Lyantonde Farmers Accuse Finance PS of Land Grabbing Top story

2462 Views Lyantonde, Uganda

In short
Busulwa, who is also the chairperson of Lwamayongwe-Seeta-Kasana Growers Cooperative Society, accuses Muhakanizi of threatening violence against them. He accuses Muhakanizi of using soldiers to evict them from their land.

More than 100 people who were evicted from their farm land by Keith Muhakanizi, the Finance Ministry, permanent secretary in Lyantonde district, are seeking audience with President Yoweri Museveni. The disputed land, which measures about 500 acres, is found in Lwamayongwe-Seeta and Kasamba in Lyantonde Sub County.
It is home to at least 100 people, most of them cattle keepers and subsistence farmers. It also hosts a farm belonging to Lwamayongwe-Seeta-Kasana Growers Cooperative Society, which is owned by farmers. The farmers accuse Muhakanizi of fencing off their land to graze his cattle under unclear circumstances.  The farmers stormed Museveni's campaign rally at Kaliiro Grounds this afternoon demanding that he takes action against Muhakanizi.
"Please Mr. President, save our land from a Thief Muhakanizi. He has chased us and grabbed our land,'' read a placard carried by the affected farmers. "Mr. President our families are sleeping in the cold," read another placard. However, the farmers were blocked by the security of the president from accessing him.
The farmers showed URN two land titles, which they claimed confirm their ownership of the disputed land. The land titles were issued by Uganda Land Commission on 11th May 1987. Some of the affected farmers include Abu-Baker Busulwa, Geoffrey Buwambiko and Zave Muindwa.  Busulwa lost 200 acres of land. Geoffrey Buwambiko and Zave Muindwa lost 100 and 70 acres respectively.
Busulwa, who is also the chairperson of Lwamayongwe-Seeta-Kasana Growers Cooperative Society, accuses Muhakanizi of threatening them with violence and using soldiers to evict them from their land illegally. Busulwa says they want Museveni to intervene and order Muhakanizi to leave their land, adding that they haven't been able to use their land since they were evicted last year. 
He says their pleas to the Lands, Housing and Urban Development Minister, Daudi Migereko to intervene have fallen on deaf ears.  

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Geoffrey Buwambizo, another affected farmer, says his family of ten members currently lacks shelter. According to Buwambizo, despite being in possession of documents proving the ownership of his land, Muhakanizi used his powers to evict him. 

Buwambizo says since all other relevant government offices have failed to help him to regain to his land; he wants Museveni to intervene and restrain Muhakanizi.Moses Kakuru, another farmer says following his evictions, he doesn't have grazing land for his animals. He also says his family is food insecure since they didn't plant any food in the last season because they can't access their land. 

Keith Muhakanizi declined to explain how he acquired this disputed land when contacted by URN on phone. He simply said the affected people should go to court if they feel aggrieved. Sulaiman Tuguragara Matojo, the Lyantonde Resident District Commissioner told URN that he is aware of the concern of the farmers and advised them to go to court. According to Matojo, Lyantonde district is rife with land conflicts, some of which turn violent.


About the author

Edward Bindhe
Bindhe prides himself on being a part of the society he writes about. He believes there is no way a journalist can understand his society unless it considers him a part of it. This is why he is dedicated to investigating the challenges of the "little person."

Bindhe says, "My work reflects the Uganda Radio Network unique approach to news." Not many Ugandan journalists would consider or even notice the re-emergence of Water Hyacinth on a lake. Bindhe does.

Truant children will attract Bindhe's attention until he gets to the bottom of their truancy: poverty and the need to work to earn bread for their families. These are the kinds of stories Bindhe is often after.

Edward Bindhe is the Masaka URN bureau chief. Rakai, Lwengo, Lyantonde, Kalangala, Mpigi, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi and Sembabule districts fall under his docket. He has been a URN staff member since 2009.

A Mass Communication graduate from Uganda Christian University, Bindhe started practising journalism in 2008 as a reporter for Radio Buddu in Masaka district.