Connect with us


Oxfam report 2011: Court orders were too weak to stop an investor in Mubende and Kiboga



By Team, a Third Series

The story of neighbouring Mubende just months later echoes the events of the 2008– 2010 Kiboga evictions. In both cases, the local people believed they had legal claims to the land and attempted to get their case heard in court. In both instances, the High Court issued an interim order restraining the company from evicting the residents. Promises of compensation, made to community leaders in both Mubende and Kiboga, seem to have come to nought. Thousands of people have been left landless, living a hand-to-mouth existence, unable to afford to educate their children or to access adequate healthcare.

Many evictees describe feeling dehumanized by the experience. ‘I lost land. I’m landless. Land was my life. I have no rights. It’s like I’m not a human being,’ said Fred Bahemuka, a father of eight from Mubende.

Augustin Allen, 52, is vice-chair of Kyamukasa council. He has nine children aged between four and 23. ‘My father fought in Egypt for the British during the war,’ he told Oxfam. ‘I heard that in Mubende there was land allocated for Second World War veterans and their families.’ In 1997, he met the leaders of the veterans. ‘I submitted my dad’s service papers and was allocated 31 acres’. He grew bananas, coffee, beans, and maize, selling most of it to traders. He was able to pay for schooling for all of his children.

Attempts to clear the land of its inhabitants began in early 2009 with press reports of armed groups beating people in Namwasa forest, leading over 10,000 residents to petition Lands Minister, Omara Atubo, in July 2009, to stop the evictions. Mr Atubo said, ‘As a ministry in charge of land, we are saddened by what has happened to you. It is important to respect your rights irrespective of whether you occupy the land legally or not. There is no need for your colleagues to disappear, your property to be stolen or crops to be destroyed.’

‘There were no consultations before the evictions,’ Mr Allen said. Despite the ongoing legal claims, on 11 December 2009 three government ministers and the Resident District Commissioner visited the area and told people to leave by February. Police, backed by army troops, were deployed in December. Oxfam heard how the police dismantled the local primary school – named Bright Future – and set fire to the school chairs and desks.

Villagers told Oxfam that, in January 2010, the police arrested 18 community leaders. When people met to organize themselves, police broke up the meeting with teargas, according to villagers. ‘They told us we were illegally encroaching,’ Mr Allen said. During the evictions in February, ‘they cut down our crops, burnt and demolished our houses,’ Mr Allen added.

‘We were beaten by soldiers. They beat my husband and put him in jail,’ said Naiki Apanabang, who claims that her land was given in recognition of her grandfather having fought in the British army in Burma in the Second World War. ‘The eviction was very violent. The people behind it were the Resident District Commissioner, the police, casual labourers of the New Forests Company, the army, and a private security company called Askar.’

Ms Apanabang has eight children. She now lives in a rented house for 15,000 shillings ($5.50) a month and says even finding this money is now a problem. She earns some money from casual work when she can find it. She cannot afford school fees. Before being evicted, she said her family ate well from a variety of crops they grew. ‘Now we rely on posho [a maize porridge staple] and the days I fail to get posho, we sleep on empty stomachs,’ she said. ‘One of the things that most touches my life now is that I have forgotten the feeling of eating well.’

‘I remember I wrote the details in my notebook,’ she said. ‘The officials gave us a deadline to leave between the 12th and 28th of February 2010. I chose to leave on the 12th. We saw them burning down people’s houses and cutting down people’s plantations. That convinced me to collect my children and leave. It was too painful. And what I feared is what has happened – we have nothing to eat. My children are not going to school and we don’t know what the future holds.’

Mr Allen says: ‘One of the things that pained me most was that my land was the source of income for school fees for my children. I am not an educated person. It was my plan to raise money to educate my children so that when I’m gone they can take care of other family members. But now I can only afford to send one of my six children to school. Now they are held back, they are nobody. That is the painful thing.’

