Hunger, poverty strike Lake Albert evictees

Ms Everce Bujune Ateenyi speaks to this website about the problems being encountered after government evicted them from Bikunyu landing site at Kibiro Fishing Village in Kigorobya Sub-county, Hoima District . Photo: David Livingstone Ayebale

Hunger and poverty have hit some people who were evicted from various illegal landing sites at Kibiro fishing village in Kigorobya Sub-county, Hoima District.

Talking to this website, some evictees say they lost their property including household items, poultry and goats during the impromptu eviction exercise conducted by the police and the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers in May this year.

Ms Everce Bujune Ateenyi, who is among the evictees from Bikunyu landing site at Kibiro fishing village says her goats and fowl drowned into Lake Albert as her grandchildren relocated them to Kyabarangwa landing site.

Being in her late 50s, Ms Bujune wonders how government declared Bikunyu an illegal landing site yet its existence is older than her age.

She also wonders why government caters for refugees leaving the nationals to suffer.

“When the Alur flee war in [DR] Congo come here [Uganda], they are assisted. They are given saucepans, blankets and others. Mzee (President Yoweri Museveni) gives them everything. But what are you doing for us?

“I lost eight goats, 20 ducks and 30 chickens when my young grandchildren were relocating them to another landing site. We don’t have any food. Help us with food. We don’t have any shelter. Help us with shelter. We are spending nights under trees, she says.

Download audio: Bujune on suffering (Runyoro/Rutooro)
Mr Leeji Kiiza, a fisherman narrating to our reporter the ordeal the evictees are going through after government evicted them from Bikunyu landing site at Kibiro Fishing Village in Kigorobya Sub-county, Hoima District. Credit: David Livingstone Ayebale

Mr Leeji Kiiza, another evictee says that ever since government stopped them from fishing for commercial purposes, the Lakers are now grappling with food shortage for their families.

He wants government to come to their aid since the fishing community cannot practice arable farming at the lake region given its aridity and extreme sandy soils that cannot support food production.

“We are facing a problem of having our houses demolished that we must relocate to another place since it is government order. Yes, Kyabarangwa is our area but I was born here [Bikunyu] and I am a resident of Kibiro. We hear that we have to leave this place because of Covid-19 while others say that enemies may come and kill us here. We don’t know! That is government’s order and those soldiers might be knowing.

“Let government help us. Do you see any crop gardens here? He asks.

Download audio: Kiiza on suffering (Kiswahili)

Although the Kigorobya County Member of Parliament who is also Public Service State Minister, Mr David Karubanga, promised to approach the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) over the matter last month, until now he has never reported back to his suffering constituents for any development.

Bikunyu, Songagagi and Kyamwaana are some of the landing sites at Lake Albert in Kigorobya sub-county government closed for being ungazetted.

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