Mukono, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | There is a fresh row between residents of Lwanyonyi-Kirangira in Nama sub county Mukono district and their landlord Israel Dick Banoba. Residents accuse Banoba of taking advantage of the curfew to destroy their gardens. The dispute between Banoba and the residents has been on for about 30 years.
The dispute climaxed in May 2018 when Banoba secured a court order to evict over 200 residents. The dispute caught the attention of President Yoweri Museveni who halted the eviction of the residents and directed Justice Catherine Bamugemereire of Land Commission to ascertain their claims on the land.
Although the commission findings have never been made public, Banoba has on several occasions tried to evict the residents forcefully in vain. Now residents accuse Banoba of using the Covid-19 lockdown and curfew hours to deploy his workers to spray dangerous pesticides on their crops.
Our reporter has seen several dried up gardens of pineapples, coffee and rice. Several plantations of bananas and sugarcane measuring about 5 acres have also been cut down.
David Kato, whose pineapple plantation was destroyed is disappointed by the decision of security to sideline with the workers of Banoba who are destroying their crops.
He says the workers invade their home during the curfew and spray their crops.
Susan Namutosi, another resident whose rice garden was destroyed appeals to the president to intervene and resolve their disagreement with their landlord depending on the findings of the Commission.
She said while they are being encouraged by their leaders to practice farming, their crops are being destroyed.
Mzee Hosea Ssonko, one of the area leaders appeals to government come out and deliver justice to the affected people saying government’s silence is fueling hatred. Deogratius Golooba, the Kirangira Village LC I chairperson condemns the destruction of resident’s property saying it may result in blood shed.
Banoba insists that he only operates on his land for which he doesn’t require permission from anyone to develop it. Banoba claims that he bought the contested land measuring about 200 acres in 1971 from Dr. Emmanuel Lumu and there were only 30 squatters.
He however, says the number of squatters has now multiplied into thousands. Abubaker Musiho,the Mukono Division Police Commander has confirmed visiting the destroyed gardens saying he is currently engaging both parties to reach a mutual understanding.