Witness Radio Milestones
Role Model? Mityana district is set to lead Uganda on family planning advocacy
By witnessradio.org Team
In an effort to mitigate a rapidly growing population rate at 3.3 per annum in Uganda, Mityana district launches the first ever Five Year Family Planning Costed Implementation Plan to address growing challenges of family planning and Sexual reproductive Health in the region. Through using Public Private Partnership to work for the wellbeing of indigenous people, the plan will jointly be implemented by local governments, not-for-profit agencies, development partners and private sector after pulling resources together.
The strategy has several thematic areas with a clear role to be undertaken by each stakeholder in the next five years. Areas include demand creation; Stewardship, Management and Accountability; Service Delivery and Access; Contraceptive Security, Financing and Policy and Enabling Environment among others.
This is a second broad step to be undertaken by Mityana district after being the first local government to provide a family planning budgetary allocation since 2014. The district allocates two million shillings annually towards family planning sensitization, which has also been replicated in other lower local governments. One of the priorities for the plan is to increase age-appropriate information, access and use of family planning amongst young people aged between 10 – 24 years.
Uganda is ranked as one of countries in the world with the youngest population, with over 78% below 30 years and Mityana district for years has experienced teenage pregnancies and child headed families. According to 2015 Census, Mityana district fertility rate stood at 7.5, which remains amongst the highest in the country.
It is estimated that Mityana has over 66,916 women of child bearing age between 15 – 49 years out of the district total population of 331,266. Pregnancies are at 16,563 per year; expected births of 16,066 per year while district HIV prevalence rate is at 10.6%
Nakaweesi Florence, 22, a resident of Kubajja village in Maanyi sub county, Mityana district is a mother of three. She told witnessradio.org that she got her first born at the age of 15 years after losing both her parents. Nakaweesi recounts that she lived with her grandmother and dropped out of school in primary three (3) before being hired as a house maid. “I worked for food and accommodation for months before getting married. I didn’t see any future until I got a man to marry”. Nakaweesi said. She confesses to lacking family planning information before she got married.
Like other children from large families, Nakaweesi said, she couldn’t not stay in school plus her many siblings due to poverty.
Visiting Maanyi Sub County, witnessradio.org discovered that it has been used as a model to promote citizen empowerment, participation in decision making and people centered service delivery.
Tracing roots; Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE) for the last for four years, introduced a concept of village clubs composed of members from the community. Community members, working as volunteers get trained and empowered to monitor how funds from the district are utilized but also, participate in budget planning processes from villages to sub county and ensure community needs are incorporated in sub county’s budgets each financial year.
FOWODE’s concept has not only promoted collaborations among key stakeholders but has also helped to bring people closer to their leaders, making Maanyi sub county a success story whose experience has been replicated at the district resulting in the development of a five year Costed Implementation Plan as well as in other sub counties.
FOWODE Executive Director, Patricia Munaabi, told witnessradio.org that village club model have been piloted in Mityana and Busia districts thus making Mityana a success story. She said, village clubs have advocated for their own issues in local governments and in Maanyi Sub County, the locals secured first a family planning budget allocation in every financial year before the model was replicated at the district.
She said, other success stories include, through village participation in planning processes, locals secured an ambulance for their Health Centre III, authorities established a Youth Friendly Corner dedicated to provide family planning and sexual reproductive health related information, carrier development and leadership mentorship among others. The corner has also been equipped with facilities and games to make youths comfortable and provide space for peer to peer learning.
According to FOWODE officials, family planning uptake coverage in Mityana district increased in 2013/14 financial year to 82%. However, in 2014/15 uptake coverage declined to 54% due to reported contradictory arguments from political and religious leaders about the role of family planning in socio economic development.
Officers said, some political leaders encourage large families to spur economic growth making full implementation of family planning policies very challenging.
Complaint against unprofessional conduct of the DPC Kiryandongo district for aiding and abetting land grabbing in kiryandongo district.
Professional Standards Unit, Uganda Police-Kampala.
RE: COMPLAINT AGAINST UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT OF THE DPC KIRYANDONGO DISTRICT FOR AIDING AND ABETTING LAND GRABBING IN NYAMUTENDE KITWARA PARISH KIRYANDONGO DISTRICT AND CARRYING OUT ILLEGAL ARRESTS AND DETENTION OF INNOCENT RESIDENTS/ BIBANJA OWNERS FOR PROTESTING AGAINST THE ILLEGAL EVICTION FROM THEIR LAND.
We act for and behalf of the Lawful and bonafide occupants of Land described as LRV MAS 2 FOLIO 8 BLOCK 8 PLOT 22 (FORMERLY KNOWN AS RANCH 22).
Our Clients are residents of Nyamutende Village, Kitwara Parish in Kiryandongo District where they have lived for more than 30 years and sometime in 2017, they applied for a lease of the said Land to Kiryandongo District Land Board through the Directorate of Land Matters State House.
As they were still awaiting their Application to be processed, they were shocked to establish that the said land had been instead leased to and registered in the names of Isingoma Julius, Mwesige Simon, John Musokota William, Tumusiime Gerald, Wabwire Messener Gabriel, Ocema Richard and Wilson Shikhama, some of whom were not known to the Complainants. A copy of the Search is attached hereto
Our clients protested the above action and appealed to relevant offices, but were shocked to discover that the above persons had gone ahead and sold the same to a one Maseruka Robert.
