More than 500 families from three villages in Hoima district are on the verge of being evicted from their ancestral land. The families are from the villages of Kihohoro, Kakira-Ngobye and Busanga, all in Buraru Sub County.
The eviction comes at the height of a feud with John Apollo Rwamparo, the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism over land measuring 400 hectares. The land in question was titled in 1983 in the name of Herbert Kimera Rwakiswaza, the father of Rwamparo
But area residents say that they have settled on the contested land since the 1950s without any encumbrances and are questioning circumstances under which Rwamparo is claiming its ownership.
Moses Kugonza, the Chairperson of Kihohoro village says that the matter had been resolved in 2007 when the High Court in Fort Portal ruled in favour of the residents who sought legal redress amidst similar threats. Back then, the court ordered the defendant to pay all court costs to the plaintiffs but this has never been done.
But Rwampaaro says the land legally belongs to his family which secured it in the 1970s’ and genuinely acquired its title. However, Tadeo Kyamanywa, a resident of Kakira-Ngobye village says that the eviction threats have sparked fear and anxiety amongst the residents.
To end the feud, Buraru Sub County Chairperson Robert Mwanga has asked the government to compensate Rwamparo under the land fund such that residents can have the freedom to settle on the land.
Bugahya County Member of Parliament Pius Wakabi has promised to take up the matter and called on the aggrieved residents to remain calm. He has cautioned security agencies against conniving with land grabbers to terrorize the residents saying that he had already received reports that security teams are protecting land grabbers at the expense of the sitting tenants.
But Hoima District Police Commander Ruth Tukamusima dismissed reports of police involvement in the land wrangle and promised to follow up on the matter to ascertain the security personnel involved in threatening the residents.
In April last year, leaders in the Bunyoro sub-region raised a red flag over the increasing existence of fraudulent land titles in the Bunyoro sub-region. According to the leaders, many land titles in the region were acquired fraudulently hence putting residents on the verge of being evicted, and as such, appealed
to the Ministry of Lands to intervene and cancel all the titles that were acquired fraudulently.
While in Bunyoro Kindom for the commissioning of oil roads last month, President Yoweri Museveni tasked Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja to intervene in the escalating land grabbing issues in the region and immediately give him a report so that the land grabbers are dealt with once and for all.
In February 2019 more than 500 families have evicted from their ancestral land in Kyabisagazi I and Kyabisagazi II villages in Kigorobya sub-county Hoima district. The contested land measuring 485 acres was at the centre of a dispute between Edgar Agaba, a businessman in Hoima town and more than 500 families. To date, the evicted people remain displaced.