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REVEALED: The Origin Of Namuganza’s War With Minister Betty Amongi, Bigirimana Pinned For Selling Air Worth 100 Million To Government



It was a somber mood in the commission of inquiry into land matters when Albert Mugumya, the under-secretary Uganda Lands Commission (ULC) revealed the origin of the bad blood between the Cabinet Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Betty Amongi and the state minister for lands Persis Namuganza.

 Mugumya broke down in tears when the commission’s assistant lead counsel John Bosco Suuza put him to task to explain how he has been handling the Uganda land fund which the government allocated to compensate the landlords whose land is occupied by tenants. “My lord, I pray that you allow me to testify these sensitive issues in-camera (without journalists) because they are ashaming and involve big government officers who include my bosses Betty Amongi and Namuganzi,” Mugumya pleaded.

Suuza first refused Mugumya’s request and told him to go ahead with his testimony. A tough looking Mugumya started revealing shocking details of how government officials have been putting him on pressure to release billions of cash to non-existing land. Mugumya said that in 2016, he received a letter from the lands minister Betty Amongi instructing him to make immediate payments to Agnes Bagaya (100m), Pius Bigirimana (100 million), Nasubuga Teddy (121 million), Sam Seguya (100 million), Crush Baligye (60 million), Jemba Nicholas (50 million), Patrick Bikashangiza (50 million) for their land. He said that Amongi copied her letter to her junior minister Persis Namuganza, Matia Kashaija the finance minister among others.

In her letter, Amongi informed Mugumya that she was the last person to determine who will and will not be compensated. Amongi further indicated in her letter that the president ordered her to be the final person so that she can monitor how the land fund claimants are paid.

Mugumya told the commission that he wrote back to the minister telling her that she doesn’t have powers to determine who has to be paid when. He further explained to the minister that the constitution stipulates clearly that it’s the accounting officer who is responsible for the payments.

Mugumya said that surprisingly, the auditor general had already instructed ULC to stop paying claimants because he was still investigating how they were handling the compensation money.

Mugumya said that the auditor general’s instructions came after he discovered that there were some big government officials who had applied for payments yet they didn’t have any land to sell to the commission. Mugumya gave an example of Pius Bigirimana, the

Permanent Secretary Ministry of Gender and Labour and Social Development, who the auditor general investigated and found out that he was selling air to the commission.

He said that the Uganda land fund payment committee sat and passed a resolution cautioning Amongi that she doesn’t have powers to order the undersecretary and to approve payments.

State minister Persis Namuganza also wrote to Amongi informing her that she was breaking the law to approve the persons to be compensated. Namuganza clearly told her boss Amongi that the compensation docket belongs to her office not Amongi’s. Namuganza further explained to Amongi that there was no money to pay the selected people she branded special in her letter. Namuganzi further informed Amongi that the budget which was allocated to the fund was finished after paying 6 billion shillings to the Anglican church for their land in Entebbe, the remaining money was to be paid to the people of Amuru who government was planning to relocate.

“My lord, minister Amongi took the powers of the accounting officer. She released billions of cash to Pius Bigirimana. When we warned her that we didn’t see Bigirimana’s land, which he wanted to sell to the government, she just told us that she paid 100 million shillings to Victoria Ssebagereka Bakooko, who was very sick and  650 million shillings to Ishaks Ruhana who was in hiding because banks were looking for him over debts. “My lord, I tried to stop the payments by telling the minister that there was an in-house committee chaired by minister Chris Baryomonsi which was investigating how the land fund money was administered. My lord, the minister was very angry with me and threatened to fire me for undermining her. My lord, I pray that you allow me to reveal more secrets in-camera because of the magnitude of the matter,” Mugumya pleaded.

He added that Amongi wrote back to Namuganza warning her that she was the cabinet minister so she was the one with absolute authority in the ministry.

The commission also learnt from George William Bizibu, the executive secretary Uganda Asian departed property custodian board that Amongi grabbed a lot of property belonging to departed Asians in different parts of the country. He said that Amongi used her position as the minister who sat on the custodian board to grab the said property using her company Amobet Investment Company limited.

“We have just realized that the minister was using her

company and one man called Henry Mubiru to steal Indian’s property and we are in the process of cancelling all the property titles,” Bizibu said.

