More than 10 families are facing eviction from chunks of land they have occupied for decades after a purported landlord destroyed their crops in Mende sub-county, Wakiso District.
The families, among them elderly women aged between 70 and 85 allege that two land brokers identified as Augustine Kateebe and Julius Kyakulaga are claiming ownership of the land on which they have lived for more than 50 years.
Two of the elderly women-Ezeresi Namukasa and Robina Nabatanzi said that the land in dispute was part of their late father’s estate which measured 12 acres. But it encroached on and it kept reducing under unknown circumstances leaving them with only five acres which have also been graded and their crops destroyed.
It is alleged that the land brokers without any documentation or proof of ownership stormed the village with armed men and instructed a grader to destroy food crops, trees and coffee plantations.
Nabatanzi said that the destruction of their crops and attempts to evict them started with the arrest of two of their colleagues including her husband Jonathan Senfuka Katula. She explains that although the matter was reported to the police, they received no response.
Dan Mawejje, one of the affected residents narrates that a group of armed men attacked their homes in the wee hours and blocked them from moving out or protesting against the destruction. Mawejje says that their efforts to seek assistance from the Police have been in vain.
Maureen Nambooze, another area resident said that her husband, Peter Kato was arrested and detained on unknown charges and immediately after, a group of people started claiming ownership of their land.
Rehema Namagembe, another of the affected residents said that they are living in pain because the two men are evicting them from land they have occupied for more than five decades without following the due process of the law. According to Namagembe, the two people who were arrested are facing charges of criminal trespass on their own land.
The Vice-chairperson of Mende Sub County Mathias Ssemuju described the situation as unfortunate and appealed to the lands ministry to intervene. He cautioned that the failure of the authorities to intervene and resolve the impasse spells doom and bloodshed in the area.
He said similar cases have occurred in the villages of Serinnya and Mabombwe which calls for urgent intervention.
Wakiso District RDC Justine Mbabazi could not comment on the matter saying she did not have details about the case. Patrick Onyango, the Spokesperson of Kampala Metropolitan Police confirmed the land dispute but said he needed time to collect more information about the matter.