RCC suspended over siding with businessman to evict 87-year-old woman
The Minister for Presidency, Milly Babirye Babalanda has suspended Masaka Resident City Commissioner, Mr Ronald Katende over failure to execute the presidential directive on land evictions.
It is alleged that Mr Katende aided the eviction of a family from its ancestral land at Kasijagirwa Village, Kimaanya-Kabonera Municipality in Masaka City without following rightful procedures.
Ms Asha Nakanwagi, 87, and Ms Teo Nabukeera accuses Mr Katende of siding with two wealthy businessmen, Francis Mbuga and another only identified Kakeeto to evict them from their piece of land.
“We have frequented his [Katende] office pleading for his intervention in vain. He instead asked us to vacate our land because we were fighting with rich people whom we couldn’t defeat,” Ms Nakanwagi told this reporter.
The elderly woman also accused Masaka Chief Magistrate, Sylvia Nvanungi, of making a ruling on the matter and ordering their eviction without visiting the disputed land.
“Why would a magistrate decide a land matter without going on ground to see what is there? Despite the evidence we presented about the ownership of our land, the court still said the land doesn’t belong to us,” Ms Nabukeera said.
The contested piece of land measures 6.5 acres which, according to Nakanwagi was bequeathed to her by her late father.
Nabukeera said that since the eviction was conducted, they sleep in the cold which puts their lives in danger.
“Whoever steps on that land, he or she faces arrest and one of our relatives (Leonard Nsamba) was arrested on orders of the RCC and he was strong pillar in fighting for our interests on this land,” she said.
Ms Peace Nakalyango, another occupant on the disputed land also accused Mr Katende of directly telling her to vacate the land.
“I went to his office to seek help but what he told me indicated that he was already biased and we would not get any help from him. He told me to leave the land for Mbuga because we shall not defeat him since he has got a lot of money,” Ms Nakalyango said.
Ms Nakanwagi said they were also ordered to exhume the remains of their deceased relatives and relocate them elsewhere.
Addressing journalists over the weekend, Ms Babalanda who supervises the RCCs and RDCs said Mr Katende had been ordered to step aside to allow investigations into his conduct.
“We are going to investigate whether he went through the rightful procedures after receiving an eviction order from court and whether he wrote to the Land Minister or not. If found culpable, action will be taken,” Ms Babalanda said.
In his defense, Mr Katende, who has served in the position for 11 months, said he was enforcing a lawful court order.
“I did nothing wrong. I was only enforcing a court order,” he said.