Yesterday, an Indian, Patel pined Amongi before the commission for grabbing his family property on plot 29 Acacia road in Kololo. The commission of inquiry through the commission’s chairperson Catherine Bamugemereire has issued criminal summons against  Amongi and she is expected to appear on Monday.


Breaking: Witness Radio and Partners to Launch Human Rights Monitoring, Documentation, and Advocacy Project Tomorrow.



By Witness Radio Team.

Witness Radio, in collaboration with Dan Church Aid (DCA) and the National Coalition for Human Rights Defenders (NCHRD), is set to launch the Monitoring, Documentation, and Advocacy for Human Rights in Uganda (MDA-HRU) project tomorrow, 22nd February 2024, at Kabalega Resort Hotel in Hoima District.

The project, funded by the European Union, aims to promote the protection and respect for human rights, and enable access to remedy where violations occur especially in the Mid-Western and Karamoja sub-regions where private sector actors are increasingly involved in land-based investments (LBIs) through improved documentation, and evidence-based advocacy.

The three-year project, which commenced in October 2023, focuses its activities in the Mid-Western sub-region, covering Bulisa, Hoima, Masindi, Kiryandongo, Kikuube, Kagadi, Kibale, and Mubende districts, and Karamoja sub-region, covering Moroto, Napak, Nakapiripirit, Amudat, Nabilatuk, Abim, Kaabong, Kotido, and Karenga districts.

The project targets individuals and groups at high risk of human rights violations, including Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) and Land and Environmental Defenders (LEDs). It also engages government duty bearers such as policymakers and implementers in relevant ministries and local governments, recognizing their crucial role in securing land and environmental rights. Additionally, the project involves officials from institutional duty bearers including the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), Equal Opportunities Commission, and courts, among others.

Representatives from the international community, faith leaders, and business actors are also included in the project’s scope, particularly those involved in land-based investments (LBIs) impacting the environment.

The project was initially launched in Moroto for the Karamoja region on the 19th of this month with the leadership of the National Coalition for Human Rights Defenders (NCHRD).

According to the project implementors,  the action is organized into four activity packages aimed at; enhancing the capacity and skills of Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) and Land and Environmental Defenders (LEDs) in monitoring, documentation, reporting (MDR), and protection, establishing and reinforcing reporting and documentation mechanisms for advocacy and demand for corporate and government accountability;  providing response and support to HRDs and marginalized communities; and lastly facilitating collaboration and multi-stakeholder engagements that link local and national issues to national and international frameworks and spaces.

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Kiryandongo leadership agree to partner with Witness Radio Uganda to end rampant forced land evictions in the district.



By Witness Radio team.

Kiryandongo district leaders have embraced Witness Radio’s collaboration with the Kiryandongo district aimed at ending the rampant violent and illegal land evictions that have significantly harmed the livelihoods of the local communities in the area.

The warm welcome was made at the dialogue organized by Witness Radio Uganda, Uganda’s leading land and environmental rights watchdog at the Kiryandongo district headquarters, intended to reflect on the plight of land and environmental rights defenders, local and indigenous communities and the role of responsible land-based investments in protecting people and the planet.

Speaking at the high-level dialogue, that was participated in by technical officers, policy implementers, religious leaders, leaders of project affected persons (PAPs), politicians, media, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), and development partners that support land and environment rights as well as the Land Based Investments (LBIs) Companies in the Kiryandongo district, the leaders led by the District Local Council 5 Chairperson, Ms. Edith Aliguma Adyeri appreciated the efforts taken by Witness Radio organization to organize the dialogue meeting aimed at bringing together stakeholders to safeguard community land and environmental rights in order address the escalating vice of land grabbing in the area.

During the dialogue, participants shared harrowing accounts of the impacts of land evictions and environmental degradation, including tragic deaths, families torn asunder, young girls forced into marriage, a surge in teenage pregnancies, limited access to education, and significant environmental damage which have profoundly affected the lives of the local population in Kiryandongo.

Participants attending the dialogue.

In recent years, Kiryandongo district has been embroiled in violent land evictions orchestrated to accommodate multinational large-scale agriculture plantations and wealthy individuals leaving the poor marginalized.

