The Minister of Lands, Hon. Betty Olive Kamya, has halted the eviction of over 10,000 residents from a 12,737-acre plot of land. The land is situated in Ndoi Village, Kitwaara Sub-county Kiryandongo District.
She announced the move during the meeting with the affected people in Nyamitete, Mutunda Sub-County, the Daily Monitor reports.
The land in question is divided into six ranches. According to the residents, President Museveni permitted them to settle on the land in 2012.
In 2017, President Museveni allocated the ranches to three companies to make way for large-scale farming. The companies involved are Kiryandongo Sugar Factory, Ajilis Partners, a US firm, and Great Season.
On July 17, 2017, President Museveni wrote a letter instructing the companies to find a long-term solution to resolve the matter amicably with the affected people. However, this did not happen, the Daily Monitor reports.
According to the Daily Monitor, Hon. Kamya noted that while the companies gave compensation, some residents have not yet received their payment.
“I therefore halt any further evictions on this land until we hold a meeting with the companies, with representatives of the affected persons,” Ms. Kamya said.
Kiryandongo Resident District Commissioner, Peter Debele, told the Daily Monitor that the land in question belonged to the government. He said people were encroaching on the government land.
He also noted that the three companies are only compensating the crops grown on the land, not buildings.
Kitwaara sub-county councilor, Mr. Stella Akiteng, accused Mr. Debele and police of conspiring with the companies to take people’s property.
Mr. Nicholas Okanga, the region LC1 chairperson, told the Daily Monitor that four people had died over the disputed land.
“People approach us, offering to pay between Shs 200,000 and Shs100,000 as compensation, and ordered us to leave our homes at gunpoint,” Mr. Okanga said.
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