Hoima Land Evictees Return As District Officials Clash

1475 Views Hoima, Uganda

In short
The dispute between Tibagwa and the residents had raged on for almost two decades. Despite the fact that they were evicted by police and their houses demolished, the residents are not about to give way. They have returned to the land.

Residents of Rwamutonga village in Bugambe Sub County in Hoima district who were evicted from a disputed chunk of land have returned. More than 200 people were evicted following the 500 acre piece of land after Masindi high court ruled in favor of Joshua Tibagwa. The dispute between Tibagwa and the residents had raged on for almost two decades.

Despite the fact that the were evicted by police and their houses demolished, the residents are not about to give way. They have returned to the land. Reverend Canon Martin Ogeni, an elder and leader of the residents says they are going nowhere. According to Ogeni by Tuesday evening many of the affected residents had erected make-shift structures besides their demolished houses, ready to settle.

In a telephone interview Ogeni said they will not leave since this is their ancestral land. He says they are ready to die on the land. Although Bernard Akakwansa, the Hoima District Police Commander earlier said he had deployed policemen on the contested land, Ogeni wonders how police would evict them without a new court order this time.
 
Tibagwa has not yet commented on the development as he couldn’t be reached by our reporter. The evictions appear to have divided district officials. On Monday, George Tinkamanyire Bagonza, the Hoima district LC V chairperson condemned what he described as inhumane eviction of residents. Ambrose Mwesigye, the Hoima Deputy Resident District Commissioner maintains that the rule of law must be respected even when it comes to land acquisition.

Mwesigye says if court issued an order, there is no way it could have been neglected.

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Although there are claims that some people had been shot and injured, Akankwasa says no one was injured during the eviction. He reveals that only rubber bullets were fired to scare away resistant residents who wanted to attack the police with arrows and machetes.

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