Livestock farmers in Buliisa District cry foul as drought bites hard

Livestock farmers in Buliisa district are counting losses after the long dry spell hit the area leaving their herds of cattle dead due to shortage of grass and water.

According to residents, rain is only received in areas near Murchison Falls National Park whereas other areas are still dry and hot despite it being rainy season for most parts of the country.

Livestock farming has been supporting the residents of Buliisa for decades; however, with the current prolonged dry spell that has hit the region, cattle keepers are counting losses as their herds of Cattle have died due to lack of water and pasture.

Alice Kazimura, a resident of Kakindo Village in Buliisa Town Council says she has lost over eight animals, making it one of the worst dry season ever experience in Bungungu areas.

“Whereas other areas like Biiso Sub County are receiving rain, here our cattle are dying; a cattle now goes to 70.000 shillings,” she says.

John Asiimwe, another cattle keeper from Bulisa town council says he has lost over twenty animals. He says shortage of water and pasture has forced some pastoralist to invade the national game reserve to graze their animals, but this has result into diseases outbreak apparently associated with wild animals.

“The only source of water for now in Bulisa is either Lake Albert or river Waiga which is about 15 kilometers away from his residence in Kakikndo cell in Bulisa town council. Even in the park there is grass though we are not allowed to go there,” he notes
Fred Nkubalirwa another farmer calls upon the government to intervene by constructing water reservoirs as it has done to Karamoja so that they can also have water during dry seasons for their animals in such a crisis.


Court fixes May 11, 2017 to decide whether or not to evict Rwamutonga IDPs again

The High court in Masindi has fixed May 11, 2017 as date to determine whether or not to grant an injunction staying the current eviction warrant that was issued last month seeking vacant possession of over 103 hectares of Land in Rwamutonga village, Bugambe Sub-County in Hoima district. The land is currently occupied by more than 50 families who were evicted from it in 2014 but later returned after a local businessman; Robert Bansigaraho who had laid claim to it decided to hand it back in December, 2017.

The current eviction order seeks to clear the said land of any human being, structure or gardens and give vacant possession of the controversial land to a one Joshua Tibagwa and his family.

DESTITUTE: Community member have lived in a settlement camp for close to three years after they were violently evicted from their land in 204. 53 families that were restored to their land in January this year risk being evicted again after court issued another order for their eviction.
This week the Hoima district security committee failed to reach a consensus on whether to execute the eviction after several factors including the civil society organization (NAPE) intervened to inquire about the legality of the second eviction.

Ever since the Masindi High court Registrar Julia Acio issued this second eviction notice on 4th April this year, Tension has been mounting among the internally displaced persons of Rwamutonga, with most evictees who had sought a thy of breath in their new residence now pondering the next move. This order was supposed to be effected by Thursday this week (May 5, 2017) but could not be effected after lawyers of the victims raised a red flag in court.

According to Nelson Atiki, councilor for Katanga Parish at Bugambe Sub County, Jonathan Tiyo –Manager Justice Centre Uganda and Robert Bansigaraho, the man who restored these 53 families back to the land, the high court registrar addressed their concerns and fixed 11th May, 2017 to decide on the fresh eviction order.
Bansigaraho who admits having erroneously rounded off the communities in his title, says the petition for an injunction is justified by the fact that he is still the legal proprietor of the said land registered by the government of Uganda as of 23rd January 2017 and so Tibagwa has no legal ownership and authority to secure a vacant possession of the said land.

Meanwhile, a team of security officials led by Hoima RDC Isaac Kawooya stormed Rwamutonga village on Thursday evening and told the communities to stand warned for the loaming eviction early next week unless they secured an injunction cancelling the current court order.
Back in Rwamutonga the affected families have vowed to die from their land should government attempt to evict them for the second time. Jesca Keboko, one of the evictees says they have suffered and buried more than enough.  Aloysius Onzima the area LC1 Chairperson says people had even started to cultivate food crops but they are now scared.

Compiled by Robert Katemburura