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Natives and Businesses

Ugandan State House Official dupes 251 families, grabs 2 square miles mineral-rich land without compensation

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By witnessradio.org team

Imagine being assigned by your president to protect the indigenous people’s land and instead target their mineral-rich land; through your office, you hoodwink them to vacate their land before compensation.

It’s now ten years since Gertrude Njuba, a State House Director on Land matters duped and took  two (2) square miles natives’ mineral-rich land at Kamalenge, Bukuya sub-county in Mubende district where she spotted gold stones. The land was hosting over 251 families with majority engaged in subsistence farming.

In last July, 2017, Njuba was again named in 12-square mile land grabbing scandal that host the gold deposits in Mubende district. In this particular grab, at least 120,000 families directly survived and lived on the grabbed land. Using the army and police, Njuba violently evicted indigenous people off their land and properties worth billions of shillings including permanent houses were demolished without compensation.

Article 26 (1) stipulates that “every person has a right to own property either individually or in association with others,” and article 26 (2) provides for (i) “prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation, prior to the taking of possession or acquisition of the property.”

Before evicting the poor peasants, Njuba, a director of Anglo-Ugandan Co-operation (AUC) mining ltd, used district public offices including the office of the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) to convince natives to vacate their land willfully before receiving their payment. Natives claim that before the valuation report was out, Njuba made them to sign an understanding agreement outlining a 3% disturbance fees in order to vacate their land faster but even those benefits are yet to be realized. The benefits were expected to come from gold got from their land.

As a sign of commitment to pay everyone’s compensation after leaving their land, Njuba targeted some leaders and paid them less than 10% of their total entitlement, which she has also failed to pay fully. Through their leaders; Enoch Ruyonga, Fabiano Kamuhanda and Alex Kamusiime said, Njuba’s actions are in total breach of the 1995 constitution which prohibits deprivation of property without compensation.

According to the valuations of; V&Q consulting surveyors valuators, Enoch Ruyonga’s properties were valued at Shs 53,500,186 (about $14,861) just got 7,446,721 (about $2,068), Jackson Mukasa valued at Shs 47,496,813 (about $13,193), and paid only Shs 12,000,000(about $3,333) John Kasinzi was valued at 27,104,229 about ($7,528) but just got Shs 7,000,000 (about $1,944)

Others are; Ibrahim Muganga who was valued at Shs 5,816,889 (about $1,615) but just got just 2,077,091 (about $576), Alex Kamusiime was valued at Shs 4,583,735 (about $1,273) and just got Shs 2,000,000 (just $555), Faibano Kamuhanda was valued at Shs 38,802,155 (about $10,778), was paid Shs 11,438,480 (about $3,177) and James Musisi was valued at Shs 3,800,000 (about $1,055), but paid him just 1,000,000 (about $277).

By witnessradio.org team

Imagine being assigned by your president to protect the indigenous people’s land and instead target their mineral-rich land; through your office, you hoodwink them to vacate their land before compensation.

It’s now ten years since Gertrude Njuba, a State House Director on Land matters duped and took  two (2) square miles natives’ mineral-rich land at Kamalenge, Bukuya sub-county in Mubende district where she spotted gold stones. The land was hosting over 251 families with majority engaged in subsistence farming.

In last July, 2017, Njuba was again named in 12-square mile land grabbing scandal that host the gold deposits in Mubende district. In this particular grab, at least 120,000 families directly survived and lived on the grabbed land. Using the army and police, Njuba violently evicted indigenous people off their land and properties worth billions of shillings including permanent houses were demolished without compensation.

Article 26 (1) stipulates that “every person has a right to own property either individually or in association with others,” and article 26 (2) provides for (i) “prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation, prior to the taking of possession or acquisition of the property.”

Before evicting the poor peasants, Njuba, a director of Anglo-Ugandan Co-operation (AUC) mining ltd, used district public offices including the office of the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) to convince natives to vacate their land willfully before receiving their payment. Natives claim that before the valuation report was out, Njuba made them to sign an understanding agreement outlining a 3% disturbance fees in order to vacate their land faster but even those benefits are yet to be realized. The benefits were expected to come from gold got from their land.

As a sign of commitment to pay everyone’s compensation after leaving their land, Njuba targeted some leaders and paid them less than 10% of their total entitlement, which she has also failed to pay fully. Through their leaders; Enoch Ruyonga, Fabiano Kamuhanda and Alex Kamusiime said, Njuba’s actions are in total breach of the 1995 constitution which prohibits deprivation of property without compensation.

According to the valuations of; V&Q consulting surveyors valuators, Enoch Ruyonga’s properties were valued at Shs 53,500,186 (about $14,861) just got 7,446,721 (about $2,068), Jackson Mukasa valued at Shs 47,496,813 (about $13,193), and paid only Shs 12,000,000(about $3,333) John Kasinzi was valued at 27,104,229 about ($7,528) but just got Shs 7,000,000 (about $1,944)

Others are; Ibrahim Muganga who was valued at Shs 5,816,889 (about $1,615) but just got just 2,077,091 (about $576), Alex Kamusiime was valued at Shs 4,583,735 (about $1,273) and just got Shs 2,000,000 (just $555), Faibano Kamuhanda was valued at Shs 38,802,155 (about $10,778), was paid Shs 11,438,480 (about $3,177) and James Musisi was valued at Shs 3,800,000 (about $1,055), but paid him just 1,000,000 (about $277).

