Kigezi Defies Eviction Orders: A Fight for Land and Legacy

Kigezi Defies Eviction Orders: A Fight for Land and Legacy
Picture of MP Kamuntu addressing the public about wetland evictions

A wave of defiance is rising in Uganda's Kigezi Sub Region. Residents and leaders are banding together to challenge President Museveni's directive to evict them from their wetland homes.

The conflict began in December 2023 with a presidential decree demanding immediate eviction. By January, natural resource officers arrived in Rubanda, Rukiga, and Kabale districts, displacing farmers and destroying crops.

Moses Kamuntu, MP for Rubanda County West, has emerged as a powerful voice for the community. At a recent memorial service, he passionately urged residents to resist eviction and continue cultivating their land. He stressed the responsibility of leaders to protect their people's well-being and livelihoods.

The fight extends beyond individual survival. Pauline Kemirembe Chaka, MP for Lyantonde District, expressed concern for the many who rely on the wetlands for their very existence. She's pushing for a clear-eyed assessment of the situation, urging officials to report the devastating effects of eviction on the people of Kigezi directly to the president.

Donozio Kahonda, MP for Mitooma Ruhinda South, echoed these concerns. He highlighted the critical role wetlands play in the region's food production, emphasizing the need for a balanced approach.

The residents aren't just relying on speeches. The Kigezi Farmers Hamwiga Association has taken action, petitioning the Speaker of Parliament to intervene. Over 200 farmers in Kabale, Rubanda, and Rukiga have already been displaced, and the association fears for many more.

These events unfolded amidst a somber note. The community recently mourned the passing of Elidad Kakombe, a revered elder with a vast extended family. His legacy serves as a powerful reminder of the deep roots people have in this land.

The story of Kigezi is more than just an eviction order. It's a fight for a way of life, a community's legacy, and the delicate balance between environmental protection and human survival. The unified front presented by the residents and leaders is a powerful testament to their determination to protect their land and future.

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