By Akanimo Sampson
Hundreds of native families in Kiryandongo, Uganda are being violently and forcefully evicted off their land by Great Season Company, owned by South Sudan nationals, Witness Radio Organisation says.
According to the radio, the eviction is being backed by the Kiryandongo District Police.
Witness Radio Organisation, witnessradio.org is a non-partisan and not-for-profit registered network of investigative and human rights reporters/writers using media leaning approaches with the main focus to promote economic, social and cultural rights and development in Uganda.
Started in 2016 by a team of senior human rights and investigative journalists, the organisation uses Information Communication Technology (ICT) platforms as its primary medium to achieve its goals.
However, the land measuring 4.5 square miles is situated at Kisalanda village, Kakwoko – Mutunda parish, Kibanda County, Kiryandongo district. It’s registered on Block 7, Plot 66, 67, and 68, Kibanda County, Kiryandongo district.
The dispossession started in July 2015 when one Mwesigye Reuben with the help of Kiryandongo District Land Board official and Uganda Land Commission without following lawful procedures fraudulently acquired a land title. He later transferred the said land title to Great Season Company.
According to Isingoma David, a resident at Kisalanda village, “I was born in 1937on this land which i have since lawfully occupied and cultivated with many other families. Not until late (2019) when I saw a group of men being accompanied by police at my home who asked me to leave the land claiming that it was owned by Great Seasons Company.
‘’Like other families that have lived on this land, I too own many properties on it like food plantations, animal farms, and the graves of my parents. The company wants me to lose all these things without any compensation.”
He added that the company has never consulted them neither have they consented to the project which the company wants to carry out on this land.
Going by the witnessradio.org investigations, it has been discovered that the records of the land in question were dubiously rubbed off the cadastral sheets in the Survey and Mapping office located at Entebbe.
Some government correspondences seen by witnessradio.org regarding the same land indicate that the Minister of State for Lands in 2017 once directed that all titles on Block 7, Plot 66, 67, and 68, Kibanda County, Kiryandongo district be cancelled and those purportedly behind the unlawful process of eviction be arrested.
However, between May and June 2019, Kiryandongo district local government officials, Kiryandongo District Land Board and Kiryandongo police disregarded the government order and aided Mwesigye Reuben and Great Season Company as they began the forceful, fatal, illegal eviction of families.
The evictions, which are still being carried out were commenced without prior, and informed consent from bonafide native families and no consultation were made which has resulted in immeasurable suffering, loss, and anguish.