UGANDA, Masaka | Real Muloodi News | The Minister for Presidency, Milly Babirye Babalanda, has suspended Ronald Katende, the Masaka Resident City Commissioner, over allegations of failing to execute a presidential directive regarding land evictions.
It is claimed that Katende aided the eviction of a family from their ancestral land in Kasijagirwa Village, Kimaanya-Kabonera Municipality in Masaka City, without following proper procedures.
Asha Nakanwagi, 87, and Teo Nabukeera, two members of the evicted family, have accused Katende of colluding with two wealthy businessmen, Francis Mbuga and another individual only identified as Kakeeto, in the eviction process.
According to Nakanwagi, they repeatedly visited Katende’s office to seek intervention but to no avail.
Instead, Katende asked them to vacate their land because they were in a dispute with wealthy individuals they couldn’t defeat.
“We have frequented his [Katende] office pleading for his intervention in vain. He instead asked us to vacate our land because we were fighting with rich people whom we couldn’t defeat,” said Ms Nakanwagi.
Nakanwagi also accused the Masaka Chief Magistrate, Sylvia Nvanungi, of making a ruling on the matter without visiting the disputed land.
Despite presenting evidence of their ownership of the 6.5-acre piece of land, which was bequeathed to Nakanwagi by her late father, the court still ordered their eviction.
Nabukeera reported that since the eviction, they have been sleeping in the cold, which puts their lives in danger. One of their relatives, Leonard Nsamba, was also arrested on orders from the RCC for stepping on the disputed land.
“Why would a magistrate decide a land matter without going on ground to see what is there? Despite the evidence we presented about the ownership of our land, the court still said the land doesn’t belong to us,” Ms Nabukeera said.
“Whoever steps on that land, he or she faces arrest and one of our relatives (Leonard Nsamba) was arrested on orders of the RCC and he was strong pillar in fighting for our interests on this land,” she added.
Another occupant of the land, Peace Nakalyango, accused Katende of directly telling her to vacate the land and claiming that they wouldn’t be able to defeat Mbuga, who had more money.
“I went to his office to seek help but what he told me indicated that he was already biased and we would not get any help from him. He told me to leave the land for Mbuga because we shall not defeat him since he has got a lot of money,” Ms Nakalyango said.
Nakanwagi also reported that they were ordered to exhume the remains of their deceased relatives and relocate them elsewhere.
In response to the allegations, Babalanda, who oversees the RCCs and RDCs, ordered Katende to step aside to allow for investigations into his conduct.
“We are going to investigate whether he went through the rightful procedures after receiving an eviction order from court and whether he wrote to the Land Minister or not. If found culpable, action will be taken,” Ms Babalanda said.
The investigation will determine if Katende followed proper procedures after receiving an eviction order from the court and if he wrote to the Land Minister, and if he is found guilty, action will be taken.
In defence, Katende, who has served in the position for 11 months, stated that he was merely enforcing a lawful court order and did nothing wrong.
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