Land evictions: Mityana locals petition Bamugemereire

About 500 people from three villages in Mityana district have petitioned the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire land probe commission to avert an imminent eviction from their plots of land.

The peasants are from three villages of Seeta Lukira, Miggo and Nkwale. They claim to be bonafide squatters on the estate of the late Latima Dumba estate who was allegedly allocated the land in 1884 by former Buganda king (Kabaka) Mutees I.

On Friday, the group appeared before the Bamugemereire Commission to plead for their interests over the land.

Among them was a 43-year-old Jacinta Nankinga a resident of Seeta Lukira who claimed that the planned evictions will render more than 2,000 people homeless.

She told the commission that much as previously they had a good relationship with the landlord who once asked them to buy their interest in the land, events changed in 2015 when one of the administrators only identified as Ssendi began talk of evicting them.

Ssendi and a one Mujjankondo Bugembe (deceased) invited the residents for a meeting during which the squatters of their interest to survey the land and distribute it to the rightful beneficiaries.

What falled next, Nankinga told the probe commission, the estate’s administrators told them to pause paying ground rent until their respective landlords have been introduced to them.

“They brought surveyor who surveyed and put milestones. But they could for instance say you have ten acres when you actually knew you had 12 acres. Later, they told as they had bought the land,” Nankinga said.

The Ddumba family neither granted the bibanja holders the first opportunity to buy their interest nor gave tittles to those who had earlier bought their interests during Ddumba Latima’s time.

Nankinga further claimed that the surveyors turned buyers asked them to buy their interest on the land or share with the new landlords.

“They asked us to pay Shs 12 million per acre which we could not afford, then, they demanded that we share the land by a half, but still, they wanted to take the better part of the land. We requested them that we continue paying ground rent but they refused,” she said.