Kyeya landlords want Kyangwali refugee settlement evictees relocated from their land

A section of more than 8,000 people evicted from Kyangwali Refugee Settlement to Kyeya Village in Kyangwali Sub-county, Kikuube District. (Photo: Gad Asaba)

The eviction of more than 8,000 people from Kyangwali Refugee Settlement land in Kikuube District has had a turn of events after some landlords claim that the evictees were settled on their land without being consulted.

The landlords now want the evictees relocated from that land.

On July 28, 2020, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) started relocating people from Bukinda land measuring 3,574 acres covering 28 villages claiming that the land belongs to Kyangwali refugee settlement.

The evictees were resettled at Kyeya village.

During a session held by the Presidential Affairs Committee of Parliament at Kyeya village in Kyangwali sub-county, Kikuube district, Seth Tayebwa, one of the landlords claimed that he owns 3.5 square miles of land but he was, however, surprised when the OPM resettled people on his land without his consent.

Audio Tayebwa on land (English)

The residents told the Members of Parliament that they were evicted from their land and allocated 2.5 acres each in a place they say is rocky and infertile besides purportedly being denied access to social services like schools and health units among others.

Mr Daniel Muhairwe, the chief petitioner and area Member of Parliament for Buhaguzi County says that relocating the people greatly affected their survival.

Audio: Muhairwe on land (English)
Ms Jessica Ababiku, Chairperson of the Presidential Affairs Committee of Parliament, in an interview with the press at Kyeya Village in Kyangwali Sub-county, Kikuube District. (Photo: Gad Asaba)

Ms Jessica Ababiku, the Chairperson of the Presidential Affairs Committee of Parliament told Kazi-njema News that the committee was in the area to assess the conditions the affected people are going through with intent to make a final report before the 10th Parliament winds up business.

Audio: Ababiku on assessment (English)

The Kikuube District Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Moses Kapolon, says that the evictees were misled and rejected government programmes aimed at improving their livelihoods.  He purported that they returned Shs2.8b to the treasury in the 2019/2020 financial year.

However, he did not disclose who misled them.

Ms Jolly Kebirungi, the Kyangwali Refugee Camp Commandant, says that the camp authorities had started the resettlement exercise but the outbreak of Covid-19 in Uganda did not allow them to make it.

However, Ms Kebirungi claimed that the camp authorities were tasked to at least provide some shelter, food and other needs to the evictees.

Audio: Kebirungi on resettlement (English)

About Kyangwali Refugee Resettlement

Part of Bukinda land in Kyangwali Sub-county, Kikuube District (Photo: Gad Asaba)

The Kyangwali refugee settlement scheme was established in 1960 when the then Omukama of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom, Sir Tito Winyi, allocated land to the government of Uganda during colonial rule.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Frederick Crawford on behalf of the government.

The land measured 13,000 hectares equivalent to 50 square miles but now the length of the land has increased to more than 74 square miles.

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