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Kasese Farmers Yet to Access Land 3 Months After Winning Court Case

Up to 290 farmers in Kasese are yet to access a disputed piece of land in Bukonzo West County, more than three months after winning a court case against government.
Up to 290 farmers in Kasese are yet to access a disputed piece of land in Bukonzo West County, more than three months after winning a court case against government.

 

The farmers, numbering about 289 from Rwehingo, Muruti and Bukangara villages, are about to miss another planting season after being denied access to the land.

 

In May this year, High Court judge, Justice Owiny Dollo, ruled in favour of the farmers who had sued government for giving out their land to the pastoralists when they were repatriated from the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2006. Court also ordered the government to pay 12 million shillings to each of the 289 farmers who had not cultivated on the land for five years.

The farmers, who have pitched camp outside the now idle land, say they have accessed all legal documents including a court order but police in the area have denied them access to the land.

One of the farmers’ leaders, Julius Kalendu Tibamanya, said that all the copies of the necessary documents have been submitted to the office of the Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Local Council Five Chairman and police but in vain.

The farmers are now pondering suing government for failing to honour the High Court ruling in May.

They also call for whoever still has interest in the land to go to court so that a legal process is taken.

In July, at least ten people were injured in clashes between the cultivators and cattle keepers when the former descended on the land for takeover basing on the court ruling.

Inspector General of Police Lt. Gen. Kale Kayihura then intervened and ordered the cultivators to avail authorities with an order of court and a decree so that they access their land.

However, the Deputy RDC Aminadabu Muhindo said the problem is not with any office in the district but delay from the Commissioner of Surveys who is supposed to open the boundaries as ordered by court.

Muhindo said the RDC’s office will write to the commissioner of surveys to speed up the process so that farmers are able to access their land.

The farmers who have missed five years on their land because of a court process say they want to cultivate cotton, beans, maize and ground nuts whose planting season ends mid September.

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