2023, Witness Radio – Uganda published an article concerning a couple murdered in cold blood in Mubende district. The couple (late Naava Milly Namutebi and her husband, late Abdallah Kayizzi) were claiming ownership of 906.496 hectares. Late Naava and the husband before being killed, were allegedly caught harvesting maize/corn belonging to a kibanja holder. 

The land targeted covers 16 villages namely 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 and had been a home to over 4000 bibanja holders.

Shortly after the incident, Mubende district police under the command of Ayatollah, police personnel were deployed to maintain law and order in the area. Unfortunately, the police lost the impartiality test instead joined the family of the deceased to target community defenders and activists demanding land justice for the community with arbitrary arrests, framed with cooked-up criminal charges and imprisonment.

So far, Witness Radio has recorded eight (8) people framed, charged, and sent to prison, identified as the Kirwanyi Local Council one Chairperson Bangirana Innocent, Kaseekye Mugonjo, Tumusiime Benjamin, Byakatonda Harman, Biirijja Job, Zaina Kakayire, Nabasiita Maria and Rukundo Prince. All have been charged with various offenses, including murder, aggravated robbery, and attempted murder and others, and are currently on remand at Kaweeri government prison.

The arrests have triggered a wave of fear among community members, leading many to flee their homesteads to escape police persecution. However, Witness Radio has uncovered that the deceased’s family with support from police, is taking advantage of this situation, during which people are away from their homes to seize and take control of their plots of land (bibanja).

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 is 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

Uganda is one of the countries whose majority of land has no certificate of ownership, according to a report from Land Links, USAID’s knowledge-sharing platform focused on land tenure and property rights to improving land and resource governance and strengthening property, only 15%–20% of the land in Uganda is registered, leaving a bigger vacuum.

Witness Radio research reveals a disturbing pattern in which people’s homes and crops are demolished and destructed, with no meaningful intervention from area leaders. Furthermore, those seeking to reclaim their land rights often face intimidation in the form of arrests, as they attempt to reoccupy their property.

According to community members who preferred anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter and numerous belongings have been pilfered following the unabated destruction, and their gardens are now being occupied and used by police and late Naava’s family members. Valuables like iron sheets and food crops have been looted as police appear incapable of preventing these incidents, which are causing significant distress to the residents in the area.

At night, police together with members of the deceased’s family, ransack people’s homes, plunder housing materials, ruin crops that are almost ready for harvest, illegally evict, and take possession of grabbed land.

According to one of the area leaders, more than ten families have lost their property (garden fields, houses among others) in the recent move. 

“These community members have not only experienced the loss of their property but also face harassment as they attempt to resettle. Both the police and Naava’s family falsely accuse them of being involved in the deceased’s death. In instances where they are found residing in other areas, their homes are destroyed, and they are forcibly told to relocate,” said a leader.

When contacted, the Regional police spokesperson of Wamala Region, Racheal Kawala revealed that she unaware of any violent incidents in the area.

“I am not aware of what you are telling me. Talk to the District Police Commander of Mubende,” she said.

By press time, Witness Radio had been unsuccessful in securing an interview with the District Police Commander on the same issues, as our repeated calls remained unanswered.

The Mubende district, Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Mr. Birungi Abubakar revealed that people were allowed to reoccupy back to their land and wondered why the police would allow the family of the deceased to illegally destroy people’s homes, and gardens and loot their property.

“In the recent meeting, if I remember well, last month when we held it, we refused the police to intimidate bibanja holders with arrests, also agreed that these people should reoccupy their land, and the status quo be maintained,” he revealed in a phone interview with Witness Radio on Monday 23rd of October.

One of the officers at Mubende Central Police Station confirmed having received reports of evictions and destruction of property within those areas. 

“Yes, we have received such kind of reports and have urged the affected people to always come and report so that we kick start the investigations.” An officer who preferred to be anonymous told Witness Radio.

Continue Reading


The East African Court of Justice fixes the ruling date for a petition challenging the EACOP project.



By Witness Radio team.

The East African Court of Justice has set Wednesday the 29th of November, 2023 to deliver a ruling on a petition challenging the construction of the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) Project filed by four East African Non-governmental Organizations.

