By witnessradio.org team
In July last year, witnessradio.org petitioned the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire’s Land Inquiry Commission asking for an urgent investigations into what it called a ‘widespread violent land evictions in Mubende characterized with gross human rights violations.
Late 2017, the commission positively responded by meeting district leadership and other stakeholders, interrogating suspected land grabbers and listening to victims’ ordeals including those in prison. The investigations in Mubende also resulted into arrests.
Witnessradio.org, has since released a report detailing the ugly land grabs coupled with various inconsistencies ranging from gross human rights abuses meted on the poor indigenous people by economically powerful and politically-connected individuals who get protection from security agencies and public institutions to protect their economic interests.
Another public office that featured in witnessradio.org’s report, is Mubende District Land Board whose office bearers have introduced an illegal “Title on the Table system” to award freehold titles to businessmen. The system sidelines lawfully permitted procedures under the Land Act, 1998 including verification and demarcation of boundaries of land in respect of application made for a certificate of occupancy under mailo tenure of land ownership.
The findings of witnessradio.org report whose research scope focused on recording land targeted through issued land titles warranted a second petition to the commission requesting the nine-member commission to investigate all the land titles straddling the size where communities were forcefully evicted.
“The purpose of our addendum petition therefore is to request for another investigation into all land titles used or being used to evict natives off their land” states the petition dated 18th January 2018.
In the petition, witnessradio.org informed the commission that the official records obtained from Uganda Land Commission, Mubende district land size is 1,814 square miles well as the documented land size as per issued land titles targeting community land during investigations are 7628 square miles after converting grabbed land hectares into square miles of land.
The commission is yet to give its response on the petition