UGANDA, Kyankwanzi | Real Muloodi News | Soldiers deployed at the disputed Kyankwanzi land have refused to comply with the directive issued by State Minister for Lands, Sam Mayanja, ordering them to allow more than 300 displaced residents to return to their bibanja (plots of land).
The soldiers were allegedly deployed by Patricia Alinda Nyakairima, the widow of the former army commander and Internal Affairs minister Aronda Nyakairima, who claims ownership of the three square mile piece of land.
Ms Nyakairima stated that her family rightfully acquired the land, adding that she was ready to defend it at all costs.
“This land belongs to me, nobody has authority over it, I acquired it legally,” she said.
The affected villages include Kyerere East, Kiyuni, Birama, Kyakibenje, Butikiro, Dagaza, and Kiyuni Central.
The situation arose after the eviction of the residents from the disputed land early last year.
During a meeting with the evictees and local leaders on March 2 Thursday 2023, Minister Mayanja directed them to return to their ancestral land and prepare for the planting season.
“Using the powers entrusted to me by the President and the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, I direct and order you, the suffering people to go back to your land and prepare for the new planting season,” he said on March 2.
However, some evictees who attempted to return to their bibanja in the past couple of weeks have been met with resistance from the soldiers deployed to guard the land.
Soldiers Reportedly Beat up People and Chase Them Away
Mr Leosan Ssebakunzi, the Chairperson of Gayaza Sub-County, reported that soldiers have been beating up people and chasing them away ever since the minister’s visit.
He also revealed that two women were hit by stray bullets during one of the scuffles and are still receiving treatment at Ntwetwe Health Centre IV and Mulago National Referral Hospital.
Minister Mayanja Cancels Land Titles
During the meeting with the evictees, Minister Mayanja claimed that the family of Ms Nyakairima had given her wrong information about the disputed land, portraying herself as the sole owner yet there were other landlords.
He then cancelled all land titles held by the family of the former army commander, stating that he had the power to do so as entrusted by the President and the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda.
“I, therefore, stand here to declare the cancellation of all land titles the family of Gen Nyakairima holds,” he said.
Minister Mayanja, on the other hand, said that he has met with Brig Gen Henry Isoke, the Head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, and Ms Milly Babalanda, the Minister for Presidency, and they have agreed on methods to execute his orders.
Minister Nabakooba Expresses Concern about Land Grabbing
Speaking to residents and local leaders in Kiboga District on December 14, 2022, Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba expressed her concern that some powerful government officials are directly involved in land grabbing while others are doing it through their well-connected agents.
She added that some individuals have gone ahead to grab land that accommodates government institutions with the sole aim of hoodwinking the government to use the land fund to pay them.
“Some have gone ahead to grab land that accommodates government institutions with the sole aim of hoodwinking the government to use the land fund to pay them. We have concrete information about this clandestine move and we will not allow it to happen,” Nabakooba told a gathering at the district headquarters.
The minister warned that the government would not allow this to happen and that those fueling land conflicts and evicting tenants are enemies of the ruling NRM government.
Land has become a contentious issue in many districts in Uganda, where wealthy people with land titles are evicting poor tenants from their ancestral land.
The government is pushing for land reforms to address the issue of land grabbing.
In 2013, the government enacted the Land Amendment Act, to protect tenants from being eviction by landlords.
The act required landlords to obtain court orders before evicting tenants and provided compensation for tenants who were illegally evicted.
Despite these efforts, land grabbing and evictions continue to be significant problems in the country. The Kyankwanzi land dispute is just one example of the many land conflicts that have arisen in recent years.
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