Saturday, October 11, 2008

Ugandan evictions

17,000 people were evicted from their farms in Kayunga District, about 200km (124 miles) north-west of the capital, Kampala.

The peasant farmers were forced to leave their homes after their former landlord sold the land to a Kampala businessman, and they did not receive any compensation.

Uganda has witnessed a rise in the number of evictions in recent years.In some cases those evicted lack documentation to prove that they are bonafide occupants of the "kibanja" - a piece of land occupied by a tenant.

70% of the Ugandan population, depend on the land as their primary means of livelihood.

Livingstone Sewanyana, the executive director of The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative blames the government for illegal evictions, citing Kayunga and Kaweri.

"It is the state organs, the state agencies, the government which is actually displacing the people through arbitrary displacements, through investor programmes and through the army,"

Minister of State for Land Kasirivu-Atwooki Kyamanywa says the land problem in Uganda can be traced back to the 1900 Buganda agreement in which land in Uganda was divided between the colonial power, Britain, the Buganda kingdom and local chiefs.

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