President Yoweri Museveni has halted the establishment of a sugarcane project in Lwabyata Sub County by Tirupati Development Uganda limited, an Asian owned firm saying it will displace thousands of residents.
President Yoweri Museveni has halted the establishment of a sugarcane project in Lwabyata Sub County by Tirupati Development Uganda limited, an Asian owned firm saying it will displace thousands of residents. He issued the directive on Thursday during his visit to Lwabyata Sub County to get first hand information about the project. In 2010, Tirupati Development Uganda Limited bought four square miles of land in Lwabyata Sub County from Charles Musisi to grow sugarcane.
The decision by Musisi to sell the land to the company didn’t go down well with more than 20,000 residents occupying it. They vowed to block the project unless they are compensated to leave the land. They also petitioned Museveni to intervene in the matter and stop their proposed eviction from the land. On Thursday, Museveni rushed to Lwabyata Sub County convened a public hearing with the residents over the proposed project.
During the meeting, Martin Ssekabira, the LC 3 chairman of Lwabyata Sub County informed Museveni that it was unacceptable to evict more than 20,000 people from the land to pave way for sugarcane growing. He asked Museveni to cancel the land title offered to Tirupati and find alternative land for the investor instead of displacing thousands of residents. Christian Ssenyondo, one of the affected residents explained to Museveni that he has lived on the land for 63-years, and invested on it.
He accused Musisi of soliciting for money from them to give them land titles for their plots but instead went ahead and sold of it without giving them a refund. 66-year-old Livingstone Kakooza, another affected residents accused Tirupati of trying to evict them without paying them any compensation yet many of them have nowhere to go to. He asked Museveni to ask the investor to back off their land and order Musisi to give them the land titles they paid for to ensure their stability.
Museveni explained to the residents that he visited the area to ascertain the truth after getting conflicting reports about the project and how many people were likely to be affected once it takes off. He said that after touring the area he had established that the area was densely populated and ordered the investor to back of the land until government finds alternative land to relocate the project.
He ordered the residents to continue tilling the land but rejected the demand by residents to be given land titles saying it was not necessary provided it is protected from being grabbed. Residents welcomed the presidential directive saying it had saved them from being evicted. Immediately, after the public hearing with the residents Museveni held a closed door meeting with officials of Tirupati.
tirupati development (u) limited
eviction of people and land grabbing
president yoweri suspends sugarcane growing