Over 5,000 residents in Kitura town council, Kabarole district of Western Uganda are
threatened with eviction by Tooro and Mityana Tea Company (TAMTECO), a tea company that asked them to vacate the area.
Following the threats, PLATFORM for the NEEDY (PLANE) and Twerwaneho Listeners Club NGOs advocating for the rights of the people in Rwenzori region, and Kabarole leaders led by Activist Jorum Bintamanya rushed in Mubali Kijura town council after the locals petitioned them that their leaders and RDC Asiimwe Stephen had failed to intervene despite several letters written to his office.
Musinguzi Adison, a victim said, “Over 2,000 households were threatened with eviction by TAMTECO that claims to have bought the land from Tooro kingdom at shs300m. The tea company brought people donned in army uniform and demolished a building belong to one of the residents and also destroyed his plantations. We are now leaving in fear because we no longer cultivate crops or even send our children to school”
According to the letters seen by these associations and read to the people, Abel Nsabimana the TAMTECO manager in his 27th October 2010 letter alleged to have halted building of houses and growing of crops with immediate effect. He also said the locals were using their ignorance to construct worshipping places forgetting that there is a powerful God than theirs.
Daniel Musinguzi a catechist with Mubali church of Uganda said the land dispute between the residents of Mubali ,Tooro Kahunda and TAMTECO has lasted for four
years and only requires the intervention of government to send a land surveyor.
Jorum Bitamanya blasted the district leaders including the area MP Steven Kagwera for their failure to intervene in solving the land dispute that is likely to lead thousands displaced by Kingdom and the tea company. He assured the panicking locals that no one has a right to evict them on the said land unless otherwise through court but even
it’s negotiable between the two parties.
Simon Amanyire a legal advisor to Twerwaneho educated the people about the constitution of Uganda and the land act of 1998 which stats that any tenant who has stayed on the land for over 12 years before the 1995 constitution is recognized as bonefide meaning that all the tenants and land lords have shares.
Gerald Kankya the director Twerwaneho accused Tooro Kingdom for selling its subjects to the tea company without their consent but described it as an empty sell. He told the locals that his organization is willing to offer them a lawyer freely and asked them to approach them for legal services.
Ainganiza Steven Director PLANE advised the locals to elect leaders who can advocate and lobby for them but not those who want to fulfil their own interests. He asked them to continue engaging in income generating activities and not panic over these threats adding that no one will evict them.
The Minister for lands Tooro kingdom Hon. Olimi R when contacted by PLATFORM for the NEEDY (PLANE) he said the kingdom has never sold off land to TAMTECO just leased it for 59years for shs300m. The residents have stayed on the land for over 50 years and there five well established primary school.