Luwero, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Residents and leaders in Luwero district have made a heartfelt plea to the Leader of the Opposition, Mathias Mpuuga, to address the alarming land grabbing in the area. Disturbing statistics from the Police Crime report reveal that Luwero District witnessed the highest number of cases of malicious damage to property in 2022, with 172 cases reported.
Additionally, the district ranked third in terms of criminal trespass cases, recording 191 incidents, all stemming from land disputes. During a meeting with Mpuuga on his oversight tour in Greater Luwero, local leaders and residents expressed their concerns about the detrimental effects of land grabbing on their livelihoods.
Erastus Kibirango, the LC 5 Chairman of Luwero district, noted that the area has experienced an influx of individuals fraudulently acquiring land and forcefully evicting tenants, often employing the use of firearms. Kibirango further explained that once the land is acquired, landlords collude with security personnel to fabricate cases of criminal trespass and malicious damage to property against tenants, coercing them to vacate the land.
Local leaders have attempted to combat this issue but face significant challenges due to the presence of armed personnel who support land grabbers and intimidate them. Seeking national attention, Kibirango urged Mathias Mpuuga to bring the matter before Parliament for discussion.
Meanwhile, tenants from Nganjo village in Katikamu sub-county shared their grievances with Mpuuga, narrating how they have resided on the land for over 50 years but are now subjected to crop destruction by new landlords in an attempt to force them off the land. This has resulted in food scarcity and a dire situation for the affected tenants.
Similarly, in Manyama village, Zirobwe sub-county, more than 200 individuals informed Mpuuga of their unsuccessful attempts to seek redress through various government offices and their petition to Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba to intervene against a man identified as Rutangambwa, who is attempting to grab their land.
Brenda Nabukenya, the Luwero District Woman Member of Parliament, expressed deep concern, revealing that over 100,000 people in the district currently live in fear of imminent evictions. Nabukenya emphasized that although there are land laws in place to protect tenants, landlords, supported by government officials, often disregard them and carry out forced evictions.
In response, Mathias Mpuuga expressed his condemnation of land grabbing, describing it as a misuse of firearms that should be used for people’s protection. He promised to address the issue in Parliament after the recess, ensuring that the matter receives the necessary attention and action.
Accompanied by more than ten Members of Parliament from Greater Luwero and other districts, Mathias Mpuuga stands in solidarity with the affected residents and vows to advocate for justice and protection of their land rights.