KIRYANDONGO, UGANDA: In a bid to solve the ensuing contention over Ranch 11, leaders from Kiryandongo district have agreed to jointly bring to an end the mafias who are conniving with investors to grab Ranch 11.
During a meeting held on Friday, June 30, at Kiryandongo district headquarters main hall with members of Kibyama and Nubian communities, leaders who included Ms Aliguma Edith Adyeri (District Chairperson), Hon. Karubanga Jacob Ateenyi (Kibanda South MP and Chairperson Bunyoro Parliamentary Caucus), Hon. Ngompek Linos (Kibanda North), and Hon. Kahunde Hellen (Kiryandongo Woman MP) agreed to follow suit any issue concerning Ranch 11 and save it from those who have started negotiating with investors to steal the land meant for resettling affected communities of Kibyama and Nubians.
Ms Aliguma Edith Adyeeri stated that the district has to work closely with the CAO to ensure that the struggle that started in 2000 comes to fruition.
She further stated that the government allocated the land to Kibyama and Nubian communities, but after it took too long to resettle the affected communities, some people found their way onto the land, an issue that is blamed on the government.
“We have always been alarmed whenever an opportunity presents itself about resettling the affected communities, but this year God heard our cry and the government allocated 200 million shillings in the 2023–2024 Financial budget for surveying and opening of boundaries”, Aliguma noted.
She further stated that people should regard information about people with intentions to grab the land with suspicion, stating that the government allocated the land for vulnerable groups of people who had been displaced gruesomely.
Hon. Karubanga Jacob Ateenyi noted that since the government has budgeted for money meant to start the process of resettlement, it is prudent for the communities to stay united to ease the process of resettlement by the government.
“This time, through the efforts of us leaders, the government has chosen to stand with us by passing the money to kickstart the resettlement process”, Karubanga noted.
He further stated that some elements have been trading baseless information to cause strife between area leaders and the late President Idi Amin’s family. Those ones are self-seekers because Amin’s land is not part of Ranch 11.
He notes that the land does not belong to anybody but rather to the government, which allocated it for veterinary services during the Bunyoro ranching scheme.
Hon Karubanga warned people trying to cause division between him and Hon. Ngompek Linos, stating that they are together in the struggle to ensure that people are given documentation to stay on land to avoid any possible future land eviction. He stated that even those who are already on the ranch’s land also need protection so that the government can give them documents.
“We came together with Hon. Ngompek and agreed to struggle together to protect our people from suffering any possible displacement after being settled”, Hon. Karubanga observed.
He observes that “we are not to blame for the government’s delay in resettling people, and neither is it the people’s fault to identify vacant land and occupy it, so it is upon the government to protect everyone”.
At the same event, Hon. Kahunde Hellen noted that Hon. Karubanga Jacob Ateenyi, who has been pushing for the resettlement since 1998, has been very instrumental in mobilizing other members of Parliament on the same matter.
“For this money to come, it took a lot of efforts from MPs and the District Chairperson until the money was budgeted for”, Hon. Kahunde stated.
On his part, Hon. Ngompek Linos mentioned that the most urgent issue is Musa Faraj, who plans to sell the ranch to an investor.
“Musa Faraj went to the Ministry of Lands with a claim of having created an association, and so on July 11, a committee from the Ministry of Lands will visit the place to confirm the existence of the association. I urge all of you to come and bring an end to Musa and his cabinet of land grabbers”, Hon. Ngompek noted.
Mudasiri Shaban, a member of the Nubian community, stated that Musa has been misleading people to the extent of threatening people in various forms, including beating them.
“There is a group of about 5 people with intentions of confusing members of the Nubian community: Ochora (my brother-in-law), Musa Faraj, Juma, and Meddie, who plan to sell the land to an investor, so we have to take extra caution when encountering such people”, Mudasiri noted.
Moses Earth, also a member of the Nubian community, clarified that the Nubian and Kibyama communities are still suffering and need rescue. He further clarified that the Equal Opportunities Commission is a commission that listens to the cries of vulnerable members of communities.