Natives and Businesses

Fresh violence in Kiryandongo as a project affected family head narrowly survived death

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By witnessradio.org Team

Kiryandongo – Uganda – families that lost their land to multinationals and currently trapped in the middle of the plantations have begun a year with fresh attacks from allegedly their evictors.

Batumbya Charles, 61, a resident of Kikungulu village, Kitwala parish in Kiryandongo district is the first victim of fresh violence since 2021 started.

Batumbya, a father of 15, whose land is in the middle of the sugarcane plantations owned by Kiryandongo Sugar Limited was attacked from his home on a previous Sunday at 8:00 PM by two unidentified plain-clothed men who were armed with pangas and batons.

Kiryandongo Sugar Limited together with Agilis Partners Limited and Great Season SMC Limited are forcefully and violently evicting more than 35,000 inhabitants to give way for agribusiness projects.

Since 2017 when the evictions started, communities have complained about acts of violence meted against them by multinational companies from sexual and gender-based violence against women, defilement, torture, beating, kidnap to illegal arrest and detention among others.

“I was at home alone after my wife traveled with all the children to my in-laws. In the evening I was inside my house and I heard the noise of someone who had fallen down. So, I rushed to open the door to check what was happening. As soon I opened the door, two men forced themselves into my house. I was arrested, pushed down and no sooner I fell down than the attackers started beating me” Narrated Batumbya.

Speaking from his hospital bed, Batumbya further said that in the process, he tried to defend himself but he got overpowered by the attackers and started cutting his body parts using a panga.

“I have since lost my four-finger of my right arm to the attackers and now nursing wounds,” said, Batumbya.

Families living in the middle of plantations said they are vulnerable to attacks from multinational companies as violence is the order of the day.

They accuse multinational companies of intimidation and forcing them to receive as little as Uganda Shillings 150,000 equivalent to US Dollar 40 as compensation and when one refuses, such conduct is deemed disrespectful by investors and attracts serious beating.

“We suspect investors are responsible for the attack of Batumbya since we are in the middle of the plantations. They have tried to evict us and we are resisting, no one else is torturing us apart from them”, said one Mesarch Kagina a resident of Kikungulu.

However, the newly deployed Kiryandongo District Police Commander, SP Odonga Tonny, pleased to work with all stakeholders including communities to end the violence.

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Livelihood

The criminal trial of 8 land rights defenders flops for the fourth time

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A photo of 8 land rights defenders from right Ramu, Ndahimana, Amos Wafula, Martin Haweka, Martin Munyansia, Eliot Talemwa, Samuel Kusiima, George Rwakabisha and Fred Mwawula, at court.

By witnessradio.org Team.

Kiryandongo – Uganda – the criminal trial of 8 land defenders in Kiryandongo has failed to take off for the fourth time following the transfer of the trial magistrate.

On 20th December 2020, the Judiciary reshuffled its officers, and Kiryandongo Grade 1 magistrate Augustine Alule was transferred and replaced with His Worship Derrick Byamugisha.

According to the reshuffle notice, the new magistrate Byamugisha who was scheduled to report to his duty station immediately, the trial day got him handing over to his successor, which caused the fourth adjournment.

Fred Mwawula, Ramu Ndahimana, Samuel Kusiima, Martin Munyansia, Martin Haweka, Amos Wafula, Eliot Talemwa, and George Rwakabisha are accused of threatening violence, a charge which carries a punishment of four (4) years on conviction.

The prosecution alleges that on September 4th, 2020 the eight and others at large while at Kisalanda, threatened to harm a police officer and workers of Great Season SMC limited.

However, on October 16, 2020, the prosecution informed the court that investigations were done and the prosecutor’s chambers were ready to proceed with the trial.

Before the illegal arrest and detention and prosecution of the 8 defenders, NGOs including Witness Radio – Uganda, GRAIN, and Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa released a Kiryandongo report “land grabs at gun point”, which exposed gross human rights violations and abuses committed by security agencies and 3 multinationals against communities. The motive for persecution is regarded as retaliation from district security agencies and multinational companies pinned in the report.

The defenders believe that the charges brought against them are linked to their human rights work of mobilizing and empowering communities to legally resist the forceful and violent evictions.

The next trial is scheduled for 24th February 2021.

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Livelihood

The criminal trial of 8 land rights defenders is set to take off tomorrow

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By Witnessradio.org Team

Kiryandongo – Uganda – the criminal trial of the 8 land rights defenders is set to start tomorrow December 15th, 2020, at 10 am at Kiryandongo Magistrate’s court. This follows after the flop of the November trial due to the absence of the magistrate.

Fred Mwawula, Ramu Ndahimana, Samuel Kusiima, Martin Munyansia, Martin Haweka, Amos Wafula, Eliot Talemwa, and George Rwakabisha are facing a prison sentence of four years upon conviction of threatening violence charge.

The prosecution alleges that on September 4th, 2020 the eight and others at large while at Kisalanda, threatened to harm one of the police officers guarding Great Season SMC limited’s plantation.

On November 12, 2020, the prosecution made the disclosure and informed the court that investigations were done and the prosecutor’s chambers were ready to proceed to trial.

Before the illegal arrest and prosecution of the 8 defenders, NGOs including Witness Radio – Uganda, GRAIN, and Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa released a Kiryandongo report “landgrabs at gunpoint”, which exposed gross human rights violations and abuses committed by security agencies and 3 multinationals against communities. The motive for persecution is regarded as retaliation from district security agencies and multinational companies pinned in the report.

The defenders believe that the charges brought against them are linked to their human rights work of mobilizing and empowering communities to legally resist the forceful and violent evictions.

 

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