Katanga Slum Evictees Return to the Disputed Land

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Residents of Katanga slum in Kampala, who were recently evicted from Busia zone in Wandegeya, have gone back to their disputed land. The slum dwellers were ordered to leave Katanga following a ruling by the High Court which declared Makerere University the rightful owner of a large section of the Katanga valley. Early this year, court declared that several plots of land in the Katanga Valley are legally owned by Makerere University. It said mailo land titles of seven plots located on Kitante North Road were fraudulently created and sold to settlers in the valley, creating one of the largest slums in Kampala. Makerere University plans to build a hostel, a library and a university centre with conference facilities on the land. But construction work stalled after William Jjansi Ssendagala, one of the oldest residents of Katanga sought a new court decision on the matter. He claims that the land under dispute was given to his great-great grandfather in 1895 in an agreement between George Wilson, the deputy commissioner of the colonial Imperial British East Africa Company and Buganda Katikiro, Apollo Kaggwa. Some evictees have returned back in the area. The barbed wire that was erected around the disputed plot of land has been pulled, paving way for the construction of new structures. Aisha Nakku, one of the evictees says she has decided to build a permanent house after her semi-permanent house was razed down during the eviction. Nansubuga a landlord in the area says that the eviction affected her business because it's difficult to get tenants for fear of being evicted. George Balikowa, says that the former evictees must be compensated for the properties they lost during the eviction process. He says that several evictees have resolved to stay on the land until they are compensated. //Cue in: iThese days # Cue out: #we are Ugandans.i// During a meeting between the university authorities, officials from the Ministry of Education and local leaders in Katanga, held in April, the lands minister Daniel Omara Atubo, said Government and Makerere University should provide a resettlement package to the squatters who are being evicted from the disputed land. But Prof. Livingstone Lubobi, the University Vice Chancellor said the squatters may not be compensated immediately because there is no budget for the resettlement package.

 

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