By Weswa Ronnie
Over 150 families who have been occupying Bunambutye government resettlement land at Kata and Mabale villages have gone on a peaceful demonstration after the Resident District Commissioner gave them a one week ultimatum to vacate.
The residents who held a peaceful demonstration on Monday, 6th February, 2023 accuse the RDC, Stanley Bayole of forcing them out of the land they have been occupying since 2004 after President Museveni’s directive that all people living in disaster prone areas from Sironko and Bulambuli vacate and resettle there.
These residents are some of the families that were displaced by landslides from Mount Elgon disaster areas of Bulambuli and Sironko.
According to Michael Wabona, the LCI Chairperson of Mabale village, the RDC held a meeting with all residents from the two villages last week and ordered all locals who are living in those two villages to vacate the land before the end of this week and go back to their original land.
He adds that they occupied the government land in 2004 after the President ordered all people living in disaster prone areas from Sironko and Bulambuli to vacate and resettle there.
Wabona also says that locals cannot vacate the area since that land was bought by the government to resettle landslide victims and they have overstayed on it.
Abraham Masako, one of the affected residents says that currently, they are not ready to vacate the land unless government allocates them another land.
He urged officials of the President’s Office and Office of the Prime Minister to intervene in the matter lest they turn violent against anybody who will come to chase them from there.
Betty Muzaki, another affected resident accused the RDC and their neighbors who were resettled to another part of the land for going ahead to burn their houses and destroying their crops as a way of forcing them to vacate.
However, Bayole has denied allegations of burning residents’ houses and destroying their crops but explained that the complainants occupied that government resettlement land illegally since the government has never resettled them there.
He adds that the government under the Prime Minister’s office bought 1,800 acres of land with the aim of resettling gazetted people who were living in disaster risk areas of Bududa, Namisindwa, Sironko, and Bulambuli but these people just came and occupied part of that land without getting permission.
The RDC also says that each disaster victim from Bududa, Namisindwa, and Sironko that was resettled on that land was given a house and one acre of land then later government promised to add every family two acres of land for farming which has never happened because of these illegal occupants.