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Return our properties, Tooro tells government

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Kabarole- Close to two decades since the restoration of cultural institutions, Tooro Kingdom has renewed its call to central government for the return of kingdom properties.

The kingdom’s prime minister, Mr Benard Tungwako, expressed disappointment that properties for other kingdoms are being returned while Tooro Kingdom’s are not.
“We want our properties returned in order to allow the kingdom offer services to the people. The government should not discriminate against Tooro Kingdom,” Mr Tungwako told Daily Monitor yesterday.
After abolition of kingdoms in 1966 by then president Apollo Milton Obote, all their assets were seized by central government.

The land
Both Tooro king’s land and institution land, among other properties were seized.

When President Museveni assumed power in 1986, he restored kingdoms in 1993. Government has since returned some of Buganda’s properties.

According to Tooro Kingdom officials, the central government in 1999 only returned 17 titles located in Fort Portal town out of 120 titles.

Since then, the kingdom has been pushing for the return of all kingdom land.

Late last year, the Tooro Kingdom Supreme Council (Orukurato) passed a resolution to drag government to court if their assets are not returned.
The council also inaugurated the negotiation committee comprising the kingdom prime minister, kingdom minister of lands, and chairperson kingdom land board, among others.

The committee in March met the Minister for Local Government who promised to take a draft report to Cabinet for further discussion.

The kingdom secretary of land board, Mr Wilson Kagoro, said they have now renewed their call to the central government to see that kingdom properties are returned. He said the kingdom is now demanding 103 titles from the central government for both the king’s land and institutional land.
The titles they are demanding include the 325 acres at Nyachwamba in Kamwenge District, occupied by prisons department. Also, part of the land houses the king’s palace.

They are also demanding 60 acres of land at Karambi query in Kamwenge District occupied by Uganda Railway Corporation. This land has been encroached by the locals.

Other pieces of land include 25 acres at Lyamugonera in Kahunge Town Council, 120 acres at Kabunga also in Kamwenge District.

In other districts such as Kyenjojo, the kingdom is demanding 13 land titles, eight titles in Ntoroko, 13 in Bunyangabu, eight in Bundibugyo and 1,025 square miles in Kasese District.

The Tooro Kingdom officials made the same call at the inauguration ceremony of Tooro Kingdom Council of opinion leaders (Isaazi lyo bukama bwa Tooro) at the kingdom’s Karuzika palace in Fort Portal town on Saturday.

The Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga, speaking as guest of honour promised to push for the return of all kingdom properties including those of Busoga Kingdom.

“It is not good to have the kingdom without its resources. I am assuring you that I am going to handle this issue of Tooro Kingdom properties vigorously to see that central government returns the properties” Speaker Kadaga said.

“I am also pursuing our properties of Busoga Kingdom. As you know, the central government returned Bugembe headquarters but other properties including the markets are still in the hands of central government,” she added.

The Ministry of Lands spokesperson, Mr Denis Obbo, said the kingdom demand of their properties must be backed by the legal documents to enable them start verification process.

No evictions
In March, representatives from State House led by Ms Sandra Byomugyenyi met Tooro Kingdom officials and Kamwenge District leaders and said government would return properties but people should not be evicted.
At the same function, King of Tooro Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru IV said since 1966, the behaviour and unity among the people of Tooro has declined.

He underscored the importance of working together to revive the culture, unity and morals among his people.

Accountable Development To Communities

A self-claimed landlord who caused the imprisonment of six community land rights defenders on false charges was aligned before the court and charged with 28 counts.

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Naava while entering court cells at  Mubende.

By Witness Radio Team

A magistrate court at Mubende has charged a self-claimed landlord with 28 counts plus murder. Naava Milly Namutebi caused the arrest of six community land rights defenders, falsely accused them of murder, and got imprisoned for three years without trial. 

Naava’s appearance before the court followed shortly after the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) dropped murder charges against six community land rights defenders. These include; Tumusiime Benjamin, Bagirana Innocent, Habana Domoro, Miyingo Gerald, Byangaramani Charles, and Byekwaso Fred.

Naava was charged along with Bulasio Musoke, Richard Mugagga, Henry Kaaya, among others. They were not allowed to answer any charges as the court had no power to make legal decisions and judgments on charges read to them.

The prosecution alleges that Naava and others still at large, committed offenses in areas of Mubende and Kampala districts between 2006 and 2021.

