Uganda: Government projects to displace thousands

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Thousands of residents occupying Namanve Forest Reserve in Bukasa, Bweyogerere parish in Kira Municipality, have been given up to December 26 to vacate peacefully or be evicted by National Environmental Management Authority (Nema).

Last week, Nema gave the affected residents 21 days to vacate or be forced out.
However, the residents, who claim they bought the disputed pieces of land and that they erected buildings when Nema was watching and didn’t stop them, have vowed not to leave without compensation. They claim they cannot trace the people who sold them the land many years ago.

New projects
The government wants to evict the residents and demolish all the structures to pave way for the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway, the Greenbelt and the Dry Port. Nema is working with the National Forest Authority (NFA) and police to remove encroachers from the forest and the railway reserves.

The affected areas include, Bukasa Masozi Zone A-C compartment 04, Kirinya Kito Zone C compartment 06, Namataba Kirinya Go Down Zone B compartment 06, Bukasa Small Scale Compartment 05 and Kizungu Zone compartment 05 and compartment 12 and 14 in Mukono District.

The NFA’s encroachment and eviction manager, Mr Jimmy Ouna, said: “Those people are so hostile and whenever we tried to evict them, they attacked us but our position is clear, they are occupying the land illegally. They must vacate the land to create space for the construction of government projects.”

NFA couldn’t ascertain the exact number of houses to be demolished until they have opened the boundaries. The exercise that started on Tuesday, however, hit a snag yesterday after angry residents of Kirinya Kito Zone C compartment 06 clashed with NFA and police. About 15 residents were arrested by the police.

Nema executive director Mr Tom Okurut said the affected residents will not be compensated because they occupied the land knowing that it belongs to the government.

©Alleastafrica and Daily Monitor

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