Aggrieved by these actions, the Complainants appealed to the RDC who advised them to institute proceedings against the said persons, and assigned them a one Mbabazi Samuel to assist them to that effect. The said Mbabazi accordingly filed Civil Suit Noa 46 of 2019 against tne said registered proprietors at Masindi High Court challenging the illegal and fraudulent registration, sale and transfer of the subject land to Maseruka Robert.
While awaiting the progress of the case mentioned hereinabove, the Complainants were surprised to find that the said Mbabazi, instead of assisting them, he went into a consent settling the said suit on their behalf without their knowledge or consent. A copy of the Consent is attached hereto.
Among the terms of the said consent Judgment was that the residents would be compensated without specifying how much and would in return vacate the Land.
As if that was not enough, Maseruka Robert and Mbabazi Samuel are going ahead to execute the said Consent Judgment by forcefully evicting the occupants without compensation which has prompted the complainants to challenge the said Consent by applying for its review and setting aside at Masindi High Court which is coming up for hearing on the 29th March 2023. A copy of the Application is attached hereto.
Sensing the imminent threat of eviction, we also filed an application for interim stay of execution of the said consent to avoid rendering their application for review nugatory but unfortunately the same could not be heard on the date it was fixed for hearing (6th February 2023). A copy of the Application is attached hereto
On Thursday last week, three tractors being operated by 6 workers of a one Mbabazi Samuel [the very person who had been entrusted to represent our Clients to secure their Land through Civil Suit No.46 of 2019] encroached close to 50 acres of our Clients’ land and started ploughing it but our Client’s protested and chased them away.
We have however been shocked to receive information from our Clients that on Sunday at Mid night, 3 police patrols invaded the community in the night and arrested community members; Mulenje Jack, Steven Kagyenji, Mulekwa David, Ntambala Geoffrey, Tumukunde Isaac 15 years, Kanunu Innocent, Mukombozi Frank, Kuzara, Rwamunyankole Enock, and took them to Kiryandongo Police Station where they are currently detained.
We strongly protest the illegal arrests and detention of our Clients as this is a carefully orchestrated land grabbing scheme by Maseruka Robert and Mbabazi Samuel who are receiving support from the DPC Kiryandongo.
The purpose of this Letter therefore is to request your good office to investigate the misconduct, abuse of office and unprofessionalism of the said DPC Kiryandongo District and all his involvement in the land grabbing schemes on land formerly known as Ranch 22.
Looking forward to your urgent intervention,
C.C The Head Police Land Protection Unit Police Head Quarters Naguru
CC The RDC Kiryandongo District
CC The Chairman LCVKityadongo District
CC The Regional Police CommanderAlbertine Region
Witness Radio Milestones
The Executive Director of Witness Radio Uganda talks about the role played by Witness Radio in protecting communities affected by large-scale agribusinesses in Kiryandongo district in an interview with the ILC.
Witness Radio Milestones
Witness Radio Uganda wins the best CSO land rights defenders award at the National Land Forum Awards.
By Witness Radio Team
Uganda’s leading land and environmental rights watchdog, Witness Radio has been awarded the best CSO land rights defender award 2022 in the recently concluded National Land Forum Awards held last week at Mestil hotel in Kampala.
Witness Radio’s executive Director, Jeff Wokulira Ssebaggala attributed the award to the community land and environmental rights defenders who stand up against the intimidation and different forms of harassment from land grabbers (economically powerful and politically connected companies and individual investors).
“This is an award for defenders at a community level. They work in very deadly environments filled with harassment, torture, death threats, arrest, trumped-up charges, and kidnaps among others to advocate for community land and environment rights. This is happening at a spate where criminalization and silencing of community land rights defenders are at increase.” Jeff added.
The award has come at a time when hundreds of Ugandans in different parts of the country are accessing services provided by the organization ranging from legal service provisions, non-judicial mechanism engagements, empowerment to help them understand their rights, and using the same knowledge to use the same skills to push back against illegal and forced evictions
The chairman of the organizing committee of the second National Land Forum, Mr. Jimmy Ochom noted some progress on legislation in Uganda’s land Governance. He cited growing inequalities on land where the poor are more vulnerable.
During awards, the state minister for housing, Hon persis Namuganza revealed that the government approved the plan for 2018-2040 that maps the land use in the country.
According to the minister, the government had identified land for settlement, game reserves, wildlife, arable land for farming, and water bodies among others in the plan which she said was passed a few weeks ago.
The event was organized by Oxfam and partners and provided a platform for discussions by the different actors in the land sector on issues around land governance, including land rights, land administration, and land governance for improved collaboration, cooperation between the actors, and improved land service delivery for Ugandans under a theme “Taking stock of the National Land Policy in addressing Land inequality in addressing Land inequality in Uganda.”
Other categories of awards that were won by different organizations and individuals including Mr. Eddie Nsamba-Gayiiya for his contribution to research on land rights, Justice Centers Uganda for Promoting Access to Land Justice, and Mr. Henry Harrison Irumba for Championing Legal Reforms among others.
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