80-year-old Masindi politician accuses China Railway No.5 of land encroachment

Workers of China Railway No.5 construct the Masindi-Kigumba Road.

Former Pakanyi Sub-county LC3 Chairman in Masindi District, William Kyomya Rumbeiha, accuses China Railway No.5- a company polishing the Kigumba-Masindi-Hoima-Kyenjojo Road of purportedly encroaching on his land.

The 80-year-old resident of Hanga Village in Pakanyi Sub-county alleges that the company encroached on his 11.5 acres of land against the legally agreed on lease of 3.9 acres of rock blasted for upgrading the road from gravel to bituminous standard.

The ex-leader claims that the construction company breached the agreement they signed on May 23, 2018, when it encroached on his piece of land by extending its enclosure for a quarry, dumping, production and storing areas for material being used in the construction of the road.

He says that the two parties agreed on Shs170m for the 3.9 acres of rock but now they have extended farther to blow up the approximately 16 acres of the same rock, which, according to him is worth Shs3.5b.

Rumbeiha who led Pakanyi sub-county from 1986-2016 says that his efforts to stop the company from encroaching on his land have always fallen on deaf ears.

“When I asked the company why they were fencing the land which we never agreed on; I was told that it would be hard for them to erect a fence in the middle of the rock unless they fenced the whole land. But after sometime, I saw them blasting the whole rock something which is unfair,” he says.

The act coerced Rumbeiha to seek legal redress at Masindi High Court in 2019. But court deputy registrar, Simon Kintu Zirintusa, ruled in favour of the Chinese company and ordered the litigant to pay Shs900,000 as costs to the defendant.

“I rushed to court asking it to put a permanent injunction on and restrain China Railway No.5 and its agents from illegally blasting the rock and continued trespass and encroachment on my land but in vain. I am suffering in a government I fought for. I have tried all relevant offices but I have failed to get justice,” he laments.

However, when contacted, John Karuhanga, the Public Relations Officer, China Railway No.5 dismissed Rumbeiha’s claims as “lies” saying the entire business was transacted genuinely.

“The company followed all the required procedures and compensated him. But we were disappointed to see him drag us to court. We went to court and won the case and we are demanding him Shs900,000 which court ordered him to pay us.”

Karuhanga says that the company still has a three-year-running contract with Rumbeiha ending in June next year.

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