According to various reports, including findings from Witness Radio’s 2020 research Land Grabs at a Gun Point, the forceful land acquisitions in Kiryandongo have significantly impacted the livelihoods of local communities. It is estimated that nearly 40,000 individuals have been displaced from their land to make room for land-based investments in the Kiryandongo district. However, leaders in the district also revealed in the dialogue that women and children are affected most.

The Kiryandongo Deputy Resident District Commissioner, Mr. Jonathan Akweteireho, emphasized that all offices within the Kiryandongo district are actively involved in addressing the prevalent land conflicts. He also extended a welcome to Witness Radio, acknowledging their collaborative efforts in tackling and resolving land and environmental issues in the district.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we all know that the land rights together with environmental rights have been violated in our district, but because we don’t know what our rights are, because we have not directly done what we could to safeguard our rights and now this is the time that Witness Radio has brought us together to safeguard our rights. I want to welcome you in Kiryandongo and be rest assured that we shall give you all the necessary support to help us manage these rampant cases,” Ms. Adyeri said in her remarks during the dialogue meeting.

The team leader at Witness Radio Uganda, Mr. Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala expressed gratitude to the participants for their active involvement in the dialogue and revealed that Witness Radio’s objective is to find a holistic solution to the escalating land disputes in Kiryandongo district serving as an example to other districts.

“We are here to assist Kiryandongo district in attaining peace and stability because it stands as a hotspot for land grabbers in Uganda. Mismanagement of land conflicts in Uganda could potentially lead to a significant internal conflict. Everywhere you turn, voices are lamenting the loss of their land and property. Kiryandongo, abundant with ranches, suffers from a lack of a structured framework, which amplifies these land conflicts. The influx of wealthy investors further complicates the situation,” Mr. Ssebaggala disclosed.

Within the dialogue, Mr. Ssebaggala emphasized the need for the Kiryandongo district council to pass a by-law aimed at curbing land evictions as an initial step in addressing the prevalent land injustices.

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Kiryandongo authorities decry rising cases of land disputes



The LC5 chairperson of Kiryandongo, Ms Edith Aliguma Adyeri, has saidnland dispute has impacted on people’s lives, dignity and children’s education in the district.

Just like other parts of Uganda, conflicts over land in Kiryandongo arise when individuals – who often are blood relatives – compete for use of the same parcel of land or when members of the community lay claim over ownership of unutilised government land.

Ms Adyeri further said land and environmental rights affect people both directly and indirectly, “and we are not hearing it from afar. It is already together with us [here], it has already affected us!”

She was speaking at a meeting which sought to discuss alternative remedies to salvage the appalling land and environmental rights situation in Kiryandongo at the district headquarters on Thursday.

The one-day dialogue was aimed at reflecting on the plight of land and environmental rights defenders, local and indigenous communities and the role of responsible land-based investments in protecting people and the planet.

It was attended by private companies, members of civil society and local government officials and organised by Witness Radio – an advocate for land and environmental rights in Uganda – in partnership with Oxfam, and Kiryandongo District leadership.

“Some people have even died, families are broken up, and brothers are not seeing eye-to-eye because of land rights. Access to justice is equally becoming very difficult because when you hire one lawyer that
lawyer will talk to learned friends, and they agree. They leave you in suspense,” Ms Adyeri said.

According to her, some children have not accessed education because of land and environmental rights.

Mr Jonathan Akweteireho, the deputy Resident District Commissioner of Kiryandongo, said enlightened people especially should be sensitive to the historical injustice of this area.

“We can never handle the Bonyoro land question without thinking about that history. It will be an injustice to the incomers, to the government and to the leaders who don’t understand,” he said.

“We had 38 ranches here which on the guidance of these international organisations, especially the World Bank, the government restructured them, allowing people to settle there, they were never given titles and up to today, there are big problems in all those ranches,” he added.

Mr Jeff Wokulira Ssebaggala, the executive director of Witness Radio, said that a well-functional land sector supports land users or holders and investors, reduces inefficiencies and provides mechanisms to resolve land disputes.

Mr David Kyategeka, the secretary to the Kiryandongo District Land Board, said the issue of land rights is very clear but the major challenge has been sensitising the locals to know what rights he or she expects to enjoy out of this very important resource.


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