The Court consists of Honorable Mr. Justice Yohane Bokobora Masara Principal Judge, Honorable Justice Dr. Charles Nyawello Deputy Principal Judge, Honorable Mr. Justice Richard Muhumuza, Honorable Mr. Justice Richard Wejuli, and Honorable Justice Dr. Gacuko Leonard.

According to the ruling notice seen by Witness Radio, the regional Court will deliver the ruling at 9:30 East Africa Standard Time, the 29th of November 2023.

On 6 November 2020, Natural Justice, Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), Centre for Strategic Litigation and the Centre for Food and Adequate Living Rights (CEFROHT) Limited filed a petition against the governments of Uganda and Tanzania and the Secretary General of the East African Community (EAC) challenging the construction of the EACOP project. 

The basis of the Applicants’ petition rests on the assertion that the EACOP project violates multiple provisions of the Treaty of the Establishment of East African Community. The project further violates the Protocol for the Sustainable Management of the Lake Victoria Basin, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, the African Convention on Conservation of Natural Resources, the post–2020 Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Paris Climate Accords.

Furthermore, the Applicants argue that the entities backing the EACOP project, such as Total Energies, China’s National Offshore Oil Corporation, and the Governments of Uganda and Tanzania, failed to carry out thorough and meaningful public engagement and consultation processes and additionally did not conduct comprehensive assessments of both the human rights and climate impacts before initiating the EACOP project.

In 2006, Uganda discovered commercially viable oil reserves in the Albertine Graben region, specifically in the Lake Albert area near Hoima district.

With the cooperation and support of its neighbor, Tanzania, the two governments approved in March 2023 the construction of the $5 billion EACOP project, which is planned to cover a distance of 1,443 kilometers.

The East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) connects the Tilenga and Kingfisher oilfields in western Uganda with the port of Tanga in eastern Tanzania, when completed, the project will be the longest heated crude oil pipeline in the world crossing through 10 districts in Uganda, and 25 districts in Tanzania.

Uganda’s President, Mr. Yoweri Museveni Tibuhaburwa, has often celebrated the oil projects calling a success. He firmly believes that the oil discovery represents a significant catalyst for economic development and will bring benefits to the local communities, but the current reality is a reverse to his statements.

The EACOP project has triggered significant concerns among communities and civil society groups due to its detrimental impacts on thousands of individuals in Uganda and Tanzania. The most affected have been the Project Affected Persons (PAPs) and human rights activists who stand against the project. Reports have highlighted cases of land grabbing, the displacement of host communities, inadequate compensation, and the troubling trend of harassing and arresting community leaders and rights activists.

It should be remembered that on the 14th of September 2022, the European Union Parliament passed an advisory resolution to suspend the oil pipeline for a year citing disastrous human and environmental rights violations associated with the project.

The resolutions put forth by the European Parliament legislators echo the distressing issues raised by affected communities regarding the oil pipeline project.

In response to the violation of human rights, conventions, and treaties, Civil Societies including Natural Justice, AFIEGO, Centre for Strategic Litigation, and CEFROHT took the pivotal step of approaching the East African Court of Justice to challenge the construction of the EACOP project.

Continue Reading


UPDF General, District Police Commander, and Presidential Representative defy Court summonses for the second time as DPP takes over the EACOP-PAP’s case.



By Witness Radio team.

The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in Hoima has taken over the private prosecution case filed by Arinaitwe Peter and Company Advocates on behalf of an East African Crude Oil (EACOP) Project affected community against the Army General, Presidential Representative, District police Commander, and 10 others accused of violently and illegally evicting over 2500 lawful residents from their land they had called home for decades.

On 11th/09//2023, the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) Project-Affected Persons (PAPs) started a private criminal proceeding against the thirteen suspects including Brig. Gen. Peter Akankunda Nabasa, Gafayo Ndawula William, Kyakashari Micheal, one Oketcha Micheal, Bogere Jackson, one Kiiza Nathan Byarugonjo, one Oromo Luzira, a Local Council One Secretary for Runga, one Mukindo Bosco, Okethi Bosco, Oming Jacob, Muswa Micheal, Kawiya Henry, Ningaling Joseph, and others still at large in an effort to hold them accountable for their criminality and human rights violations committed during the Kapapi brutal evictions.

