Fresh Land Violence Displaces Kassanda Residents

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In short
The violence broke out when residents as residents went looking for food from their abandoned crop fields. They say they were attacked by security guards attached to a sugarcane estate belonging to the Alam Group of Companies and Hussein Kavuma, the National Resistance Movement Chairperson of Kiganda Sub county. During the scuffle, the residents grabbed and confiscated two belonging to the security guards attached to the sugarcane Estate.

Fresh violence has displaced residents of Bukoba Village in Nalutuntu Sub County in Kassanda district.

     

The violence broke out when residents went searching for food from their abandoned crop fields. They say they were attacked by security guards attached to a sugarcane estate belonging to the Alam Group of Companies and Hussein Kavuma, the National Resistance Movement Chairperson of Kiganda Sub County.


During the scuffle, the residents grabbed and confiscated two guns belonging to the security guards attached to the sugarcane Estate.      

     

Residents accuse Alam group of companies and Kavuma of colluding to evict them from their ancestral land in Kiika, Bukoba and Kabatangale wards.     

     

Charles Bukenya Mutaawe, the Bukoba LC1 Village chairperson says the incident is an escalation of violence which started over Easter season. He says the violence left one resident Jackson Birihabwa dead and more residents displaced.        

   

Bukenya says so far 430 residents have fled their homes for refuge in Bukompe Primary School where they are living with diminishing supply of food. He says the land in contest measures more than 240 hectares in Kassanda district.       

   

Appearing before the Land Commission of Inquiry on Friday, Bukenya described how the dispute which began way back in 2007 has affected the livelihoods of the people and destroyed their places of worships.     

     

The Commission has summoned Kavuma twice to appear and explain his roles in the conflict. His lawyer John B. Kakooza of KAM Advocates wrote to the Commission that his client was unwell to appear.             

The Land Commission chairperson Catherine Bamugemereire ruled that the NRM chairperson Hussein Kavuma be summoned to explain the recent disruptions in the livelihoods of the people on May 29th.             

In 2007, residents petitioned President Yoweri Musevei to intervene in the conflict shortly after Alam Group of Companies started setting up a sugarcane plantation in the area leading to evictions of many. The President assigned his then vice President Professor Gilbert Bukenya to mediate the conflict which is yet to end.       
 

In 2017, the residents again petitioned the Land Commission of Inquiry to investigate the dispute as it escalated with more demands for land for the Sugar cane estate. They told the Commission that there are new players joining the conflict including Hussein Kavuma threatening their survival and ownership.  




 

About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.