Kasese district has failed to secure land for the permanent resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons-IDPs. Last year, the Prime Minister Robinah Nabbanja directed the Ministers of Luwero- Rwenzori Affairs, ICT and National Guidance, and legislators from Kasese to identify land to resettle more than 200 people temporarily settled at Muhokya Sub County headquarters.
Nabbanja said she had been directed by President Yoweri Museveni to ensure the displaced persons are resettled. It followed floods that ravaged the district in 2020 and 2021 causing major rivers to burst their banks living over 10 people dead, property destroyed and hundreds displaced. A year after this directive the district is yet to find land. Last year, the government opened bids for persons with land to express interest.
In December, it zeroed on one seller but the land was later established to be hilly and at risk of storm floods. Earlier this year, five people expressed interest and on assessment, one seller was also identified before a team from OPM visited the land in Muhokya Sub County. However, it was established that while the owner had a title, there are bonafide occupants who had reportedly settled on the land for over 12 years.
They also claimed ownership of the land. Eliphazi Muhindi, the Kasese District LC V Chairperson said that in December last year, they called for bids from suitable sellers to express interests but many of the potential sellers did not satisfy the government standards. He also says that many others didn’t have the required 200 acres.
Muhindi says the second potential seller had over 400 acres and was willing to settle all bonafide occupants on his extra land in case they are found legally on the land. However, he says that this could not be conclusively agreed upon on the day the OPM surveyed the land but the seller was given a chance to engage the occupants and present a harmonized position to the district.
Muhindi is however worried that the district might lose the money to purchase the land when the financial year ends this month.
The leaders are requesting the government to allow persons with less than 200 acres to also present their interests. Muhindi says the government can acquire the 200 acres in portions arguing that it’s difficult to find a person selling 200 acres at once in the district.
Alimah Aryemah, the chairperson of Muhokya IDP camp, says there is an urgent need to fully settle IDPs. She says over 30 temporary structures were last month destroyed by heavy rains, adding that parents are struggling to feed their household members due to the absence of land for farming.
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