Kozza LC1 Chairman says the victims of the fire are now sleeping in the thickets after their homes were destroyed.
At least 50 families whose homes were burnt last month during land clashes in Rakai district are sleeping in thickets under appalling conditions.
Last month, two businessmen Twaha Lwakaana and Zeedi Lwakaana stormed Kozza village near Mutukula town in Kakuuto sub-county and allegedly set seven houses ablaze, leaving the occupants without accommodation. The two businessmen had been attempting for some time to evict close to 200 pastoralists occupying an estimated 200 acres of land but facing resistance.
Peter Alinda, the Kozza LC1 Chairman, says the victims of the fire are now sleeping in the thickets after many of them failed to reconstruct their homes.
Alinda also says the affected families are facing shortage of basic needs like clothes, food and medical care. He says they are worried with the onset of rain; their children may suffer malarial attack.
Feresta Kagoire, a 54 year old widow, is one of the affected pastoralists. Kagoire is stranded with 8 orphans at Kozza. She says they wanted to relocate her to a church but she declined to leave for fear that the land grabbers would occupy her 2 acre piece of land in her absence.
Kagoire recounts that she had gone to dig when the businessman set her house on fire. She only managed to rescue her children but lost everything in the fire. Kagoire says she desperately needs relief because she has to start from scratch trying to fend for her children. She says she needs tarpaulin and medical supplies.
She claims that after spending two weeks sleeping in the open on top of an anthill, two of her children have fallen sick and they are undergoing treatment from Mutukula health centre.
Boaz Kanuuli, 65, is another fire victim sleeping in the open with four of his children. Kanuuli, who looks sick, says he decided to relocate his family to a thicket after failing to reconstruct his house. He says they are sleeping on mats made from grass.
Like Kagoire, Kanuuli also fears his children aged between 2 and 15 years may fall sick after mosquito bites. He says they lost everything in the fire including 600,000 shillings he had just received after selling his animal to pay fees for his children.
Kanuuli claims that after losing his money in the fire, two of his children did not sit for end of term examinations because teachers chased them away for failing to complete fees.
Miria Komugisha, the Kakuuto sub county councilor representing Lwebisagazi parish, says they asked for help from Rakai district but they have not received any response. Komugisha has accused Benon Mugabi, the LC5 Chairman, Mathias Kasamba, the Kakuuto MP, and David Kaboyo, the Rakai Resident District Commissioner (RDC), of neglecting them and conniving with land grabbers to evict them.
Komugisha says although RDC Kaboyo is mandated to resolve land disputes, he has done nothing to protect them, even when they had lived on the land for more than 50 years. She claims that instead, Kaboyo is siding with the land grabbers.
But Kaboyo says he is still investigating the origin of the land disputes and denies siding with land grabbers saying he only met them to get their side of the story.
On Friday, a crisis meeting convened to address the rising tension over the land dispute flopped and all the district leaders boycotted after the pastoralists threatened violence against them.
MP Mathias Kasamba and RDC Kaboyo say they cancelled it and they will meet them some other day.
rakai land clashes