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Inter-ministerial committee to conduct fresh investigations on Lusanja eviction

Victims of Lusanja eviction whose houses where razed currently live in tents.

Wakiso, Uganda  | THE INDEPENDENT |  The eviction of residents in Lusanja now has a new twist after an Inter-ministerial committee opted to start fresh investigations into the matter.  

The committee was formed by Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda at the height of squabbles arising out of the evictions of families from the land in question. It Comprises the Ministry of Kampala Affairs, The Ministry of Lands, Ministry of Internal Affairs, The Office of the Attorney General, Uganda Investment Authority, the Office of the Prime Minister, and a team of area political leaders.  

The land in question measuring at least 9.6 acres was given to businessman Medard  Kiconco who, according to a judgement by Justice Taddeo Asiimwe, acquired it from the rightful owners in 2016 as opposed to the 148 other claimants who bought it from a one Chrispa Bitarabeho who had no right to sell the land.     

State Minister for Lands Persis Namuganza notes that before the Committee which was working on a presidential directive conducted its investigations, Medard Kiconco opted to seek redress in court.        

A section of residents who had been evicted have since appealed against Asiimwe’s judgment.

Now, Minister Namuganza, who visited the place on Thursday afternoon, together with her senior Betty Kamya says that they have started fresh investigations into the matter in order to find a lasting solution to the challenge. 

She, however, emphasizes that they are not trashing court process but instead fulfilling the president’s directive which according to her ‘it is superior’      

Namuganza who was among the respondents in the case which was filed by Kiconco observes that although the land might be belonging to Kiconco, the occupants regardless of their legality needed to be treated fairly since they are all citizens in Uganda. She notes that this could have been done then and can still be achieved in the fresh attempt through a negotiation and mediation process as provided by the land act.      

Kamya has ordered all the evicted residents register with the chairperson with proof of ownership of the land they claim to own. However, some residents claimed they lost all their property during the eviction, including key documents to prove their ownership. But the Minister suggested that the group should be also handled separately with a verification of the village members.     

When contacted, Kiconco noted that although the court has already pronounced itself on the matter declaring him the owner of the land, he is open to any other form of negotiations. He added that he has already met with the inter-ministerial committee.

“The legal system made its judgment, I think there now trying to get a political solution. I don’t have a problem with it.  I indeed met the ministers and we discussed the matter. If they want to compensate the residents and I retain my land, it is okay. If they want to compensate me so that the residents stay, I have no problem,” Kiconco told Uganda Radio Network.   

He, however, adds that his lost investment and time need to be put into consideration. To him, as a business, he has made great loss adding that the matter is one of the negotiation conditions he wants to put up.   

The affected persons note that as much as they want to be helped, the government might be using them as a political meal card. However, they all agree that regardless of the means taken, they want to either regain their land or be compensated so that they relocate.   

Hajjat Maimuna Lukenge, one of the affected persons wonders why all the three arms of government have failed to solve the matter.    

Meanwhile, some residents are already erecting new structures in the area after more than a year of sleeping in makeshift structures.

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