The National Economic Empowerment Dialogue (NEED) party led by Joseph Kabuleta has been accused of aiding a clique of land grabbers who call themselves ‘land Claimants’ in Kween district.
The said group operates in three districts of Sebei and Bugisu sub-regions including; Kween district which is being used as a base, Kapchorwa used as the operation office, Bukwo used for mobilization and Bulambuli used for the distribution of land.
They reportedly distribute land to whoever is in their interest after paying Shs100,000.
Rtd ASP Hope Atuhaire the Resident District Commissioner of Kweeni district in a lengthy June 17, petition to Ms. Milly Babalanda, the Minister of Presidency in the Office of the President accused the NEED party of helping this group of land grabbers who are taking over people’s land, leaving them landless.
How it started
The RDC said that one James Chemonges tricked Mr. Hudson Sikor to allow him to use part of his land in the Lower Belt of Kamungei so that he can develop his land. He (Chemonges) requested Sikor to provide him with a small portion of his land so that he can put his material there.
“After getting the place the next time he put a structure and two flags were raised and people started flocking in this group is headed by Chesang Tom alias Brown, believed to be in Kampala now,” reads part of the petition.
“Some of the people are mobilized from Kenya and some are members of SABOUT Land Defense Force this group is supported by NEED Uganda the Political Party for Kabureta end they say they have reached where they are because of NEED Uganda,”
In the petition, ASP Atuhaire told the Minister that they started getting reports where people started flocking to the area to get themselves land.
Dissatisfied with what he was seeing, Mr Sikor the land owner reported his case to the nearby police.
A case on REF SD 01/15/05/2023 was registered at Ngenge Police Station
The situation however reportedly continued to be fragile as the said land claimants kept saying that the Minister for Lands Hon Mayanja gave them their so-called Land.
“They were also saying that State House through the office of Anti-Corruption was aware of that matter and was in support of what they were doing. The statements they were uttering became too much when they said that they were forming their District and calling CHEPTUI that would cover Bulambuli, and parts Kween and Sironko,” the petition reads
She said that at this moment she contacted Hon Mayanja and requested him for guidance in this matter.
“He totally denied knowledge of their activities. I also consulted Afande Isoke on the same he also gave me their line of work in that matter which was investigative and had no knowledge of the acquisition of land by the said claimants and the collection of money from the members as registration and welfare fees. Afande advised us to have a Regional Security Committee meeting and get a way forward,” ASP Atuhaire said in the petition.
Security committee meeting
On June 5, a security meeting was held at Bulambuli district headquarters to solve the escalating issue that has started to become a security concern.
The meeting was attended by the RDCs of Kween, Kapchorwa, Bulambuli, and Deputy RDC Kween and the Police Regional Police Commander Elgon, the C.O. of Chepsukunya, LC 5 Chairpersons of the three Districts, the DISOS and other co-opted members of interest were in attendance in the Regional Security Committee meeting that was chaired by ASP Atuhaire.
After scrutinizing the activities of the said claimants that included; conning people of money and other subversive activities of creating a new District (self-created) intersecting within the Districts of Kween and Bulambuli was creating anarchy and resolved the Police swung in and arrest the culprit end the chapter.
“This was to be immediate. But to our surprise Police in SIPI Region are not acting to intervene in this matter. The C.O. Chepsukunya Barracks is waiting and ready for any support in case the Police need any beef up,” she said
“It is apparent that the said Land Claimants are now occupying peoples’ land. They have brought tractors and launched digging peoples’ land. On 10th June 2023 they brought iron sheets which they distributed to those that were available,” she added
Despite the reports and the cries by the residents (Wanainchi), Atuhaire said that they have kept on telling them that the Police are going to handle the situation but nothing is forthcoming.
“I called the operations officer at Police Headquarters requested assistance and said was going to call the SIPI Regional Commander. I have not got a response from the Regional commander as yet,” she said
“Some days back the RDC Kapchorwa raided their office and recovered receipt books, National IDs for people who were paying for land but up to now no action is done. There is grooming bloodshed if the situation is not addressed immediately. Communities on the ground do not understand the whole episode to keep watching while land grabbers are occupying their land while the leaders are looking on yet the Police are to take the lead in flashing these criminals out,”
Efforts to get Mr. Kabuleta’s comment on these allegations were futile as his known numbers were off by press time. Mr. Chesanga’s phone went unanswered despite our repeated calls.