By Charles Kamya Ssentamu
Over 26,000 poor Ugandans have been evicted from land they have owned for generations, regardless of an outstanding court order barring such evictions and in total disregard of the Constitution of Uganda. That is the subject of a fire-breathing Facebook post by Kyadondo East MP, Robert Kyagulanyi.
The vulnerable residents on whose behalf the MP writes have been evicted on the orders of President Museveni, despite an order by the High Court declaring the eviction illegal. The land in question sits on some 900 square miles and cuts across two districts of Adjumani and Amuru in the Acholi sub-region.
Parliament was also still probing the issue to ensure that the livelihoods of the thousands of families are secured before – if any – evictions are to be carried out.
But Museveni, in his modus operandi that we have grown accustomed to during his 33-year rule, bulldozed all these institutions, all the while disregarding the welfare of these poor citizens – he decided to issue a final eviction notice this week.
Museveni unleashed his security forces on the residents, something that is unheard of in countries where rule of law prevails.
It did not start this week.
The security forces have for years meted out all sorts of brutality, killing , beating-up and torched houses belonging to thee victims – at the behest of Museveni.
The victims have endured this brutality for nine years, hoping that one day justice would prevail and the suffering would stop. But now they must face forceful eviction.
Museveni is selling a lie that the land in question is supposed to be a game reserve. But that is far from the truth. The truth is that he is evicting the people to give the land to a shoddy “investor”. This has attracted the attention of opposition legislators and has prompted Bobi Wine to speak up on behalf of the victims.
“This week, even before the Parliament committee dealing with the matter could make its recommendations, they were informed that President Museveni has directed that all these people must be evicted!” MP Kyagulanyi wrote in his statement.
It does not stop there; only a small fraction of the victims will be getting the paltry expropriation fees that the regime is offering them – the ones without IDs will not get a single dime.
“I join the people of Apaa and their leaders in rejecting this broad-daylight act of land grabbing. The Constitution of Uganda in Article 26 guarantees every citizen the right to own property including land,” wrote Kyagulanyi.
This is impunity and utter lawlessness. Museveni is now a law onto himself; he has compromised all institutions and will stop at nothing to mortgage our country to his rent-seeking pseudo investors. It appears that corruption has overrun Uganda and Museveni is its chief beneficiary – corruption’s commander in chief.