By Ivan Mwine
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has directed the Uganda Police, Resident District Commissioners (RDCs) Ministry of Lands, the Judiciary and all concerned government authorities to ensure that there are no more illegal land evictions in Uganda.
Museveni issued the new directives through a lengthy thread on twitter on Monday night, which we reproduce verbatim below;
“I have issued a directive through the Office of the Prime Minister regarding illegal evictions. These evictions are permitted by corrupt officials in the district. Using the powers given to the President by Articles 98(1) and 99(1) of the Constitution, I direct as follows:
No eviction should be allowed to take place in a district without (1) the District Security Committee, chaired by the RDCs, meeting, looking, and consulting directly the Minister of Lands.
If this is not done and evictions take place, I will hold all the Members of the District Security Committee, except the UPDF representative because he/she may not know the substance of the issues involved, responsible and I will take action against all of them.
Secondly, I request His Lordship the Chief Justice to prevail on his Magistrates and Judges from violating the Constitution by illegally evicting our people in collusion with land grabbers.
I further direct the Minister of Lands to inform the Attorney General about such abuses by the judicial officers, so that legal action can be taken on them.”
The Minister for Lands, Housing and Urban Development Hon. Judith Nabakoobba has since welcomed President Museveni’s new directive, saying that it will help solve the problem of rampant illegal evictions.
“I thank HE @KagutaMuseveni for this important directive stopping all illegal evictions. I call upon members on the District Security Committee to rise to the occasion and restore peace and trust among our people. We all have a right to a place we call home.”
It should be noted that several Ugandans in various parts of the country have over the years been left homeless after they were evicted from their lands by people claiming to be own the same land and the evictees, who are usually armed with questionable court order, are in most cases protected by the police during these evictions.