Engineer Hillary Onek, the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees has said he survived an attack on him by over 1,000 people who were evicted from their ancestral land in Kyangwali sub-county in Kikuube district.
The minister accuses two members of Parliament of hatching the plot to assault him while performing his duties to seek a solution and build peace in the area.Even worse, the minister accused the Resident District Commissioner who represents the President of backing the plot to attack him and inciting women to strip naked in public.
The evicted residents have currently pitched camp at the offices of the Kikuube RDC.
On Wednesday last week, minister Onek travelled to Kikuube to meet the evictees who had gathered at the RDC’s offices protesting their brutal eviction from their ancestral land in Kyangwali sub-county but he later changed his decision and only met some district leaders.
Now in a telephone interview with Uganda Radio Network on Monday morning, Onek says he declined to meet the evicted residents after he received intelligence-led information that the evicted residents were mobilized to undress before him and also attack him should he appear before them.
Onek is particularly accusing Francis Kazini, the Buhaguzi county Member of Parliament, Florence Natumanya, the Kikuube Woman MP and Amlan Tumusiime, the Kikuube RDC for having mobilized the residents to pitch camp at the RDC’s office and also to attack him.
He says after detecting that the situation would be tense on meeting the affected residents, he decided to reverse his decision for security reasons and also for his safety.
According to Onek, before he travelled to Kikuube, he summoned the two MPs in his office for a preparatory meeting on how the Kyangwali land matter could be settled amicably but the two MPs did not show up.
He adds that when he travelled to Kikuube, he invited the MPs for a meeting at the district headquarters before they could meet the affected residents, but they still refused to meet him yet they were at the RDC’s office busy mobilizing the affected residents to attack him should he appear before them.
Onek says the land in question belongs to the government adding that those who are protesting their eviction from the land and have pitched camp at the RDC’s office have been stage-managed by some individuals who want to win their political goals since they are even providing them with food to feed on.
When contacted, the two MPs together with the RDC have all refuted the allegations being put against them by Onek.
Florence Natumanya, the Kikuube woman MP says she is not at any point involved in the mobilisation of the evicted residents to pitch camp at the offices of the Kikuube RDC.
Francis Kazini, the Buhaguzi County MP says Onek’s allegation against him is baseless.
Amlan Tumusiime, the Kikuube RDC says he has no hand in the mobilization of the evicted residents to camp at his office saying his role is to protect the residents from any security threat since they have camped at his office as the government provides a solution to their plight.
The more than 1,000 people evicted from their ancestral land in Kyangwali sub-county have for the last two weeks pitched camp at the offices of the Kikuube Resident District Commissioner-RDC Amlan Tumusiime protesting their eviction.
The affected mainly women and children were evicted from Bukinda A and B, Bukinda 2, Kavule, Bwizibwera A and B, Kyeya A and B, Nyaruhanga, Kabirizi, Nyamigisa A and B and Katoma villages among others in Kasonga parish, Kyangwali sub-county.
They stormed the RDC’s office two weeks back demanding his intervention to resettle them back on their ancestral land.
The residents are feuding with Kyangwali Refugee settlement over 36 square kilometres of land.
Officials from the settlement and the Office of the Prime Minister have been feuding with the residents since 2013 over the ownership of the land in question.
In September 2013, OPM officials backed by the police and UPDF evicted more than 60,000 people from the contested land and resettled their Congolese refugees. The residents were forced to settle in camps in Kyeya village in Kyangwali sub-county under very poor conditions where they have stayed to date.
In 2016 and 2018, President Museveni ordered that the evicted residents be resettled on their ancestral land. To date, the concerned officials are yet to implement the directive.
This situation has compelled the residents to pitch camp at the RDC’s office seeking his intervention to enforce the president’s directive to resettle them on their ancestral land immediately.
In October 2021, Prime Minister Nabbanja halted all the activities by officials from her office on the contested land.
This was during her visit to the area to assess the condition of the evictees where she discovered that some officials from the OPM and Kyangwali refugee settlement area had connived to erect structures for refugees on the contested land, planted crops like beans, maize, cassava, bananas and groundnuts among others.
According to Nabbanja, this could be a move by some OPM and Kyangwali refugee settlement area officials to fraudulently grab the land from locals neighbouring the settlement.
She ordered the Minister for disaster preparedness, the Camp commandant of Kyangwali refugee’s settlement area, Kikuube District Police Commander and the RDC to ensure that no more activity takes place on the contested land until investigations into the wrangles are completed.