The Cantonment Commander of Kaweweta army barracks in Nakaseke district, Brig. Gen. Christopher Kazoora has denied claims of his involvement in fictitious acquisition of land that resulted into 20 to 30 families displaced.
He was Thursday appearing before the ongoing commission of inquiry into land matters to respond to a complaint lodged by residents neighboring the barracks who say were treated unfairly when a 1.8 square mile piece of land was distributed.
In 2014, land on which the army installation sits measuring 36 square miles was surveyed before being subdivided to give half of it to Turkish investors as directed by President Museveni.
In the course of the survey, it was discovered that the land was in excess of another 1.87 square miles usually referred to as a residue.
Kazoora told the commission that subsequently, the Chief of Defence Forces then Gen. Katumba Wamala instructed that the residue be given to 12 army veterans who had served in the area.
Information before the commission however indicates that eventually, some political leaders in Nakaseke district and other non-veterans applied and acquired titles on the same piece of land.
“When we conducted hearings in Luweero, people kept mentioning your name as one of the people who harassed them and evicted them,” the lead counsel to the commission told the army officer.
“It is unfortunate. I have read these things in the media. I don’t own land in Kaweweta and neither did I apply for it. I think since everything (including evictions) goes through me as commander, that’s why locals point at me,” the General responded.
He said the President had issued several warnings to locals encroaching on the army land asking them to vacate since the investor was going to utilize it.
It is however how these evictions were executed with brutal force and destruction that was of concern to the commission.
“Some of these people are not even sitting on the residue but rather on the actual 36 square miles. A one Rwemirembe was trying to grow a banana plantation on this same land and I ordered my officers to destroy it,” Kazoora said.
He went on to state; “Most of these encroachers are cattle herders who will stop at nothing to get pasture for their animals. They are making false accusations to attract sympathy from the commission so that they can stay on army land.”
The commission also discovered some inconsistencies in the documents and process through which the Kinyogoga Army Veterans Association of 12 people was allocated the land.
One of the documents presented to the Area Land Committee while the association applied for land, had Kakooza’s name, signature and thumbprint.
When showed the document on Thursday, he denied knowledge of it claiming; “This isn’t my signature. It is forgery. I can’t tell who forged it but I suspect the beneficiaries maybe.”
“We have received information that there’s a squabble in the army land and your name was mentioned. Concerned citizens are worried about how they are being treated and how that residue is being handled they filed an application to get land earlier than district officials who got land and are not from that area,” Justice Catherine Bamugemereire stated.
She also questioned the army boss on claims that politicians in Nakaseke district use soldiers from Kaweweta barracks to threaten and intimidate locals.
But Kazoora denied knowledge of this saying it was highly unlikely.
Regarding the concern on the land distribution, he maintained; “I only got information last month that titles were being acquired in the said residue. I will inform my superiors on the situation.”