OPM Resettles Kyangwali Camp Evictees

2548 Views Hoima, Uganda

In short
Speaking to journalists on Monday, Hoima Resident District Commissioner Godfrey Nyakahuma said the evictees were transported back to their areas of origin on Saturday by the OPM in line with the committee recommendations.

The Office of the Prime Minister-OPM has returned more than 1000 people who were evicted from Kyangwali Refugee Settlement to their original homes. In August 2013, government evicted the affected people from Bukinda parish accusing them of encroaching on the settlement land.
 
However, the affected families decided to pitch camp at Kyangwali Sub county headquarters awaiting the verdict of their petition challenging their eviction claiming, they legally acquired the land outside the refugee settlement.  As a result, the OPM set up an inter-ministerial verification committee led by Major General Julius Oketta, the Emergency Relief Coordinator to establish the claims of the residents.
 
In the report issued in January 2014, the committee established that residents settled on the refugee camp land and their eviction was genuine. The committee noted that, the evictees should not be compensated since they settled on government land illegally. However, the committee recommended that minimal assistance should be given to help the evicted people return to their original homes.
Speaking to journalists on Monday, Hoima Resident District Commissioner Godfrey Nyakahuma said the evictees were transported back to their areas of origin on Saturday by the OPM in line with the committee recommendations. Nyakahuma explained that each family was given 24kgs of posho and 12kg of beans on top of transport money to help them connect to their villages.

//Cue in: "Bullet seven....
Cue out: ...brought them food."//


The evictees were taken to Kyankwanzi, Kibaale, Kyenjojo, Kabarole, Bundibugyo, Mbarara and Hoima districts. Solomon Oskasani, the Hoima Refugee Desk Officer, who coordinated the resettlement exercise, says ten trucks were used to transport the residents and the exercise ran for a day. But the return of the residents has triggered concern from local leaders who claim they were taken to unknown destinations.


Rwemera Mazirane, the Kyangwali Sub county LC3 Chairperson claims that residents were just dumped in areas which are not their homes.He accuses the Office of the Prime Minister for not heeding his call of having the residents returned to their land, insisting it was outside the settlement camp and genuinely acquired.


Mazirane was mentioned in the General Oketta committee report, as among local leaders that aided residents to acquire government land. Daniel Muhairwe, the Kiziranfumbi sub county district councilor rushed to the social network Facebook to claim "people who were evicted from Kyangwali (Bukinda) that have been seeking refuge at Kyangwali sub county headquarters have been forcefully loaded on trucks to an unknown place. The operation has been headed by Muwanika and Drdc Ambrose".

But Nyakahuma referred to the local politicians as politically bankrupt, saying it was under the residents' direction that the resettlement team was able to know their villages of origin.

//Cue in: "People were....
Cue out: ....absolutely rubbish."//

The residents were offloaded at either sub county headquarters or police posts near their homes of origin. After their eviction last year some of the residents confessed to have come from as far as Kyenjojo and Bundibugyo after learning of the available land in Kyangwali.
Many of them claimed they sold off their land at home to come and acquire pieces in Kyangwali, ignorant that it was government land.