Katunguru Residents Threaten Boycott of All Elections Over Land

2276 Views Kasese, Uganda

In short
UWA is facing land disputes in the fishing villages of Katunguru, Kasenyi, Hamukungu and Kahendero along L. George, and another bitter land conflict in Ngoko and Kyabatukura areas of Kasese district neighboring Kibale National Park.

Residents of Katunguru landing site in L. Katwe sub-county in Kasese district have decided to boycott all the stages of elections if government does not come out clearly to resolve their land issues. The unanimous decision has affected the National Resistance Movement (NRM) village and parish elections early this week. 
On Monday, NRM members in the landing site boycotted elections in the LC 1 primaries, accusing government of failing to prevail over the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to give them back their land.
The residents say that while demarcating the Queen Elizabeth National Park in 1998, UWA extended the boundaries to the community land. By the time of the demarcation, Katunguru landing site had a population of about 1500 people, but has now increased to 4000.
The Katunguru Land Committee Chairperson, Ivan Kachanchu says that they shall not participate in any elections until government has addressed their land problem with UWA.
Kacanchu says the residents accuse UWA of having tempered with the land demarcations that were put in 1952 as Kazinga National Park, and renamed Queen Elizabeth National Park two years later to commemorate a visit by Queen Elizabeth 11.
Julius Bwambale Lubowa, one of the residents accused UWA of continuing to extend the boundaries in favour of the animals without regard for the human population. 
Kasese district NRM administrative secretary, Masitaki Buduwe, says they are waiting for a response from the Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Lands before a program for elections can be set for the area.
UWA is facing land disputes with communities in the fishing villages of Katunguru, Kasenyi, Hamukungu and Kahendero along L. George, and another bitter land conflict in Ngoko and Kyabatukura areas of Kasese district neighboring Kibale National Park.
Nelson Guma, the Area Manager Queen Elizabeth Conservation Area, refused to comment on the issue saying it had gone political. The Resident District Commissioner, Rtd Maj. James Mwesigye advised the residents in Katunguru to be patient because the process to handle their problem is going on. Mwesigye says that Tourism Minister, Maria Mutagambwa was supposed to be in Kasese district at the end of last month to acquaint herself with the matter. 
Boaz Kafuda, the Busongora South Member of Parliament says they have retrieved the 1952 maps from the Department of Lands and Survey at Entebbe, but government has delayed to secure a surveyor to identify the original boundaries according to the coordinates.

 

About the author

Thembo Kahungu
Thembo Kahungu is interested in journalism that changes lives. A recent example is when a suspect in state prosecutor Joan Kagezi was held longer than the law states. Kahungu is proud to note that it was his follow up on Geoffrey Kato's unlawful detention that led to the freedom of the boda boda rider.

Previously based in Kasese, Kahungu has been reposted to Hoima town. Kahungu is now the Uganda Radio Network Hoima bureau chief.

Kahungu has been a practicing journalist since 2007. He was a reporter for Radio Messiah and Kasese Guide Radio. He was also the Kasese Daily Monitor freelance writer. He has also been a teacher at Liberty College of Management and Journalism in Kasese district.

Kahungu is deeply interested in investigative journalism. Kahungu has developed a big interest in covering issues to do with Oil, Gas and Mining after attending a fellowship in Ghana in October 2015 under the sponsorship of Natural Resource Governance Institute.