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Courts stops NEMA evictions in Namataba

A recent NEMA operation to evacuate those on a wetland in Jinja. There planned Wakiso operation has been halted.

The High Court Land Division on Monday issued an interim order stopping the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) from evicting residents of Kito and Namataba villages in Wakiso.

The interim order was issued after the Deputy registrar Susan Kanyange observed that NEMA only gave a 21 days eviction notice to the residents which time was not sufficient for them to relocate their families and other developments on the land.

The registrar therefore ordered that the interim order stays in place until the May 31, 2017 when the main case will be heard by Justice Andrew Bashaijja.

Last week, about 411 residents of Kito and Namataba villages petitioned the High Court- Land Division challenging a move by NEMA  to evict them from this land which they claim to have been occupying since 1980.

Through their lawyers of  Luzige, Lubega, Kavuma and  company advocates the residents asked court to issue an order setting aside NEMA’s decision and to declare that they lawfully own the  suit land .

The group led by a one Caleb Kukundakwe argue that on December 5, 2016 through a local newspaper, NEMA published a notice giving them  a 21 days ultimatum  to demolish their houses and vacate the land  or else face forceful eviction.

However the residents contend that the eviction is in bad faith because they have developed the land with residential houses where they are living with their families, places of worship, schools and health facilities yet government is not willing to compensate them.

Documents before court show that the group was among individuals who were affected by government projects of the construction of New Kampala-Jinja express highway and Standard Gauge Railway but we’re not compensated. NEMA was given 15 days to file a response.

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