Landlords face arrest over eviction of Bibanja holders


The Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters has ordered the arrest two landlords in connection with the alleged eviction of people in Mubende District.
The petitioners, who are Bibanja owners, accuse Ms Milly Naava Namutebi and Mr Blasio Musoke Lule of destroying their property worth millions of shillings in Buwekula Sub-county.
“It has come to our attention that the two persons have not responded to commission summons, as a result, the commission hereby issue a warrant of arrest which against and it will take immediate effect,” Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, the commission chairperson, said yesterday.

The orders followed a submission in which the commission lead lawyer, Mr Ebert Byenkya, said the duo had declined to respond to witness summons.

Both Ms Namutebi and Mr Musoke are jointly accused with a senior staff officer in charge of administration at Mubende Rehabilitation Centre, Maj Eric Kigamboha, over forceful evictions, destruction of property and threatening violence to residents in three villages in Buwekula between 2010 and 2015. The number of evictees are yet to be specified.
Ms Namutebi, a retired primary school teacher, has since been arrested and subjected to investigations for allegedly forging documents that were used to evict hundreds of people from the land.

She is also accused of forging letters of administration of the estate, giving false evidence, illegal evictions and land grabbing.

At the public hearing, Mr Herman Byakatonda, one of the evictees, testified that currently seven people, including two of his siblings, are in prison over concocted charges of alleged trespass brought by Ms Namutebi.
Mr Byakatonda said several people have been charged with cases of allegedly threatening violence and criminal trespass on orders of Ms Namutebi and Maj Kigamboha.

“When we appeared before the land inquiry, we were asked to maintain the status quo except harvesting of our food but after the commission orders, Ms Namutebi and Maj Kigamboha ordered us never to step on the land nor fetch water from the well on the disputed land,” he said.

He also said they were called by two ministers Persis Namuganza (State Minister for Lands) and Ms Benny Bugembe (State Minister for Kampala) who took them to President Museveni for compensation.
Mr Byakatonda amused the commission when he said after the meeting, the President sent a team to the ground to verify but no help has been accorded to them.

“To our surprise, Ms Namutebi’s actions have worsened with destruction of our plantations. We cannot access our food, we request that as long as the investigations are ongoing, Ms Namutebi should be stopped from accessing the disputed land,” he said.

Sitting at the National Records and Archives Centre in Kampala, the Commission is inquiring into the law, processes and procedures in land acquisition, land administration, and management in the country.

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