Criminal case file no. 877 of 2023 at Hoima court contains various criminal offenses namely; sexual abuse, rape, criminal trespass, arson, looting properties, battering people, and forcefully evicting residents from their homes, which constitutes a violation of the non-derogable right to freedom from torture, cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment, as guaranteed under Article 23 And 44 of the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.

The court session, scheduled for 9 am, faced a delay due to the state attorneys’ late arrival caused by prior engagements. Despite this, the Court commenced proceedings and began by addressing an application submitted by the ODPP on October 10, 2023. This application aimed to grant the ODPP permission to take over the prosecution, citing constitutional mandates and legal provisions.

During these proceedings, key figures including the Army Gen. Brig. Gen. Peter Akankunda Nabasa, Presidential representative, Kyakashari Micheal, and District Police Commander Bogere Patrick, among others, defied the Court’s second summonses issued against them to present themselves before Court. Simultaneously, several other individuals related to the case including Gafayo William, a Hoima-based businessman, Oketcha Micheal, Orumu Luzira, and Oming Jacob were present in Court.

Lawyers for the EACOP community objected to the ODPP’s involvement, raising concerns about potential biases, lack of transparency, the application’s failure to meet the standards outlined in Article 120, Clause 4(a) of Uganda’s Constitution, and the DPP office’s past alignment with the accused. The defense highlighted instances where the ODPP allegedly favored the accused, disregarding serious complaints filed by the community and even resulting in the wrongful imprisonment of the complainants.

“The very office seeking to take over this case was previously instrumentalized by the accused individuals to criminalize the complainants, resulting in the complainants being charged with multiple offenses and imprisoned for periods ranging from three to five months. Moreover, this same office has failed to act on filed cases and complaints by community members against the suspects. For instance, a reported gang rape case at Kitoba police referenced HMD-GEF-003 of three women belonging to the Kapapi community where the 4 suspects include; the District Police Commander, remain unaddressed. How can trust be placed in an entity that has previously been utilized in a manner seemingly benefiting the accused, while overlooking serious complaints filed by the community?” Lawyer Arinaitwe Peter who represented residents asked Court. 

In their rejoinders, the DPP’s office, led by state attorneys Catherine Nakaggwa and Crispus Ceaser Naloda, reiterated that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) holds the right to appear in any court proceeding, regardless of the stage of the trial initiated under private prosecution emphasizing the DPP’s authority to orally address the court regarding their intention to assume control of the ongoing criminal proceedings.

In addressing concerns about impartiality and transparency, the attorney stated that the lawyers representing the victims will be closely monitoring the proceedings to ensure clarity and fairness. They emphasized that the victims’ legal representatives will “watch a brief,” allowing them to observe and comprehend every step taken by the DPP’s office as they execute their mandate.

While giving her ruling on the submissions, Grade One Magistrate Stella Mwali of the Hoima Court referenced Article 120(3)(c), which grants the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) the authority to assume control and proceed with any criminal proceedings initiated by another individual or authority to grant their request.

“The charges are criminal in nature and the court sees no powerful reason to object the DPP’s office from taking over this case and exercising its mandate.” Her worship said in a ruling.

The 13 accused persons and their agents in the wee hours (1:00 AM) local time on February, 10th 2023, raided people’s homes with dozens of unidentified armed individuals, donning Uganda Police Force (UPF) and Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) uniforms. 

Acting under the orders of DPC Bogere and Brigadier Nabasa, along with armed guards affiliated with Magnum, a private security company fired tear gas and live bullets into their houses, sexually abused women, set people’s houses ablaze, physical assaults, kidnaps, looted livestock, and food items and forced eviction of over 2500 people from their land.

