I’m a victim of injustice – Alam

By Ephraim Kasozi

Kampala. Businessman Abid Alam has refuted fresh accusations of torture and injuries inflicted on hundreds of people in the violent eviction of families in Nalutuntu Sub-county, Mubende District.
Appearing before the land commission probe chaired by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire last week, the businessman denied allegations of mounting road blocks, illegal arrests and violence against the occupants living on a 500-acre piece of land.

Blames politicians
“I am a victim of injustice in this matter, we bought land peacefully and we want to do business peacefully but the situation is created by politicians,” Mr Alam said.
It is alleged that Mr Alam through his Wamala Farm Limited deployed armed personnel to aid him in the forceful acquisition of large tracts of land without following the due process.

He said the deployment of armed personnel was to guard the machinery at Kika Village against attack.
Mr Alam also defended actions by his agents, saying any assault is done in self defence.

The residents displayed injuries and wounds they allegedly suffered as a result of beatings and shooting.
The businessman is accused of committing atrocities during evictions, including arrests, torture and detention of occupants on the disputed land in four villages at Bukoba, Kika, Kakungube and Bukompe in Nalutuntu Sub-county.

Accused of making meagre payments in compensation, Mr Alam said the assessment for valuation was done by the Resident District Commissioner, adding that he was advised by his lawyers to petition the Constitutional Court to challenge the mandate of the commission of inquiry into land matters.

The businessman also admitted that he is in contact with a wife of an unidentified high-ranking army officer who told him not to sell the land under inquiry.

Mr Alam, who amused the probe commission when he asked to call the lady on his mobile phone line, testified that the contact followed the woman’s request to cultivate on part of the land.

The commission also heard that Mr Alam, who is accused of presenting falsehoods, has since mortgaged the land title in the bank to acquire a loan despite the dispute.

Last year, the commission of inquiry ordered for a status quo to be maintained on the disputed 12 square mile land in Nalutuntu until investigations into the complaints of violent evictions against Mr Alam are concluded.

The order was issued after Mr Alam was quizzed over the 2006-2008 violent evictions, destruction of property and alleged murder of three people.
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