‘We are no longer interested in going back to the land we had before. We only want to have money to buy some new land somewhere else. Let the past settle,’ Mr Allen said. ‘I only pray to God that a miracle comes now, to get land somewhere else. I think that is when we shall have back the peace and happiness in the family that we have all lost.’

Maria Peimong is a 66-year old grandmother who was evicted from Kyato village in Mubende, where she told Oxfam she had lived for over 15 years. She used to farm maize, bananas, avocado, and jackfruit; she had eight cows and 15 goats. Now she is reduced to a precarious existence: ‘I am an old woman. Now I just work as a casual labourer in this village where I found refuge. At my age how can I live like that? … It is so frightening.’ She is terrified of falling sick as ‘that means going for a day without a meal, because you cannot work.


To be continued…


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:

Continue Reading


Breaking: Three community land rights defenders from Kawaala have been arrested.



Old kampala police where defenders were arrested from .

Breaking: Three community land rights defenders from Kawaala have been arrested.

By Witness Radio team

Police at Old Kampala Regional Police Headquarter have arrested three of the six community land rights defenders from Kawaala Zone II, Kampala suburb, and preferred a fraud charge before being released on bond.

Kasozi Paul, Busobolwa Adam, and Kabugo Micheal got arrested on their arrival before being taken inside interrogation rooms. They were questioned from 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM local time and later recorded their statements.

Section 342 of the Penal Code states that forgery is the making of a false document with the intent to defraud or deceive. It carries a three year imprisonment on conviction.

According to lawyers representing victims, defenders are arrested on the orders of the Deputy Resident City Commissioner (RCC) in charge of Rubaga Division Anderson Burora and accused them of fraud.

Resident City Commissioner is a representative of the president in the Capital City at the division level.

The charges are a result of continued resistance by Kawaala community seeking fair compensation and resettlement before Lubigi drainage channel is constructed. Since the first COVID outbreak in 2020, the victim defenders and others have been leading a pushback campaign to stop forced evictions by a multimillion dollars Kampala Institutional and Infrastructure Development Project (KIIDP-2) funded by World Bank. Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) is the implementor of the project.

This project first impacted Kawaala Zone II around 2014, when a channel diversion was constructed. The current planned expansion will widen that channel and require forced evictions across an area at least 70 meters wide and 2.5 km long.

The New Vision, a local daily of June 21st, 2022, quoted Burora accusing Kasozi Paul, one of the community land rights defenders from Kawaala Zone II of being a fraudster.

Witness Radio – Uganda challenges the deputy RCC Burora to produce evidence that pins the defenders on fraud instead of criminalizing the work of defenders.

“We warn Mr. Burora against using police to harass defenders who have openly opposed a project which is causing negative impacts on the community” Adong Sarah, one of the lawyers representing the defenders said.

The defenders got released on police bond as they are expected to report back to the police on Monday, the 18th of July 2022 at 11:00 AM local time.


Continue Reading


Signs of harmful projects with financing from development institutions are spotted in Uganda…



By Witness Radio Team.

The growth of a country is discerned by great leaders and innovators who see opportunities out of darkness and transform their areas from nothing to success. Those are great leaders whose interest is to see the developments in their countries and the well-being of their citizens.

Every single day, countries all over the world receive investors that acquire loans, grants, and donations to implement mega projects that are seemingly expected to develop host countries. countries and investors borrowing the money Often, countries and investors portray how these projects improve the livelihood of the browbeaten, au contraire, they have left many broken families, poor-dirty homesteads, and shattered dreams.

Uganda is one of those countries, whose citizens have paid a price for reckless or unsupervised and profit-led international investment. In a bid to implement its industrial policy, the country has welcomed both foreign and local investors with interests in the fields of extraction, industrial agriculture, carbon credit tree plantation, mining, infrastructural projects, and many others.

It has received billions of dollars from different financiers including commercial banks, Pension Funds, and International Development Finance Banks or institutions, among others. For instance, the World Bank has invested more than 20 Billion Dollars since 1963 and currently

Every project comes with its own chilling story. More often their stories are unheard by the World. Witness Radio – Uganda surveyed some projects in Uganda. This study revealed agony, illegal evictions, abject poverty, environmental degradation, and loss of life among others, as some of the consequences suffered by the would-be beneficiaries of these international funded projects across the country.

