The Government has been ordered to remove the Basongora Pastrolists it illegally resettled on land belonging to Bakonzo cultivators
High court has ordered government to remove the pastoralists it illegally resettled on land belonging to 289 Bakonzo cultivators in Kasese district. In 2006, government resettled pastoralists on about measuring 2050 acres of land in Bukangara and Rwehingo in Nyakiyumbu sub-county used the cultivators.
It also deployed police on the disputed land to protect the pastoralists from the angry cultivators. About 10 people were killed and property worth millions of shillings destroyed during the clashes between settlers and cultivators. As a result, Bakonzo cultivators dragged government to court demanding for their land.
This morning, Justice Owinyi Dolo ruled in favor of the cultivators saying that they proved beyond reasonable doubt that they are the right owners of the disputed land. He ordered the cultivators to repossess their land immediately. He blasted government for resettling the pastoralists on the land even when it was aware of the boundary lines separating the cultivators and pastoralists.
The boundary lines were drawn in 1992 by the former Kasese district administrator, Peter Lokeris. The Court also ordered government to pay damages of Shillings 10 million and Shs 2 million punitive damages to each of the 289 cultivators. Justice Dolo also slapped a permanent injunction, restricting the government from trespassing on the land.
In 2007, the Government degazzetted Hima Army land, Mubuku Prisons land and Rwehingo to settle the landless pastoralists and cultivators. In 2006, more than 1,000 pastoralists with 10,000 head of cattle were evicted from Virunga National Park in eastern DR Congo. The pastoralists then settled in Queen Elizabeth National Park until they were forcefully removed and resettled in the disputed land.
basongora-bakonzo land dispute
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