Residents of Kikwatamiigo and Kyakapeya Cells in Hoima East Division, Hoima City yesterday (Wednesday) pitched camp at Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom chambers seeking audience with the Prime Minister after it emerged that they were being threatened with eviction from their land.
The residents say they were served with a summon to defend themselves in 15 days before the Hoima Chief Magistrate’s Court under civil suit No 2 of 2021 for purportedly encroaching on the late Princess Victoria Kabagabu’s land.
The deceased was daughter the current Omukama Solomon Iguru of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom.
The residents contend that they inherited the suit land from their great grandparents more than 200 years ago.
Mr Philip Muruli, one of the defendants from Kikwatamiigo cell says that he has lived on the suit land for close to 60 years wondering how the late Princess Kabagabu’s children are claiming the land occupied by more than 2,000 people.
“I have so far spent 58 years on that land in Kikwatamiigo. But I wonder how the children of the late Princess Kabagabu – daughter to the Royal Highness come out saying that the kingdom gave her land in Kikwatamiigo and Kyakapeya. I grew up seeing my grandparents and parents working on that land. When did Kabagabu get it and during whose king’s reign? This is because the current king hasn’t even spent 30 years on the throne but the residents have been living on that land for more than 200 years,” said Mr Muruli.
“Are there any documents proving that the kingdom gave the late Kabagabu that land to facilitate her children to come and evict us? We have realised that it is land grabbing taking place everywhere. We shall follow the law by appearing before court where we were summoned to appear but deep at the bottom of our hearts knowing that we are being invaded,” he added.
Mr Wycliffe Tibeita, the Kikwatamigo Village Mobiliser said the defendants inherited the land from their grandparents, thus, calling for cultural and political intervention to protect them against the looming eviction.
“I feel extremely sad for people who want to evict my constituents who were born on that land, buried their grandparents and parents there. This is going to disturb the residents for the developments they have carried out on that land. How can someone come from the blue claiming the land on which they have never lived and where nobody knows them?”
Adding” I call upon our elected political leaders to come out now and fight for the residents. When some people realise that there are some poor and voiceless people, they come to grab their properties. This disturbs me so much. Our parents lived on that land for 200 years. Are the late princess’ children Babiito by clan?”
Mr Deo Bahemuka, the Kicwamba Ward Chairman, said the defendants have lived on the land in Kikwatamiigo and Kyakapeya villages for several decades.
“Residents are complaining about people invading them with intent to grab their land on which they have lived for more 200 years. We wonder how strangers from nowhere come claiming that the land belongs to them and without even having a single development there. We know there is land grabbing but that won’t scare us. We shall stand with the residents up to the last point,” Mr Bahemuka said.
“There are even people aged between 80 and 90 years on that land but being threatened with eviction. How can a younger person come to evict such an aged person who has lived on that land for all those years? We know incidents of people being evicted and camped at sub-county headquarters. But we shall not tolerate that,” he continued.
After waiting for some time, the defendants finally met with the Kingdom Prime Minister, Andrew Byakutaaga, but the press could not get what was deliberated on since both parties remained tightlipped.
The plaintiffs in this suit include Doreen Kezia, Ketty Kajumba Majwara, Jane Sunday Kabagabu and Fred Byambwene Muhumuza as administrator of the estate of late Princess Kabagabu.
The complainants are accusing the defendants including among others Herbert Machura, Wycliffe Wamaani, Mary Nyanjura, Ausi Mugisa, John Isingoma and Tereza Kabonesa of alleged “trespass unto the suit land by constructing houses, opening new gardens, selling and alienating it,” part of the summon reads.