In the capital of Uganda, Kampala, over 1750 families were forcefully evicted from a city suburb, Naguru, for Naguru- Nakawa housing estates.  11 years down the road the project that was highly hyped is to take off on the grabbed land. Pleas from the victims of the eviction to regain their land have all fallen on deaf ears.

About 80km away from Kampala is the island district of Kalangala surrounded by the World’s second-largest lake, Victoria, and known for palm growing. When the palm-oil project was introduced to residents they were given the impression that it would improve their livelihoods and create job opportunities.  Instead, it has dumped thousands into poverty after their land was grabbed by BIDCO, a Wilmer international-funded project. People lost land and now work on plantations as casual laborers. The neighboring communities are accusing BIDCO workers of sexual and gender-based violence.

In the South-Western District of Kiryandongo, multinational companies including Agilis Partners Limited, Kiryandongo Sugar Limited, and Great Seasons SMC Limited with funding from The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), The Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom, and Common Fund for Commodities among other financiers are forcefully evicting more than 35,000 people. The eviction has been on since 2017.

Workers that worked on a World Bank Project in Soroti, in the far east of the country, are accused of sexually harassing minors. Several young girls were defiled and left pregnant. Despite the government being aware of this none of the pedophiles have been brought to book, the World Bank-funded project in the Eastern Town of Soroti left several underage girls defiled and impregnated.

In late 2020, residents of Kawaala zone II woke up to the hail of armed men and graders evicting and destroying their properties to implement a multimillion-dollar project funded by the World Bank. The project is being implemented by the Kampala Capital city Authority (KCCA) on behalf of the government of Uganda.

The above-listed and other projects, on the other hand, continue to perpetuate violence and judicial harassment against leaders of Project Affected Persons (PAPs) and community land and environmental rights defenders because of their work that resists illegal evictions and destruction of the environment among others.

Although project implementers such as government entities accuse local communities of occupying land targeted for projects illegally, in most cases victim communities have rights over these pieces of land because their settlement on the same land can be traced to have happened generations ago.

No matter how people are negatively impacted being by these harmful projects, financiers continue to release more money to the government and investors. The banks aim at profit margins other than the livelihoods of the people. In Bulebi village, Mbazi parish, Mpunge Sub County in Mukono district, Akon’s futuristic city is about to lead to the eviction of over 1000 residents whose entire lives have been built on their land.

In April last year, American rapper Aliaune Damala Badara well known for his stage name AKON visited Uganda in search of land for constructing the city. On the same business trip, he met President Museveni Yoweri Kaguta and expressed his interest in building a futuristic city with its currency. The president ordered the Ministry of Lands, housing, and urban development to look out for free land for his city.

However, on 7th Jan 2022, the Uganda Land Commission showed the Minister for Lands, Housing, and Urban Development “Hon Judith Nabakooba” land that was proposed for the Akon city. According to the Uganda land commission, the land is Freehold Volume 53 Folio 9 measuring I square mile.

This has sparked outrage amongst the affected as they were never consulted or consented to allow the project in their community. According to community members that Witness Radio interviewed, they said they heard the distressing news of Akon city through the Media.

The community said no official from the ministry has ever approached them about their land giveaway. “Our country is full of land evictions and evictors begin in that way. There has been no official coming on the ground to officially inform us about the project and neither have we heard any official communication of compensation.” Obori said.

Residing in the attractive village surrounded by freshwaters, the community asserts this has been the source of livelihood and advised the government to get alternative land for the City.

Controversies surrounding the land giveaway and ownership of the area still exist. A section of residents have protested and vowed not to surrender their land for the City. They claim to have acquired freehold titles from the Mukono lands board.

Continue Reading

Resource Center

Legal Framework




Subscribe to Witness Radio's newsletter


Subscribe to Witness Radio's newsletter