New land evictions tricks exposed

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MUBENDE. Land grabbers have come up with means of shoddy land eviction with the help corrupt police and judicial officers. According to the Land Act 2010, tenants are mandated to pay an annual ground of Shs1000 to Shs40,000 depending on location of the land. A land lord can only evict a tenant after securing a court order for failure to pay rent for a year.

“Land lords hiding away from us. In our village, we have collected his money for now three years but he is nowhere to be seen. In the neighboring village it happened in a similar way and over 200 families were evicted. We are living in fear of being chased from our homes any time,” said Mr Peter Kato a farmer in Kasanda, Mubende district.

We tried to take the money to the sub county but we were told there was no account to deposit such cash, said Mr Kato during a meeting of Buganda Land Board (BLD), Mubende district officials on land evictions. Organized by Action Aid Uganda (AAU) and Uganda Consortium on Corporate Accountability (UCCA), the event in Mubende marked the opening of the land awareness week Monday June 4th, 2018. The week’s celebration with the theme, “securing land rights for social economic transformation” had several outreaches. Several communities were educated about their land rights.

Mr Kibuuka Amooti, the chairman, Mudende district confirmed the new trend of evictions.

“Mubende has one the highest land wrangles cases in the country and this is how the greedy rich grab land from peasants,” he said.

Mr Kibuuka further explained, “Some land lords go to evict tenants in provocation. The tenants at times armed with pangers react by attacking the land owners that prompt police to arrest the attackers. By the time they come out of jail their land is taken with the help of some corrupt government officials.”

Mubende District Police Commander (DPC) Mr Martin Okoyo confirmed rampant incidents. “More than ninety percent of cases reported to police in the district are of land wrangles,” he said.

Mr Denis Obbo, the spokesperson, Ministry of Lands and Housing advised tenants who fail locate their land lords for payment to write to Grade 1 Magistrate and copied to DPC and the local councils explaining their stand.

“In case time comes when the land lord wants to evict you for none payment, this letter will be of help to cover you,” he said.

Mr Kyewalabye Male, the managing director, Buganda Land Board, called on government to help the needy survey their land to curb land grabbing.

“Land without documentation is a disaster, government should help communities secure land boundaries,” he said.

We shall condom any illegal land evictions because we do not support it, noted Mr Male.

Mubende, acting Resident District Commissioner, Ms Kiiza Eveylne called for educating people of their land rights.

“Land should have been a blessing has become a curse. Despite the provision of the land fund, some land lords are not willing to sell their land to government,” she said.

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