240 Landowners Petition President Museveni, seeking UGX6.8Bn in compensation

President museveni while laying foundation stone for John Kale institute of Science and Technology..

Kisoro – A total of 240 people who claim the ownership of the contested Rwivovo land in Nyakabande and Chahi sub-counties have petitioned President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni over his unfulfilled pledge of their compensation.

The group is seeking compensation to a tune of UGX6.8 billion for the land before setting up John Kale Institute of Science and Technology (JKIST).

The land under contention is located on plot 50 Kanyabukungu Shoozi block 32 Kisoro district in Nyakabande along the Kisoro – Rubanda – kabale highway and measures up to 167.326 acres,

Reports reveal that a total of 55 crop farmers and 185 husbandry farmers are demanding compensation.

The group through their lawyers Mutungi and Company Advocates have written to president Museveni over the delay of their compesation as he had promised to do.

The group alleges that the money was agreed upon during a meeting between the district leadership led by the former RDC Shafiq Ssekandi and the land claimants, as compensation to pave way for the establishment of the institute.

John Bushambire, the group chairperson of the crop farmers – who are 55 previously occupying Rwivovo land – said that they have been following up the case for over 18 years with the district but it has failed to clear the debt even after reducing the money from UGX23Bn to UGX6.8Bn.

Bushambire wonders whether government wants to take over their land without any compensation.

“We have been in court for over 18 years with no resolution. We sat with the government and agreed that they pay us UGX6.8Bn. We have waited but no answer to date. We have used our lawyers to find out what’s the government’s stand today,” Bushambire said.

The chairperson of live stock farmers, Lawrence Byomugabe said that by writing to the president, it’s a reminder of his pledge and expression of suffering that farmers are going through during this covid-19 pandemic.

“We have channeled our plight through the LC5 Chairperson and the area MP so that the president may know our suffering. Both the Chairperson and the MP have endorsed our letter.” Said Byomugabe.

On Monday, July 7, they handed over their petition to the Kisoro LC5 boss Abel Bizimana who attached a cover letter and forwarded all documents to the Bufumbira east Member of parliament Hon. Dr Nsaba Buturo James to deliver the documents to statehouse.

Since the laying of a foundation for John Kale Institute for Science and Technology at Rwivovo in Nyakabande on October 14, 2017, the land has been marred by contestations of ownership, despite the Ministry of Education being in possession of a land title under Kisoro District Local Government.

President Museveni when he hen he visited Murora Sub County in Kisoro district early this year, president Museveni raised more hopes when he committed to clearing off Shs 6.8b to the claimants of the land.

Last month, the Bufumbira East MP Dr James Nsaba Buturo wrote to the president, commending the cabinet for approving Bukimbiri Constituency, but also reminding him of the ‘forgotten’ pledges, including JKIST. We are yet to see a response to Buturo’s letter.

Social media also continues to flood with campaigns for JKIST, as different users predict a poor support for the NRM party and the incumbents once works on the institute fails to launch.

Meanwhile, several other opinions have cast doubt on the Education ministry’s attitude towards the establishment of JKIST, some saying that they were not contented with the minister’s stand when she visited Kisoro in May 2018.

A letter sent to Kisoro district leaders from the Education ministry in late 2018 indicated that the Ministry of Finance would make funds for the establishment of the institute available until the Financial Year 2024/2025.

Kisoro has been yearning for a higher institution of learning tjat is owned by goverment as most are private like Metropolitan International University, owned by the former Woman MP Sarah Nyirabashitsi Mateke, Nkumba University long distance learning centre remain the only Degree awarding institutions in Kisoro after the closure of Bishop Barham University College branch at Muhabura Diocese allegedly due to ‘poor enrollment’.

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Other institutions that closed their branches are Cavendish University and Busoga University, while King Caesar University by business tycoon ‘King’ Caesar Agustus Mulenga has failed to kick-off due to logistical challenges.

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