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Nabbanja Halts Activities by OPM Officials on Contested Land in Kikuube

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According to Nabbanja, this could be a move by some officials in OPM and Kyangwali refugee settlement area to fraudulently grab the said land from locals neighbouring the Kyangwali refugee settlement area.
Some of the affected residents listening to Nabbanja's speech at Bukinda.Photo by EmmanuelmOkello.

Audio 5

Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja has halted all the activities by officials from her office on a contested piece of land in Bukinda parish Kyangwali sub-county in Kikuube district.  

The 36 square kilometre piece of land is under contention between officials from Kyangwali refugee settlement area and over 10,000 families who were brutally evicted by the officials from the Prime Minister’s office for alleged encroachment.   

During her visit on Saturday to assess the condition of the evictees, Nabbanja discovered that some officials from the OPM and Kyangwali refugee settlement area had connived to erect structures for refugees on the contested land.

The officials had also connived and planted crops like beans, maize, cassava, bananas and groundnuts among others. According to Nabbanja, this could be a move by some officials in OPM and Kyangwali refugee settlement area to fraudulently grab the said land from locals neighbouring the Kyangwali refugee settlement area.  

She ordered the Minister for disaster preparedness, the Camp commandant of Kyangwali refugee’s settlement area, Kikuube District Police commander and Resident district commissioner to ensure that no more activity takes place on the contested land until investigations into the wrangles are completed.      

//cue in;”I have no…

Cue out:…stop construction now.”//  

Earlier on Nabbanja clashed with Jolly Kebirungi, the Regional Refugees desk officer who informed her that there was no eviction in the area and that residents were living in peace. However, upon visiting the ground, the Prime Minister discovered something else.

 

//cue in;”I stand to…

Cue out:..  are you here.”//       

Johnbosco Kyaligonza, the Settlement commandant of Kyangwali refugees’ settlement area, says that the contested land belongs to the government, which explains their decision to construct houses for refugees on it despite the ongoing conflict.

//cue in;” one of my…

 

Cue out:…is my boss.”//  

Judith Nabakoba, the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development called for the reopening of the boundary of Kyangwali refugee’s settlement area so that government can know where its land passes.

//cue in;” Kubanga ya lina...  

cue out:...Minister Mwebale nyo."/// 

Florence Natumanya, the area woman MP said there is a need for the government to reopen the boundary of Kyangwali refugees’ settlement area land and compensate those brutally evicted from their ancestral land.    

She blasted the regional refugee's desk officer for deceiving the prime minister that there were no evictions from the contested land.

//cue in; ”we have other…  

Cue out:…they are okay.”//  

Peter Banura, the Kikuube LC5 Chairperson faulted some officials from the OPM for being behind the massive land grabbing of locals settling near the refugee settlement area.

Yosefina Banaki, who has occupied the contested piece of land since 1969, said officials from the OPM guarded by Uganda Peoples defence forces-UPDF soldiers raided and demolished her house rendering her and her family members homeless. 

//cue in;”Omwaka gwo nka…

Cue out:…Nkaga na Mwenda.”//   

Joseph Kisembo, who was born on the contested piece of land in 1949 but and was violently evicted wants the prime minister to have them resettled on their ancestral land. He wonders why they should be evicted from their ancestral land to give room for refugees from other countries.  

//cue in;”Nkazarwa rukumi no…

Cue out:…Tuka bonabona habwaki.”// 

The Kyangwali refugees’ settlement area officials together with officials from the OPM have since 2013 been feuding on the contested land. The land covers 28 villages including Bukinda A and B, Bukinda 2, Kavule, Bwizibwera A and B, Kyeya A and B, Nyaruhanga, Kabirizi, Nyamigisa A and B and Katoma among others.

In September 2013, OPM officials backed by the police and UPDF evicted more than 60,000 people from the contested land and resettled there Congolese refugees.