1,000 Sango Bay residents face eviction over multi-billion oil Palm project

Sango bay

courtesy photo

Compensation for more than 1,000 residents on Sango Bay land is set to start next month to pave way for the multi-billion oil palm project, according to State Minister for Lands, Sam Mayanja.

The land, covering 247 square miles is located in the areas of Kanamiti, Matengeeto, Mutukula, Lukulavu, Lukoma, and Kabale villages in Kakuuto sub-county, and in Kabira, Kasasa, Kyebe sub-counties and Mutukula Town Council in Kyotera district.

Mayanja explains that all settlers on the said land will be registered and fairly compensated by December 31, 2021, before that land is officially handed over to the investor.

He added that the government will compensate the bonafide occupants on the land and then consider a compassionate token for those who are not.

A bonafide occupant, under Ugandan law, is a person who settled and utilised land unchallenged by the registered owner for 12-years or more before the coming into force of the 1995 Constitution.

This implies that all compensation will be extended to all people who settled and used the land before October 8, 1983.

The government will then use the land to expand the National Oil Palm Project (NOPP) for which tenants on the said land were given a one-month ultimatum to vacate the 14,000 hectares of land.

But the residents, mostly cattle keepers, have consistently resisted the impending eviction and demanded compensation.

Mayanja was speaking during a joint meeting between the State Minister for Lands, the Minister of Agriculture, district leaders and the affected residents held at Kanamiti village in Kakuuto sub-county on Thursday.

The meeting was called to iron out some grievances and have a way forward to the progress of the oil palm project.

During the meeting, Mayanja explained that although they had received several complaints from people claiming to own titles on Sango Bay land, the government records show that titles held by individuals are fake.

According to Mayanja, the government is now opening boundaries of the land following the original coordinates.

Agnes Namusiitwa, the Kyotera Vice-Chairperson and Kakuuto Woman Councilor told the meeting that some local businessmen secured titles on the land and arrested several residents for trespass which was logically unlawful.

Kyotera Resident District Commissioner- Hajji Moses Ddumba said that they have set up a grievance mechanism desk at Mayanja Police Station where residents’ queries are being registered for redress.

It will also be used to identify people who fraudulently acquired freehold titles on public land to face the law.

Different residents raised their concerns about the land titles, questionable surveys during the boundary opening, impending eviction and how to benefit from the project at hand.

Frank Tumwebaze, the Minister for Agriculture explained that the residents will have access to more than 5,000 job opportunities that will emerge as a result of the project.

According to Connie Magomu Masaba, the National Oil Palm Project Manager, Uganda spends over USD 250 million every year which would be used to improve the country’s economy.

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