The actions of the accused led to the grabbing of 1294.99 hectares of land that were being lawfully occupied and cultivated by thousands of locals in the villages of Waaki North, Kapapi Central, Waaki South, Runga, and Kiryatete within Kapapi and Kiganja sub-counties in Hoima district 

Their actions were aimed at positioning themselves to benefit from compensation related to the community’s land, earmarked for an EACOP (East African Crude Oil Pipeline) project scheduled to be developed on this territory.

The private prosecution case of the 13 suspects will re-appear in the same court on the 19th of December 2023 with plea taking.

Continue Reading


Breaking: The army general, police chief, presidential representative, and others are appearing before the Hoima Chief Magistrate court today.



By Witness Radio team

Hoima, 13th of November 2023. A Ugandan Army General, Hoima Rural District Police Commander, and a Presidential representative among the 13 suspects expected to be charged with several criminal and human rights violation offences committed while forcefully evicting over 2500 local families to give way for an East African Crude Oil pipeline (EACOP) project.

Brig. Gen. Peter Akankunda Nabasa, one Gafayo Ndawula William, Kyakashari Micheal a Deputy Resident District Commissioner in Hoima, one Oketcha Micheal, Bogere Patrick, a Hoima Rural District Police Commander, one Kiiza Nathan Byarugonjo, one Oromo Luzira, a Local Council One Secretary for Runga, one Mukindo Bosco, Okethi Bosco, Oming Jacob, Muswa Micheal, Kawiya Henry, Ningaling Joseph, and others still at large accused of raping women, defilement, arson, and criminal trespass among other offenses.

The 1st accused person is the Deputy Commander of Uganda Peoples Defense Forces, First Division Kakiri in Wakiso District; The 2nd accused person is a Businessman with Businesses in Hoima District; the 3rd Accused is Deputy RDC Hoima District. The 4th accused is the Hoima Rural District Police Commander. The 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th & and 13th accused persons are residents of Kapapi Village and were agents of the evictors.

It followed on October 12th 2023 when the 13 suspects’ plea-taking flopped after the absence of the trial magistrate.

Meanwhile only four of the thirteen suspects, namely Gafayo William Ndawula, Oketcha Micheal, and Oromo Luzira, lawyers for Brig. Gen. Peter Akankunda Nabasa was present in court on that day.

On 11th/09//2023, the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) Project-Affected Persons (PAPs), through their lawyers Arinaitwe Peter and Company Advocates started a private criminal proceeding against the thirteen suspects to hold suspects accountable for their criminality and human rights violations.

Each charge attracts different punishments on conviction, as shown below;

Section 124 of the Penal Code states that the punishment for rape on conviction is liable to suffer death; the punishment for assault on court conviction is five years; the punishment threatening violence on court conviction does not exceed four years; the punishment for arson on court conviction is fourteen years; and Punishment for robbery, one has to suffer life imprisonment among others.

According to the charge sheet, the accused persons and their agents in the wee hours (1:00 AM) local time on February 10th, 2023, raided people’s homes without a court order with dozens of unidentified armed individuals, donning Uganda Police Force (UPF) and Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) uniforms.

Acting under the orders of DPC Bogere and Brigadier Nabasa, along with armed guards from Magnum, a private security company. The suspects and their agents fired live bullets and tear gas into their houses, sexually abused women, set people’s houses ablaze, physical assaults, kidnaped, and looted livestock, and food items, and forcefully evicted project-affected families off their land.

The actions of the accused led to the grabbing of 1294.99 hectares that were being lawfully occupied and cultivated by thousands of locals in the villages of Waaki North, Kapapi Central, Waaki South, Runga, and Kiryatete within Kapapi and Kiganja sub-counties in Hoima district.

According to research findings by Witness Radio, the individuals involved in the Kapapi land grab are targeting to benefit from the potential compensation intended for community members, given that their land was identified to be impacted by the Tilenga Resettlement Action Plan 4, an EACOP project.

In one of the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) reports, Total Energies Uganda identified Kapapi, Runga, Waaki, and Kiryatete villages as areas that will be affected by the proposed Tilenga Feeder Pipeline Component (RAP 4).

Continue Reading

Resource Center

Legal Framework




Subscribe to Witness Radio's newsletter


Subscribe to Witness Radio's newsletter