Kyankwanzi, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | More than 1,000 people facing forceful eviction from their ancestral land in Gayaza sub-county, Kyankwanzi district are now on the verge of starvation, following the commencement of wanton destruction of their food.
The affected families are from the villages of Kyerere North, Kyerere East, Kiyuni central, Kiryajobyo West, and Kibanda.
The residents are feuding with Linda Nyakairima, the widow of the late Internal Affairs Minister Gen. Aronda Nyakairima who is alleged to have fraudulently acquired a title for the land measuring about 5 square miles, where the residents have settled for years.
According to the residents, they have settled on the land since the 1940s and wonder how the family of late Aronda can be claiming the land.
Trouble started on February 19, 2022 when some10 graders and excavators started clearing the area destroying garden crops including several acres of banana plantations, beans, maize, mangoes, cassava, coffee, jack fruit, and rice among others belonging to the residents.
More than 30 soldiers have been deployed to guard the contested piece of land as the destruction of people’s crops is ongoing. Access to the contested piece of land has also been blocked to date.
Sylvia Namatovu 50, a resident of Kyerere village says her family is on the verge of starvation since all their garden crops were destroyed by people enforcing their brutal eviction adding that the situation has compelled her children to drop out of school due to lack of food.
Godfrey Kabwino, also a resident explains that several families are undergoing untold suffering since they can hardly have a meal a day following their brutal eviction and destruction of their food crops. He wonders why the government is tight-lipped yet brutal eviction is ongoing in the area and people are suffering.
Erias Kaggwa, a resident of Kiyuni, says his six acres of coffee, banana plantation and maize were destroyed during their forceful eviction.
Robert Mawanda, the LCI Chairperson for Kiyuni Central says his great grandfather settled on the land in 1940 but he was shocked when Linda Nyakairima invaded the area claiming the entire land.
Leosam Sebalunzi, the Gayaza sub-county LCIII chairperson has appealed to the government to extend relief food to the evicted residents since they are starving.
Joel Sebikari, the Ntwetwe County Member of parliament has appealed to President Museveni and top UPDF leadership to immediately investigate and punish all soldiers who were involved in the brutal eviction and destruction of people’s crops.
In 2018, Linda Nyakairima appeared and recorded a statement with the Commission of Inquiry into Land matters.
This was after Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, the Chairperson of the Commission summoned her for questioning in relation to a piece of land that was bought by her late husband.
The commission then received complaints from several families in Kiboga district who were ordered to vacate a 640-acre private mailo land that Aronda wanted to acquire for private investment.
The land was initially registered as a private mailo property in the names of late Matayo Kidimbo Mpanga on March 9,1931.
But the late Gen. Aronda reportedly paid Gideon Kibirango, who claimed to be the rightful owner of the land before Mpanga’s grandson Ibrahim Lumu contested the transaction.
Linda Nyakairima could not be reached for a comment at the time of filing this story.