Residents chase DRC and DAPCB officials to meet on disputed land
A meeting convened to defuse tensions between residents of Kalagala village, Kiyindi Town Council, Buikwe District and the Missing Asians Property Custodians Board (DAPCB) ended prematurely after the former expelled the second.
Club-wielding residents have been infuriated by claims by DAPCB officials that the council is the rightful owner of the one-square-mile land they currently occupy.
The DAPCB is an agency responsible for managing all the assets left behind by more than 50,000 Asians who were forced out of Uganda in 1972 by then President Idi Amin in 1972.
Problems arose when officials produced the original land title contrary to what the residents had; forcing the latter to stir up trouble at Friday’s meeting.
The disputed land currently has more than 200 practicing tenants.
“We have nowhere to go. We have stayed on this land since childhood. We even have our burial places here,” said Mr. Samson Ssebunya, one of the angry locals.
Mr. Edward Mazinga, Deputy Mayor of Kiyindi City Council, urged the affected residents not to leave the land in question.
“Please don’t give up the fight. The land grabbers are using DAPCB cover to hunt you,” he noted.
Mr Haruna Bbosa, a councilor representing disabled people in Kiyindi Town Council, said the alleged Asian only had a lease which expired and the land reverted to the owner, the late Yahaya Bina family.
“It is true in the 1950s, there is an Indian who obtained a lease on this land, but his lease expired and Mr. Yahaya Bino recovered his land. He was the one who then sold plots to the tenants in place,” he said.
Mr Mayanja said they had come to the site to implement the presidential directive to reclaim all DAPCB land still occupied by illegal occupiers.
“We found out that all the properties of deceased Asians had charges, so without a special law enforcement team nothing will be done,” he said.
He challenged incumbent tenants to provide proof of ownership instead of creating havoc.
“Why are they causing chaos if they know they are the rightful occupiers? It’s very simple; let them present their documents,” he said.
Buikwe RDC, Mrs. Jane Francis Kagayi, said they would continue to engage the residents until they resolve the dispute amicably.
“Land ownership is proven by documents. The board has come forward with theirs and we also need to look at those of the incumbent tenants,” she said.
A special investigation by Auditor General John Muwanga in 2009 revealed that some DAPCB properties had been illegally alienated under the influence of senior officials.
At the time the audit was carried out, the AG found that of the 8,965 Asian properties, 4,063 had been repossessed, 1,676 had been sold and 3,226 remained unsold.