The chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry into Land matters, Justice Catherine Bamugemereire has noted that many Ugandans will are becoming homeless due to rampant illegal land evictions.
Speaking during a press conference on Friday, Bamugemereire said that the commission has on several occasions raised red flags to the judiciary over bogus court orders but they have not heeded to the call.
“On a more catastrophic note, the orders, rulings and judgments have entrenched a sense of helplessness for thousands of poor persons who don’t believe that institutions of the government can protect their rights on land. This bears implications on matters of peace and tranquility on land in various areas,”Bamugemereire said.
“Notably, the manner in which the orders, rulings and judgments are arrived at indicates a grand level of ‘cartelization’ between government officers that allows the issuance of titles, no objection approvals and other such facilitating documents.”
Justice Bamugemereire said their investigations have unearthed a syndicate between judicial officers and government officials who collude to forcefully evict people from land in disregard of the law.
President Museveni recently intervened in a matter where over 600 squatters were evicted from a piece of land at Sekanyonyi Village, Kawempe Division, Kampala District businessman Medard Kiconco.
Bamugemereire noted that there have been multiple evictions in Entebbe, Wakiso, Mityana and Mubende revealing that all of them have been authorised by judicial officers, a thing she said will cause problems for the country.
She added that using judicial officers and security agencies including the army and police, many Ugandan have been deprived of their right to own land in dubious ways.
“The commission has also been confronted with the problem of wanton abuse of the criminal justice in order to enforce civil rights in the land sector. Claimants on land are routinely charged with offences such as detention, malicious damage to property and criminal trespass. Notionally, these are offences which reveal the fact that there is a pending unresolved conflict in land that should be resolved using the civil courts.”
She also highlighted the issue of acquiring land titles on protected government land including forest reserves and swamps, a thing she said needs to be rectified through stringent laws and punishments.