Kampala. More than 1,590 households have been allocated land for resettlement by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) in Kyangwali Sub-county, Hoima District, as a measure to end the protracted dispute between government and the locals.
According to senior government officials, the households were resettled at Kavule Village in accordance with the January 2016 verification report that recommended resettlement of 1,780 households with 10,680 people who had encroached on Kyangwali refugee land.
An inter-ministerial committee led by then Maj Gen Julius Oketa was formed by the Prime Minister following a presidential directive to study the situation and find a lasting solution.
In 2013, it was alleged that more than 20,000 people were evicted from 28 villages in Kyangwali Sub-county, which sparked off the dispute.
The State minister for Disaster, Mr Francis Musa Ecweru, in a statement issued on Saturday, said the resettlement land was reduced by seven square miles to accommodate encroachers.
Mr Ecweru said 113 households retained their bibanja in the villages of Katikara; Katikara 1, Katikara 2B, Kituti, and Nyakatehe 2, because they were present during the establishment of the settlement in 1966.
“Also native Banyoro who have been living within the settlement and mixed up with the refugees have been allocated a separate piece of land in Kavule B. Each was allocated land proportionate to their original land size,” Mr Ecweru said.
He said the resettlement team also considered 85 households who were staying on the land and had not been verified in 2016.
Seventy families that were living in the internally displaced person camps at Bukinda Trading Centre were resettled pending further investigation.
Mr Ecweru said the resettlement exercise that started on September 21 to December 23, 2018 comprised verification of names of encroachers, plot demarcation, allocation of plots and litigation in case of complaints.
He, however, observed that the resettlement team has continued to face stiff resistance from some encroachers who originally benefited heavily from the status quo by intimidating the beneficiaries not to take up the land allocated to them.
“Some individuals tried to attack people settled on what they alleged to be their land. This matter was brought to the attention of police who arrested some of the ringleaders,” he added.
According to the minister, some individuals out of pressure from the landlords have declined to take over.
“… some of the complainants do not qualify to benefit from the resettlement. Out of desperation they have now resorted to discrediting the exercise,” Mr Ecweru said.
He asked the enforcement agencies to ensure that law and order prevail and warned those working to frustrate the programme to rethink their plans.
The minister’s statement comes a week after the State House anti-corruption team led by Lt Col Edith Nakalema raided Bunyoro Sub-region in an exercise that saw arrest of area security chief based on complaints of forceful evictions and torture.