From 2012 to date, Naava got help from the senior army, police, and other public officers in Mubende orchestrated violence and committed human rights violations/abuses while forcefully evicting over 4,000 people off their land. 

The land being targeted measures 3.5 square miles covering villages including 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.

Naava and others accused were remanded to Kaweeri prison until 19th/July/2022. 

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Defending Land And Environmental Rights

Six community land rights defenders from Kawaala have turned up at police for interrogations but, failed to take off

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By Witness Radio Team.

The six community land rights defenders from Kawaala zone II and the local leader that were summoned to appear at the Old Kampala Regional Police Headquarters have turned up, however, the interrogations did not take off due to the absence of the head of investigating team.

The six community defenders were required to report back to police for further investigations into alleged crimes that have not yet been officially disclosed to defenders’ lawyers. They were supposed to appear before the police investigation team today the 06th of July 2022 at 10:00 AM.

The defenders include; Kasozi Paul, Busobolwa Adam, Kabugo Micheal, Serugo Charles, Ssemanda David, Sserukwaya David, and the area vice-chairman Patrick Kato Lubwama.

While appearing before police for the first time last week on Wednesday 29th, the Deputy Assistant Inspector of Police (D/AIP) Domara Patrick who heads the investigations team casually said the defenders and the local leader are being investigated for obtaining money by pretense and forgery, which charges are not mentioned on police summons.

Since the first COVID outbreak in 2020, the victim defenders and others have been leading a pushback campaign to stop forced eviction by a multimillion dollars Kampala Institutional and Infrastructure Development Project (KIIDP-2) being implemented by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA). The drainage channel construction is financed by the World Bank.

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.

Witness Radio – Uganda has established that the Deputy Resident City Commissioner (RCC) in charge of Rubaga Division, Mr. Anderson Burora is among the complainants. Resident City Commissioner is a representative of the president in the Capital City at the division level.

Witness Radio – Uganda believes that police are being used to harass and intimidate defenders to back off the justice campaign for people negatively impacted by the drainage channel.

The defenders and the local council leader have been booked to report back to the police on Monday, the 11th of July 2022 at 9:00 AM local time.

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Defending Land And Environmental Rights

A self-claimed landlord who masterminded the imprisonment of six community land rights defenders for three years has been arrested.

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Naava being arrested by police.

By Witness Radio team.

A joint team of investigators from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) from Kampala and the Mubende police arrested a self-claimed landlord who falsely accused six community land rights defenders of murder and led to a three years imprisonment without trial.

Naava Milly Namutebi was arrested at her farm in Kirwanyi in Mubende district with other alleged land dealers namely Bulasio Musoke, Richard Mugagga, and Henry Kaaya.

Naava’s arrest occurred a few days after the DPP dropped charges of murder against six community land rights defenders who had spent three years without trial. These include Tumusiime Benjamin, Bagirana Innocent, Habana Domoro, Miyingo Gerald, Byangaramani Charles, and Byekwaso Fred.

Since 2012, Naava with the help of senior army, police, and other public officers in Mubende have orchestrated violence and committed human rights violations/abuses against over 4,000 people to evict them off their land. The land is measuring 3.5 square miles covering 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.

According to locals, Mubende police acting on Naava’s orders arbitrarily arrested and unlawfully detained dozens and dozens of land owners at different police stations in the district. Several victims allege they had to pay colossal sums of money to be released.

For many years, Mubende district has been one of the forced eviction hotspots where families are forced off their land with compensation or being offered settlement. Witness Radio’s one-year research report released in 2017 revealed that over 60% of the total grabbed land in the district was stollen by local investors.

Witness Radio – Uganda research indicates that Naava is involved in multiple land grabs with the help of government security apparatus. In 2017, residents namely Ruhobana Dombo, Samuel Ndekezi, and Chleopus Zariwa from the Butoloogo sub-county in Mubende district were arbitrarily arrested and detained on Naava’s orders by Mubende police.

The victims and other residents lawfully occupied and cultivated their land for decades but got shocked to hear that Naava was claiming ownership of their land.

The trio had gone to their gardens to plant maize on August 17, 2017, when Naava’s stick-wielding laborers attacked and severely beat them.

Naava is currently held at Mubende Central Police Station, with 28 charges including murder, attempted murder, forgery, and others preferred against her.

 

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