400 EVICTEES SEEKS PRESIDENTS INTERVATION.

BY KIMAZI EXPERITO E MUBENDE.

Over 400 that were evicted from their land 15 years ago in Mubende district
have request   President Museveni intervene in their reconciliation with
Kaweeri coffee plantation to enable them settle the matter out of court to
enable the acquire their compensation.

This was reached upon during a meeting held at Kyengeza community church in
Kitemba village in Madudu Sub County by the secretary from the office of
the president in charge of land and political issues Muwonge Charles and
the state minister for Kampala Nalongo Benny Bugembe Namuganya.

In a letter addressed to the president dated 18/08/2016 401 the evictees
expressed that for the past 16 years they have lived a miserable life
awaiting their compensation for the damages during the eviction process but
no they can no longer wait for court thus calling upon the president to
intervene and help them have a round table decision and settle the matter
out of court.

Sebwato Patrick chairperson Kitemba lc 1 explained that;” In august 2001
the government of Uganda through the RDC of Mubende district Mr. Perezi
Katamba deploy in our area the UPDF soldiers who forcefully evicted the
residents from their homes on the land which they used to occupy know as
Buweekula block 99 plot 1.”

Sebwato added that;” In August 2002 a group of evictees  filed a criminal
complaint against Kaweeri Coffee Plantation and the Ugandan Government
alleging that human rights violations had been committed against them in
Mubende district.    The plaintiffs i.e. Baleke Kayiira Peter, Sebwato
Patrick , Mugerwa Antonio ,Nanjaye Lusi and Kansiime Godfrey allege that on
17 August 2001 Ugandan military officials violently evicted them from their
land, mistreated them and burned down their houses, in order to clear the
land and lease it to Kaweeri coffee plantation wholly-owned by the Neumann
Gruppe to establish a coffee plantation.  The plaintiffs demanded an
independent land survey to determine the land’s real ownership, the
restitution of their land, or adequate compensation.

Sebwato further added that;”In February 2013, the judge set a date for the
final hearing that neither Kaweeri representatives nor the Attorney General
attended.  The defendants sought recusal of the judge assigned to the case,
Choudry Singh, and pointed out that impeachment proceedings (previously
filed by the defendants’ lawyers) against the judge were pending.  On 28
March 2013 Hon Justice Anup Singh Choudry ruled that the plaintiffs had
been illegally evicted without being compensated adequately and ordered
compensation of approximately €11 million (ug shs. 37,085,574,606,3.)to be
paid to the evictees.

Sebwato narrated that “The judgement condemned that the defendant’s
behaviour and stated that Kaweeri officials were informed that the
plaintiffs were to be evicted.  The judgement, however, acquitted both
defendants.  The compensation was imposed on the Ugandan Investment
Authority’s lawyers for allegedly misadvising the government to purchase
the land.  The defendants as well as the lawyers appealed the verdict.  On
10 April 2013 the execution of the judgement was provisionally suspended by
the Court of Appeal.  The appeal is pending.”

The eviction affected residents of four lc ones ie Kitemba Lc1, Luwunga Lc1
, Kijjunga Lc1 and Kiryamakobe Lc1. The total number of house which were
evicted from Kijjuna lc1 was 82 households, 197 households from Kitemba
lc1, 105 households from Luwunga lc1 and 18 households from kiryamakobe
lc1.The victims were dispersed around kaweeri coffee plantation without any
compensation either for their land or lost property. The Germany investor
cleared and destroyed all the food and cash that were left behind by the
evicted residents.

Sebwato added that;” Because of the time taken (15 years) some people are
becoming too old while other are already dead yet we have are not sure of
the time frame for the court to pass the judgment we are now ready to come
to the reconciliation table for the compensation ”

Muwonge Charles secretary in  the office of the president in charge of land
and political issues explained that; “the evictees  have requested for the
presidents intervention in their land matter after realizing that its takes
a longer time to attain justice in court ,we hope to handle the issue
because government  interested in settling matters amicable preferably out
of court to enable them all parties to live in harmony.”

Benny Bugembe Namugwanya the state minister for Kampala and Mubende
district woman member of parliament has promised the evictees that she is
going to forward the request to the president to enable them acquire their
compensation.

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