FDC’s Col Dr Kizza Besigye, on Friday led a team of opposition leaders and legal experts to Lusanja village in Kasangati Town Council, Wakiso District where hundreds of people were brutally evicted from their land and their houses and property destroyed.
Besigye told hundreds of locals who gathered for the meeting that he and his team were prepared to fight for them until they are fully compensated and those that tormented them brought to justice.
At the start of the month over 300 families in this area were evicted, they houses demolished and their crops destroyed on the orders of one businessman Medard Kiconco.
Mr Kiconco, who claims ownership of the 10 acre land, says he obtained an eviction order from court, which locals however, deny ever being served with.
The court bailiffs who carried out the demolition were according to locals, guarded heavily by the armed forces.
One of the locals told the opposition leaders, “They never let us save anything from the houses. If you went in to grab something, they threw in a teargas canister to get you out. They beat us. Many of us were hospitalized.”
Col Besigye who was flanked by Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago along with several opposition Mps, said they had assembled a competent legal team to prosecute Mr Kiconco and the officers involved in the eviction.
“We heard about what happened here and we came not just to lament but to also fight side by side with the people of Lusanje,” he said.
According to Lord Mayor Lukwago, the team of lawyers include among others Counsels Ladislaus Rwakafuzi, Abdullah Kiwanuka, Nathan Mpenje among others.
These, he said, had already started on gathering facts the disputed land and documenting the criminal acts involved in the eviction.
“They are registering all the victims who they will be representing. They will make sure that each one if fully compensated.”
Besigye’s team, besides the legal support, came along with material relief items to the people whose homes were destroyed.
The items included iron sheets, construction tools and cash.
These, Besigye said, were meant to help the affected residents set up essential structures such as toilets to help mitigate the hygiene challenge that is apparent in the area.
Many of the families were found sleeping in tents provided by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
Col Besigye castigated President Yoweri Museveni who he said, did not do much to help the victims.
Museveni visited the site on October 16th and halted the eviction exercise. He also promised to send logistical support to the locals.
The President told them that government has over time opposed the eviction of people from their land without compensating them.
But Besigye said Museveni was complicit in this illegality.
“He came here and had courage to address people living in UNHCR tents, as if he was superintending over a refugee camp of his own citizens here in Wakiso,” Besigye said.
“It’s a shame that he could come and talk casually and leave people who have no toilets, no water pints or shelter; people who pay taxes living in this dangerous situation. This is something that is extremely detestable.”
Lord Mayor Lukwago said the legal team will be suing Mr Kiconco for the illegal eviction and brutality meted on the residents.
He noted that the court order which he obtained for the eviction was only for 16 people, and not all the hundreds of residents on the land.
“Land grabbers are supported by this government,” the Lord Mayor claimed.
“Kiconco doesn’t own a single teargas factory or armoury. In all my life as a lawyer I have never seen an eviction that is executed with teargas.”
Some of the locals revealed that Mr Kiconco offered them only Shs. 5million and often intimidated them.
“It was clear that he had someone powerful behind him,” said one of the locals.
During President Museveni’s visit at the site, some of the locals accused his brother, Gen Salim Laleh of being involved in the eviction.
These claimed that some of the people that served them with eviction notices were soldiers from the Operation Wealth Creation program which is headed by Gen Saleh.
But while appearing before the Land Probe Commission of Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, Mr Kiconco dismissed the claim.
“I am not helped by anyone from State House or the First Family; I only evicted people from my own land,” he said.