Local Leaders Dispute Kyangwali Land Verification Report

3521 Views Hoima, Uganda

In short
The verification exercise followed complaints by local leaders over eviction of about 25000 residents from the parishes of Bukinda and Kasonga .The residents were evicted to give way for resettlement of about 20,000 Congolese refugees that fled fresh fighting in Eastern Congo. The verification committee was headed by Maj.Gen. Julius Oketa, head of the National Emergency Coordinating Center office of the Prime Minister.

Kyangwali Sub County leaders in Hoima district have disputed the inter-ministerial Kyangwali Refugee Settlement land verification report.
 
In October last year, the Office of the Prime Minister, instituted an inter-ministerial verification committee to among other issues re-determine the Kyangwali refugee camp boundaries and also verify claims by some residents that they owned land in the settlement camp. The committee comprised officials from Ministry of Internal Affairs, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees and those from Ministry of lands.
 
The verification exercise followed complaints by local leaders over eviction of about 25000 residents from the parishes of Bukinda and Kasonga .The residents were evicted to give way for resettlement of about 20,000 Congolese refugees that fled fresh fighting in Eastern Congo. The verification committee was headed by Maj.Gen. Julius Oketa, head of the National Emergency Coordinating Center office of the Prime Minister.
 
In the committee report findings presented to the Prime minister early this month, majority of the residents were found to have encroached on the settlement land. The report stipulated that these residents gained access to the land with the aid of local leaders.
 
But the implicated leaders dispute the report findings. Rwemera Mazirane, the Kyangwali sub county chairman has written to the Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi to dispute the report. In his April 9 letter Mazirane argued that though he was a member of the verification committee, he was left out when it came to boundary verification and ascertaining the nationality of some of the land claimants.
 
Mazirane further complains that his office was never availed a copy of the report. The local leader says he doesn’t rule out bias in the report findings and wants the verification exercise repeated.
 
// Cue In: “On my side,…
Cue Out: … were not followed”//
 
George Bashaija, the Kyangwali district councilor claims that according to the 1984 surveys, there is private land neighboring the settlement camp where the evicted residents settled.Bashaija wonders why the General Oketa committee concludes that the residents encroached on the settlement land.
 
For almost half a year now the evicted residents have been homeless and camped at the Kyangwali sub county headquarters.