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18Years After Mass Eviction, Mubende Residents Have Never Recovered

Nearly two decades ago, about 400 families in Mubende district were forcefully removed from their land measuring 11.6 square miles.

These were evicted in August 2001 by Kaweri Coffee Plantation, owned by Neumann Gruppe, a German coffee producer.

During the process, the victims say, UPDF officials violently evicted them from their land, mistreated them and burned down their houses, in order to clear the land and lease it to Kaweri to establish a coffee plantation

Ever since, dozens were rendered and are still homeless, a number of families have never been united, many have passed away, while others continue to live in fearful miserable lives.

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For years now, those that have lived on continue to fight to regain their land. They say they have lost hope for help from those in leadership, and now await precious justice from court.

Some of these victims, suffered double eviction as they were later on removed from Kambuye village where they had just resettled.

One such, Mrs Joyce Namakula, 54, widowed, now lives in a rented house in Kawuula in Mubende district.

“In Kaweri we had a family land of 10 acres which my late husband had inherited from Ssentamu Joseph,” she says.

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In the eviction process, she says, she lost most of her valuables, her husband who was killed, and her child who disappeared from the farm under unclear circumstances.

“After the eviction, I acquired 2 acres of land in Kambuye village at 1.4 million shillings. Later I was evicted by George Kaweesi without compensating me anything saying that I illegally occupied his land.”

Namakula now has to pay monthly rent of 20,000 shillings but since she is unemployed, she has to beg this money from her children or well-wishers.

Peter Kayiira Baleke, 57, the leader of the Kaweri evictees says this group is still hopeful that court will hand them back their land.

Peter Baleke one of the evicted people displaying a map showing ownership of the land in question

“At first when the matter was returned to High Court our lawyers by then asked us for 65 million shillings which we failed to raise. But later we received assistance from Action Aid, FIAN and Network of Public Interest Lawyers, who are providing us free legal services”, Baleke says.

In his recent visit to the area, President Museveni pledged support upon learning about the plight of the residents.

In the meantime, there are fears of more looming evictions.

Fred Lutaaya, the chairperson of Kawuula cell in Mubende East says there is a simmering move to evict more residents in this village a bid to expand the Kaweri plantation.

Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, during his visit to Kaweri Coffee factory early this week, assured the residents the matter is being handled at administrative level.

Kibuuka Francis Amooti the LC 5 chairperson Mubende district asked the victims to keep heart and avoid being misled by politicians.

“The recent message from the Prime minster has given me hope because ever since this matter started I had never received such a promising statement” remarked Amooti

This case which is before High Court judge Henry Kaweesa is still under mediation.

If mediation fails, then court will hear the matter starting December 2nd 2019 in Kampala.

Speaking at an event on Wednesday at the Kaweri Coffee farm playground, the farm owner David Neuman declined to discuss the issue of land eviction.

He pointed out however that his farm currently employs 160 permanent workers and has helped develop the area.

Peter Baleke one of the evicted people displaying a map showing ownership of the land in question

Namakula Joyce 54yr  a widow who was evicted twice worried about her future

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