Finally !! Lusanja eviction victims to get compensation

A woman whose house was demolished during the Lusanja evictions in Wakiso district, shelters a charcoal stove besides her makeshift house after the downpour yesterday

Parliament on Wednesday directed the Government to immediately provide resources including building materials to help the over 1,000 Lusanja residents who were illegally evicted two months ago to rebuild their houses which were demolished.

The decision made by Parliament was anchored on a motion moved by Masaka Municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga, which was overwhelmingly supported by legislators across the political divide. In a statement presented to Parliament on Tuesday, the Attorney General (AG) William Byaruhanga, had said the Government had discovered the eviction was illegally done and that it was even executed in a wrong place.

Mpuuga argued in his motion, which Parliament passed, that since the AG had admitted that the evictions were done illegally, it was necessary for government to compensate the Lusanja residents for the damage caused to them.

On Tuesday, the AG told Parliament that the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) had slapped three charges of poor standard work, conduct prejudicial to the good image of service and unsatisfactory performance of duty against a magistrate and court registrar over the controversial evictions in Lusanja. Nabweru Court Chief Magistrate Ester Rebecca Nasambu and the High Court registrar Baker Rwatooro were forwarded to the JSC for disciplinary action by the Chief Registrar, Esta Nambayo.

The duo is supposed to appear before a full committee of JSC, chaired by Justice Benjamin Kabiito on a date to be announced in future.However, the senior communications officer of the Judiciary, Solomon Muyita,yesterday told New Vision that the duo had not yet been interdicted.

Mpuuga argued: “These illegal evictions happened because of mistakes which were made by government officers who included judicial officer sand Police officers. It is, therefore, necessary for Government to compensate the people.”

In the Mpuuga motion, Parliament also resolved that Government takes immediate action to prosecute its judicial and Police officials who were involved in undertaking the illegal eviction. Parliament asked the Government to provide emergence relief items to the people of Lusanja including food items and temporary accommodation.

Premised on concerns from various MPs that similar illegal evictions aided by powerful people in government are happening in various parts of the country, Parliament resolved that Government undertakes a special investigation into such acts, holds all the culprits accountable, and helps evicted people to be resettled on their land.

Considering a proposal from Bugula County MP Henry Kibalyato ensure its resolutions are implemented, Parliament resolved that Government would have to, in the nearby future, report to Parliament the steps taken to implement its directives.

On Tuesday, legislators vehemently castigated government for taking long to help the Lusanja residents reconstruct the houses and for not taking immediate action to reprimand the judicial and Police officers who executed the eviction which was done under the cover of darkness.

Some of the Lusanja victims attended the Parliament sittings on both Tuesday and Wednesday as Parliament deliberated their concerns. Byaruhanga assured Parliament that he would present the resolutions to Cabinet and follow up on their implementation.

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Lukwago Joseph grew up in a newspaper family, and rumor has it that instead of playing the guitar in his infancy, his parents put a reporter’s notebook and a pen next to him shortly after he turned born eight years. Before becoming editor of UGANDANZ, Lukwago was a parliament news editor for WBS TV. He joined UGANDANZ in July 2018, A few months after the company launched. Lukwago also spent five years as a freelance reporter, where he covered reporting for the highest bidder, intelligence, foreign policy, and Ugandan police. Lukwago graduated from Makerere University in 2008 with a B.A. in Journalism and worked on his college newspaper.