UGANDA, Wakiso | Real Muloodi News | Bibanja holders in Wakiso District have accused police of harassing locals who are unwilling to allow an illegal survey of their land in Busiro Block 53, Namayumba Sub-County, measuring 1,044.9 acres.
The residents have expressed concern over the presence of muscular men, referred to as bouncers, who are intimidating them into allowing the illegal surveying of their pieces of land to take place.
The land in question is the estate of the late Gabudyeri Lubajja, which has been at the centre of a family land conflict since last year when private land dealers allegedly embarked on demarcating land on orders of some people claiming to be among the administrators of the land, putting about 1,000 bibanja holders at risk of being evicted.
On December 20, 2022, officials from Wakiso District and the Ministry of Lands held a meeting with the two feuding families and bibanja holders.
During the meeting, the Lands minister, Ms Judith Nabakooba, halted all demarcation activities on the disputed land as investigations regarding rightful landowners continue, while permitting the bibanja holders to continue utilising the land.
However, the residents say surveyors have continued to survey the land, despite Ms Nabakooba’s directive.
The occupants further claim that the police are conniving with land grabbers to gain control of their property.
Mr Pascal Kitooke, one of the affected tenants, disclosed that his elder brother, Mr Godfrey Mayerere, went into hiding in late March after the officer-in-charge of Namayumba Police Station, Ms Moreen Kobutungi, summoned him to her office to face allegations of threatening an individual named ‘Alisa’.
However, Mr Kitooke claimed that ‘Alisa’ is not a known resident of Busamba Village, and the residents allege that the police are working with land grabbers to intimidate bibanja holders.
Officer Kobutungi denied summoning any bibanja holders. “I have not summoned anyone to my office,” she said.
Mr Kitooke said that the trouble started when his brother allowed people who owned plots within the farm to grade the access road.
However after the grading began, some unknown people claiming to be landlords, accompanied by bouncers, prevented the grading exercise, causing confusion among the bibanja holders.
“During the meeting, we had with officials from the Ministry of Lands and leaders from Wakiso District, the Lands minister Judith Nabakooba said bibanja owners can continue utilitilising their land as investigations regarding rightful land owners go on,” Mr Kitooke said.
“We were surprised to see people, unknown to our village but claiming to be landlords coming with bouncers to stop the grading exercise,” Mr Kitooke added.
The police deny any allegations of harassment. Notwithstanding, the locals are calling for investigations to expose the truth behind the land grabbers.
The Wakiso District Resident Commissioner, Ms Justine Mbabazi, was unaware of any police harassment against bibanja holders, but said she received a call from the residents about bouncers in Busamba Village.
The District Police Commander (DPC), Mr Hassan Katumba Mugerwa, urged anyone harassed by police to visit his office to understand the problem.
“If anyone is saying they are harassed by police, let them come to my office so that we understand the problem,” he said.
The late Lubajja’s family has been embroiled in a land conflict over ownership of the land in question since last year, leaving over 1,000 bibanja holders in uncertainty. The case is currently in court.
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