BY ISAAC MUGERA –

The Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) has re-launched the settlement exercise for landless Ugandans who encroached on government land that was meant for refugees in Kyangwali refugee camp.

The Rt. Hon. 1st Deputy Prime Minister, Gen. Moses Ali, launched the exercise on Saturday 25th July 2020 at the Kasonga Primary School Grounds in Kyangwali Sub county, Kikuube District.

The relaunch ceremony was performed in the presence of the State Minister for Refugees, Hon. Musa Ecweru and State Minister for Lands, Hon. Persis Namuganza.

Gen. Moses Ali performing the re-launch ceremony, flanked by the State Ministers Musa Ecweru and Persis Namuganza in Kyangwali

The exercise had been launched in 2018, but it was halted after the president called for investigations into the whole exercise following community complaints that some government officials wanted to fraudulently apportion land to themselves. Other sections of the public were complaining that government was grabbing peoples’ land to give it to refugees.

While giving his launch remarks, Gen. Moses Ali assured the community leaders in Kyangwali that Ugandans are government’s top priority and therefore government can never grab land from Ugandans to settle refugees as some local politicians have been trying tarnish the exercise.

Gen. Moses Ali said that much as Uganda hosts over 1.4m refugees, there are many times when Ugandans have also been hosted in other countries as refugees; calling upon the people to be understanding and tolerant with government supporting refugees with land.

In this settlement exercise, government through the OPM is settling Ugandan nationals who are genuinely displaced on over 7sq miles of land, off the land meant for refugees in Kyangwali Refugee Camp.

The State Minister for Lands, Hon. Persis Namuganza, laid the fears of the people who demanded for compensation that government has a procedure in resettlement, if anyone has property and is being moved to another place, they will definitely be considered for compensation as stipulated in Article 26 of the Ugandan Constitution.

Hon. Minister, Musa Ecweru promised the people that the exercise will be extremely transparent, and will take into consideration the rights of everyone involved. He presented Brig. Stephen Oluka as the person to lead the process on ground, and will be supported by the technical teams from the respective line ministries.

Kebirungi Jolly, the Kyangwali Settlement Commandant, said that the camp hosts over 123,000 refugees, with the biggest percentage from DRC. She added that there has been animosity between the landlords, the squatters and the refugees; and that settlement will create peaceful existence between Ugandans and Refugees.

Others present were the area member of Parliament for Obuhanguzi County, Hon. Daniel Muhairwe and the DISO for Kikuube District, Mr. Dennis Eliebu, who represented the Resident District Commissioner (RDC).