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Gen Otafiire tasked to explain Njeru Stock Farm land takeover

FILE PHOTO: When Otafiire last appeared at the land commission in 2017

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister General Kahinda Otafiire has been tasked to explain circumstances under which he took over the ownership of land belonging to Njeru Stock Farm.

The 1,099-acre farm located at Bukaya West Village, in Njeru municipality, is one of the government farms managed under the National Animal Genetic Resources Centre and Data Bank which hosts a demonstration farm, a breeding centre and a research centre, among other facilities. But Up to 504 of the total acreage of the farm has been fraudulently taken over by private individuals.

Recently, the land probe team led by Justice Catherine Banugemereire heard that Gen Otafiire owns 50 acres of the land while former Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma owns up to 43 acres.   It was also recently reported that Otafiire sent a group of armed men to destroy the government facilities and take possession of the land.

The men, led by one Wilberforce Muhangi, an official from a construction firm; Global International Alliance, are said to have vandalized all equipment and structures on the site and fenced it off with iron sheets, on the orders of General Otafiire .

Today, the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga directed Otafiire to explain how he acquired the land, and table documents to support his explanations.

Budadiri West MP Nandala Mafabi accused Otafiire of using his influence as a minister to secure court documents that were used to take over government property.

Although Otafiire had declined to explain the circumstances, saying that he cannot discuss a matter that is before the court and that the matter had already been investigated, Kadaga insisted that he provides evidence to prove that he acquired the land legally.

Otafiire explained that he asked the court to throw the government out of the land because he had secured rights from the original owners after the government failed to pay for its lease.

According to State Minister for Animal Husbandry Joy Kabatsi, part of the land that Otafiire has taken over had been given to an investor to construct an animal feeds plant.

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