Connect with us


Agony As Justice Systems Side With Land Grabbers In Mubende District To Incarcerate Indigenous Communities Opposing Illegal Land Evictions



By Team

Formasa limited, a Chinese owned Company dealing in tree planting business was in 2010 introduced to 1000 native families from over twelve (12) villages in both Maddudu and Butoloogo sub counties by Mubende District Deputy Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Evelyn Tinkamarirwa Akiiki. RDC is a president’s representative at a district whose position is established by the 1995 Constitution of Republic of Uganda.

The company allegedly bought land totaling to over ten (10) square miles covering 12 villages namely; Kaziragoma, Nakasozi, Kyedikyo, Kamagwa, Kicucuulo, Namayindi, Kiguluka, Kabuwuka, Kaswa, Kitebi, Kyabbogo and Kisiigwa.

No sooner had the company been introduced than hundreds of casual laborers were brought and established a camp under Mubende police protection. Family gardens and plantations started getting destroyed to plant both eucalyptus and thorny pine trees, burning down people’s houses, allegedly gang raping women, attacking community members with pangs and machetes, harassment of community members, arresting and detaining community leaders opposing illegal land evictions.

Lubuuka Harunah, 35, is a resident of Kisiigwa LC1, Maddudu Sub County.  He claims that on 02/7/2014 he was attacked at his home by a group of company workers. He said his body parts were cut with machete and got admitted at Mubende Referral Hospital. “I was being accused of refusing to vacate my land for the company to plant trees”. Said Lubuuka.

He said upon being discharged from hospital, he filed an assault case against company workers at Mubende police station on 04/07/2014 but instead; Mubende police arrested him few days later and got produced before court. He was charged with assault CR. CASE NO.514/2014 for assaulting FORMASA company workers.

Court remanded him to Kaweeri prison for one year after which, he secured cash bail and got released from prison.

Lubuuka said that by the time he returned home, he found his entire land covered by trees belonging to Formasa Company on top of demolishing his house that he had built there!

I tried to seek justice, but any government office like Police, RDC, among others, that I have been to, they just send me away only threatening to arrest and get me back to prison again. In fact, I am now timid to the extent that I no longer want to talk about these things anymore”. Said Lubuuka. He added that the case was later dismissed due to lack of evidence after losing his entire land to the company.

Paul Sinamenye, 54 a resident of Nakasozi village, Naluwondwa Parish – Maddudu Sub-County, claims he was falsely charged with assaulting Stephen Tumwine, the Manager at Formasa Company under Criminal case No 0608/2016. He said, when he was taken to court, he wasn’t allowed to say anything and Grade One Magistrate Wandera Wilson remanded him to Kaweeri prison. “What hurts me is that Formasa Company used the period I spent in prison to grab my land through planting their trees and as I speak now, I don’t have any farmland to grow food to feed my family” said Sinamenye.

Sinamenye added that his case was later dismissed after the complainant (Tumwine) made a U-turn and denied having been beaten.

He said they later filed a civil suit against Asiimwe for malicious case civil suit No. MBD CS 16/2107 Hategyeka Esau & Sinamenye Paul Vs Tumwine Stephen. “Upon receiving court papers requiring him to put in his defence within 15 days, he came with police to arrest me and Hategyeka. We were arrested and charged with a new assault case No. 0608/16 accusing us of beating up workers of Formasa Company” said Sinamenye.

He added that they were remanded to Kaweeri prison before being granted cash bail of 500,000 UGX equivalent to about USD 150 on 31/1/2017.

Jimmy Ssegujja, 45, is a resident of Kyedikyo village, Maddudu Sub County. He said during the forceful evictions by Formasa Company, he refused to leave his land and resisted the company’s plan to plant trees in his land. As a punishment he was arrested by police and charged with a case relating to removing of boundary marks contrary to CS 338 Penal Code Act on file CRB 518/12/case No. 192/2012. The magistrate jailed him at Kaweeri prison, before being transferred to Kijumba prison.

After spending three months on remand, I was taken back to court, but I was never allowed to bring my witnesses only to be convicted and sentenced to six months. On completion of my sentence, I returned to my home, but I couldn’t find my wife at home-she had left, and part of my land had been grabbed. But my efforts to reclaim the ownership of my land was in futility, because Formasa Company seem to have bribed all officials in the various government offices I ran to, because everybody gave my issues deaf ears.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Complaint against unprofessional conduct of the DPC Kiryandongo district for aiding and abetting land grabbing in kiryandongo district.



The Commandant,

Professional Standards Unit, Uganda Police-Kampala.

Dear Sir/Madam;


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

Continue Reading


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.



Continue Reading


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.

Continue Reading

Resource Center

Legal Framework




Subscribe to Witness Radio's newsletter


Subscribe to Witness Radio's newsletter