KYOTERA-UGANDA/NEWSDAY: Government has repossessed the former Sango-bay sugar estates in Kabira, Mutukula, and Kakuuto sub-counties in Kyotera district, to pave way for oil palm tree growing in the area.
Close to 10,000 residents have been forcefully evicted from the 247 square miles of land that formally belonged to Sango-Bay Sugar Estates Limited.
A combined force of both the army and police commanded by Assistant Commissioner of Police Godfrey Matte has camped in the area to oversee the ongoing eviction.
Matte indicates that they are implementing a directive issued by the Ministry of Lands, which instructed the occupants to vacate the land to pave way for the project.
Last month, the State Minister for Lands Sam Mayanja visited the land and gave a one-month ultimatum to residents to vacate. He said that some of the occupants had illegally acquired certificates of titles over government land.
Matte says that they have orders to clear the land such that it can be handed over to the investor who is going to implement the project on behalf of the government.
He says that although some of the occupants conformed to the instructions and freely moved out the land, there are however those that remained reluctant calling for forceful eviction.
Hajj Moses Ddumba, the Kyotera Resident District Commissioner says for quite some time, they have been appealing to the occupants about the takeover for a public project.
He indicates that the ultimatum issued to the residents expired early this month but some of the occupants had remained reluctant even after losing a court case.
Ddumba says that out of 10,000 residents that have been utilizing the land, they have identified 300 people who were bonafide occupants and that the government is working on modalities of compensating them.
Henry Mugabo, a councilor for Luziga Parish to Mutukula town council who is among the affected residents has blamed the security for destroying the residents’ property.
“Government would have allocated us at least a square mile off the land, to resettle all these people who are now left with no alternatives. We have been using this land for many years since the collapse of the sugar estate followed the expulsion of initial owners- the Asians in 1972,” he argues.
He argues that arbitrary eviction of residents is also put at stake because it has no social security that would be provided by the residents.
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