Minister directs investigation into encroachment on Hoima Sugar land

Lands State Minister, Dr Samuel Mayanja (in yellow tie) in Kikuube District. (Photo: Gad Asaba)

Lands State Minister, Dr Samuel Mayanja, has directed the District Security Committee to investigate circumstances under which people encroached on the land belonging to Hoima Sugar Ltd in the contested part of Bugoma forest in Kikuube District.

His directive follows an eviction two weeks back of more than 2,000 people who had reportedly encroached on the land carrying out illegal charcoal burning, logging and cultivation without the consent of the Indian investor.

The eviction resulted from a petition the management of Hoima Sugar Ltd filed to the office of the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) seeking his intervention in the intrusion on the company’s land.

During the minister’s visit to the locus, the Kikuube Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Mr Amlan Tumusiime, told him that the evictees were encroachers from Busoga, Kamuli, Mbarara and Kiruhura in Uganda while others came from Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi among other countries to make ends meet by burning charcoal on the investor’s land.

Sound bite: Tumusiime on eviction (English)

Kazi-njema’s reporter says the minister also directed that the encroachers must not be allowed access to the land to harvest their crops after the evictees petitioned the Resident District Commissioner, Mr Amlan Tumusiime, who orchestrated the eviction enforced by the Albertine Regional Police Commander, Mr Vincent Mwesigye to talk to the investor to give them a grace period of six months to harvest their crops.

This was after the Nyairongo Village Chairman, Mr Desire Nkurunziza, implored the minister and the district security committee to talk to the investor so they can be allowed half a year to harvest their crops.

Sound bite: Nkurunziza on grace period (Runyankole/Rukiga)

The minister also directed the district security committee not to allow the encroachers to return to that part of the 22sq miles of land that Bunyoro-Kitara Kingdom leased to Hoima Sugar Ltd for 99 years in 2016.

Earlier, in the day, the minister had met officials of Bunyoro – Kitara Kingdom where he discussed some matters before proceeding to Kikuube to assess how the eviction exercise was conducted.

The Buhaguzi County Member of Parliament, Mr Francis Twinomujuni Kazini said that while the encroachers came from different regions of the country, some were indigenous ones who were misled resulting in clashed between district leaders.

He advised the affected local communities to sort the matter with the kingdom.

Sound bite: Kazini on encroachers (English)

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