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Evicted Families Demand Release of Parliamentary Select Committee Report

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In March this year, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga constituted a select committee to investigate the matter after the Ora County Member of parliament; Lawrence Biyika Songa brought the matter to the attention of parliament on February 21, 2019.
Some of the houses that were burnt and demolished during the eviction.

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More than 500 families that were brutally evicted from Kyabisagazi 1 and 2 in Kyabisagazi parishes in Kigorobya Sub County in Hoima district are demanding for the immediate release of the parliamentary select committee report on their eviction.   

The families were forcefully evicted from their ancestral land on February 13, 2019 when a joint security team comprising of the army and police raided the village under the guise of tracking down people purportedly involved in subversive activities.     

The operation was reportedly prompted by intelligence indicating that a group of foreigners had invaded the area posing a security threat.  The evictees fought back thinking they had been attacked by thugs and killed a police constable identified as Julius Taremwa formerly attached to Hoima Central Police station.

However, what appeared to be a cordon and search operation turned out to be an action, which displaced more than 500 families from a contested piece of land measuring 485 acres. The land has been at the center of a dispute between Edgar Agaba, a businessman in Hoima town and the affected residents for decades. 

  

In March this year, the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga constituted a select committee to investigate the matter after the Ora County Member of parliament; Lawrence Biyika Songa brought the matter to the attention of parliament on February 21, 2019.   

The committee is chaired by Gaster Mugoya, the Bukholi County MP. The other committee members are Budaka Woman MP, Pamela Kamoga Naiso, Makindye East MP, Ibrahim Kasozi Biribawa, Bududa Woman MP, Justine Khainza, UPDF Representative, Brig.Flavia Byekwaso, Oyam Woman MP, Santa Alum and Busiki County MP, Paul Akamba.      

The select committee was given six terms of reference including studying all claims of ownership on the disputed land, investigating allegations relating to the identity and status of persons evicted, examining the involvement and conduct of security officers in the eviction of families. 

 

The committee visited Kyabisagazi 1 and Kyabisagazi 2 on April 12, 2019 and interacted with the evictees to kick start its investigations. The committee was expected to complete work within 45 days and report back to Parliament. However, to date the committee hasn’t tabled its findings about the eviction.  

The evictees who have since pitched camp at Kibali church of Uganda in Kibaali village in Kasenene parish in Budongo Sub County in Masindi district wonder why the committee hasn’t released its report. Semerita Angei, one of the evictees and a mother of 12 children told Uganda Radio network that their hope of returning to their land is dependent on the committee report.

//Cue in:”Anji candinya Anji… 

Cue out:…Lazudi dray o.:”//.  

 

Bahati Ondoga, another resident says the delay by the Committee members to table their findings before parliament is traumatizing them, saying the committee members assured them that they would release their findings a month after visiting the contested area.   

//Cue in:”Maneno yetu yote… 

Cue out:…sisi wanye nabaki.:”//. 

Jovan Aliyo, another evictee explains that the delay in the release of the report could further jeopardize investigations into their forceful eviction. 

//cue:”Nidyo Gafument Afikiri… 

Cue out:…Kwa Hali mbaya.:”//. 

Gaster Mugoya Kyawa, the Select Committee chairperson told URN in a phone interview that the committee report is ready, adding that they will table it in parliament either on Tuesday or Wednesday this week.

//Cue in: "By next week...  

Cue out:...wait for Tuesday,”//. 

URN visited the contested piece of land recently and discovered that sugarcane had been planted on it. It is not clear who planted the sugarcane on the contested piece of land.        

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