One killed, seven injured in Mubende land row

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By JOSEPHINE NNABBAALE

Angry residents in Mubende District on Friday killed one person and injured seven others for destroying their houses and property during eviction.

The residents from five villages in the east division of Mubende Municipality accused the deceased only identified as Yunusi, of heading a team of more than 200 men to evict them.
The scuffle started on Thursday when a team of about 150 men who had camped at Kambuye, one of the villages started destroying their property.
During the scuffle, residents attempted to lynch the landlord, George Kaweesi but police led by the District Police Commander, Martin Okoyo intervened and rescued him.

However, the residents vandalize Kaweesi’s car registration number UAS 978A.
Police later asked Kaweesi to withdraw all the casual labourers from the village and also halt the process of clearing the said piece of land as they resolve the dispute.
However, residents say they were surprised when they saw another group or men trying to clear their farms in attempt to force them off the disputed land.

A scuffle ensued between the residents and the casual labourers who had been deployed leading to the death of one. The injured were taken to Mubende Regional Referral Hospital for medical attention.
Although Mr Kaweesi claims he is the rightful owner of 322 acre piece of land on plots 28 , 19, 26 Block 168, Buwukula County, residents maintain that their anger was precipitated by the conduct of his casual workers whom he had deployed to destroy their crops and houses.

Mubende District Police Commander Martin Okoyo

Mubende District Police Commander Martin Okoyo talking to residents as other police officers try to calm them down

“On Monday last week Kaweesi, brought in a group of about 150 youth and put them in a camp at Kambuye village. They have been invading our homes, destroying our houses and crops. My three bed roomed brick house was razed, my two acres of banana plantation, maize garden and coffee plantations were also destroyed without any compensation,” Mr Paul Mutyaba, one of the residents at Kambuye Village said.
The DPC said since Thursday, they have been using tear gas to calm down angry tenants who were reportedly determined to shed blood.
“We are ensuring that it doesn’t go beyond this. The situation is coming back to normal as police continue to search for the labourers from their hide out,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tonny Ssemuli, the Mubende Municipality MP blamed the fracas on Mr Kaweesi whom he accused of attempting to use force to evict the tenants.

“It is very clear under our laws how a sitting tenant can be removed from land. You cannot just storm and start destroying people’s property before compensating them. That is criminal,” he said.
However, Mr Kaweesi told this journalist that he had deployed the casual workers to open boundaries and not to evict tenants as claimed.

“Those residents have been misled by their local leaders. I am really surprised that they turned rowdy and attempted to kill us,” he said.
He further noted that proper arrangements will be made to compensate the tenants before evicting them.

The disputed land covers Kambuye, Kikono, Kanseera , Kyabana and Lwensanga villages. By Thursday, at least 100 households out of the 300 owning bibanja on the disputed land had been forced out.
Mubende, which is one of the few remaining districts with vast arable land has witnessed several deadly land wrangles over the years.

Monitor.co.ug

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