By Tugume Johnbosco
KIKUUBE. President Yoweri Museveni has directed Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) to halt relocation of encroachers on the Kyangwali Refugee Settlement land, pending investigation.
Office of the Prime Minister has since September last year been resettling about 1,780 residents that have illegally been sitting on the refugee settlement land in Bukinda Parish, Kyangwali Sub County, Kikuube district.
Addressing residents and other stakeholders at Kasonga Primary school on Friday, Minister for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Engineer Hilary Onek, said the President directed that the resettlement exercise be halted for two weeks, as the committee instituted to investigate claims of unfair distribution of land, torture, harassment and bribery during the land allocation exercise continues its work. The investigation is led by Lt Colonel Edith Nakalema, head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit.
“As you know, during a fact finding visit by State House Anti-Corruption Unit head Lt Col Edith Nakalema last month, some issues were raised in respect to the exercise that have necessitated a tentative stay of the resettlement activities as these issues are being resolved,” Minister Onek said.
Charles Bafaki, the Principle Resettlement Officer Office of the Prime Minister revealed that each household had been allocated a 2.5-acre piece of land. He says so far 1,557 of those meant to be resettled, have been moved already.
Meanwhile, the relocation exercise has not been without controversy as a section of those meant to be moved remain opposed. Last month, more than 50 houses of the resettled residents were burnt purportedly by those who are opposed to the move.
Minister Onek meanwhile urged all parties to remain calm and give their grievances to the investigating team in a truthful and transparent manner for government to find a lasting solution to the problem.
Nestori Tumwesigye, the leader of those opposed to the resettlement exercise has welcomed the investigation.
“We are happy because the investigation team looks independent since there is no member from OPM (Office of the Prime Minister) and it will give us room to explain grounds as to why we are opposing the exercise,” he said.