By Mildred Nambi
Tension is high in Kakuuto Sub County in Rakai district following the impending eviction of squatters from Sango Bay land. The 14000 hectare land covers Kakuuto and Parts of Kyebe Sub County. It was originally leased out to the defunct Sango Bay Sugar Factory. In 2012, government allocated 75% of the Sango bay land to Indian Investors to establish a new Sugar Factory.
Last year, the Minister of Trade and Industry Amelia Kyambadde, disclosed that the Sango Bay land had been allocated to Nusiveda Sugar Limited, an Indian firm to establish a sugar factory following the failure by the previous owners to resume production.
She also claimed that government had already signed an agreement with Nusiveda Sugar Limited to kick start the project this year. However, last week, Ministry of Lands asked all squatters on Sango Bay Land to vacate it by the end of this month to pave way for its redevelopment.
The Commissioner of Land Titles in the Lands Ministry Robert Nyombi, and the Director Physical Planning and Urban Development Savino Katsigaire, claims that the land has been allocated to a UK Based investor to kick start sugar cane growing before the establishment of a multibillion shillings Sugar factory.
The officials who declined to divulge details of the new investor said they were not aware that government had allocated the land to Indian Investors as claimed by Minister Kyambadde. More than 5000 squatters secured sub leases to occupy and utilize the land.
Some of them have banana plantations, livestock and small forests.
The impending eviction of the squatters has left many of them confused, with many threatening not to leave.
The Former Rakai LC5 Chairperson, who is one of the affected residents Vincent Ssetuba Ssemakula, , stands to lose 50 acres of his pine and eucalyptus trees near Mayanja village along Kyappa-Kasensero road. Ssemakula says he is disappointed that the land ministry has allocated the land to a private developer yet he secured a sub lease through Rakai district land board.
He warns that simply driving away residents will to pave way for the investors will lead to clashes.
Yusuf Kanyeyihamba, another resident also says that he secured all documents allowing him to settle on the land.
He has tasked the Lands Ministry to explain the relevancy of the District land Boards if the documents and land titles they issue are not binding.
Kanyeyihamba also says he will seek legal redress if he is illegally evicted.
The Rakai District LC5 Chairperson Benon Mugabicon firms the development saying the Lands Ministry has written notifying them about the allocation of the land to a developer and impending eviction of residents.
Mugabi says despite the fact that some squatters secured land titles and leases to occupy the land, majority of them have forged documents.
He says only those with genuine documents shall be compensated.