More than 400 residents in Hoima are on the verge of being forcefully evicted from their ancestral land.
The affected residents are from the village of Ngobye in Buraru parish in Buraru sub-county. They are feuding with Neko Isingoma, a prominent businessman in Hoima town, over a piece of land measuring approximately 100 acres in the same area.
The residents learnt of their planned eviction from their ancestral land last month after a team of surveyors under the command of Isingoma entered the area and started surveying the land without their consent.
The residents say they have lived on the land since the 1940s, and they wonder how Isingoma came to acquire a title on the land that they have lived on for years.
Adam Irumba, one of the affected residents, explains that they are ready to defend the land that they have been settled on for a long time. He wants the district officials and Ministry of Lands to intervene and investigate the existence of fraudulently acquired titles in the area.
Patrick Majara, another resident, wants the Hoima district land board investigated for allegedly conniving with land grabbers by issuing fake land titles in the entire district, putting many families in tension.
Majara says many people in the area are living in fear of being evicted from the land where they have lived for a long time, yet they have nowhere to go.
Robert Mwanga, the LCIII Chairperson for Buraru Sub County, says there are many fraudulently acquired land titles in the area, putting hundreds of families in fear of being evicted. He wants the government to protect the affected people by availing free land titles to them.
Kadiri Kirungi, the Hoima district LCV Chairperson, says the district is going to investigate all the fraudulently acquired titles and have them revoked, and is calling on the affected residents to remain calm, saying his office is handling the matter.
Isingoma could not be reached for a comment by press time to respond to allegations put against him as he did not respond nor return our repeated calls to his telephone number.
This is not the first time land grabbing complaints have been raised in the villages of Burura sub-county.
In February this year, more than 500 families from three villages in Buraru sub-county were threatened with forceful eviction from their ancestral land. The families were from the villages of Kihohoro, Kakira-Ngobye, and Busanga, all in Buraru Sub County.
The affected families were then feuding with John Apollo Rwamparo, the Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom’s Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, over land measuring 400 hectares.
The land in question was titled in 1983 in the name of Herbert Kimera Rwakiswaza, the father of Rwamparo. But area residents noted that they had settled on the contested land since the 1950s without any encumbrances and questioned the circumstances under which Rwamparo is claiming its ownership.
Rwampaaro then insisted that the land legally belonged to his family, which secured it in the 1970s and genuinely acquired its title.
Leaders in the Bunyoro sub-region have severally raised a red flag over the increasing existence of fraudulent land titles in the region.
According to the leaders, many land titles in the region were acquired fraudulently, hence putting residents on the verge of being evicted. As such, they appealed to the Ministry of Lands to intervene and cancel all the titles that were acquired fraudulently.
While in Bunyoro for the commissioning of oil roads in January this year, President Yoweri Museveni tasked Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja to intervene in the escalating land grabbing issues in the region and immediately give him a report so that the land grabbers are dealt with once and for all. (IMAGE: URN | theKR Media)