Decades of systemic unfairness in land use, control, and governance have plagued Uganda, resulting in the forceful eviction of hundreds of thousands of citizens, while many more live under constant threat of displacement. Land evictions in the country are often tainted by corruption, unfair policies, and a host of injustices that have seeped deep into the fabric of the Ugandan land tenure system.

The system has worsened in recent years as the government persistently continues to give away publicly owned property or consent to illicit land grabbing under the pretext of development purposes, creating refugee settlement areas, and wildlife preservation.

Land-related injustices in Uganda are on the rise, with state security institutions often employed as tools for forceful eviction. A glaring example is the plight of the Bukinda-Kyangwali community in Kikuube district. This community has been unjustly stripped of their land ownership rights. The government, acting through the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), seized over 36 square kilometers of their land to establish the Kyangwali refugee settlement, leaving approximately 60,000 Kyangwali citizens landless and homeless. In their homeland, the Kyangwali people have become strangers, forced to depend on the mercy of others, living on others’ compounds, and begging for necessities such as food and medical supplies for over two years. They are unable to afford their children’s education or provide for their basic needs and well-being, trapped in a cycle of deprivation and powerlessness. This egregious injustice highlights the urgent need for accountability and reform in Uganda’s land governance system, where vulnerable communities are consistently marginalized and deprived of their fundamental rights.

Oliva Kabularo

Oliva Kabularo, aged 54, resides in the Bukinda-Kyangwali community and is among the victims of forced eviction. She paints a grim picture of their current situation, emphasizing the dire conditions they now endure. The forceful eviction has plunged them into a state of despair and desperation, leaving them destitute and vulnerable. Unable to engage in economic activities such as agriculture, which previously sustained their livelihoods, they find themselves unable to provide for their families. The loss of their land has not only robbed them of their homes but has also shattered their means of survival, leaving them grappling with uncertainty and hardship. Oliva’s story serves as a poignant reminder of the human cost of forced evictions, highlighting the urgent need for justice and support for those whose lives have been upended by such injustices.


“Our land was grabbed from us and given to refugees. They freely use it to grow crops while we the rightful owners of the land are suffering. Most painful of all is that not even the 2016 presidential directive helped us regain our land from the greedy OPM officials.” Oliva explains.

Children are the most affected.

The impact of forced eviction extends far beyond the adults in the community; it disproportionately affects the most vulnerable members, particularly the girl child. In the wake of displacement, young girls are thrust into a perilous environment where they are often subjected to exploitation and abuse. Desperate to survive amidst the upheaval, many girls fall victim to older men who exploit their vulnerability in exchange for basic necessities. The harrowing reality is that these girls are forced into situations where they are at risk of sexual violence and exploitation, further compounding the trauma of displacement. Their innocence is shattered as they grapple with the harsh realities of their circumstances, robbed of their childhood and dignity. This tragic consequence of forced eviction underscores the urgent need for comprehensive support and protection for vulnerable populations, especially young girls, who are the most susceptible to the devastating effects of displacement and exploitation.

 “Because we’re displaced from our land, we go long distances in search of food, leaving our girls behind. Older men take advantage of them, they impregnate them, and some end up dying from pregnancy related complications.”

Even though President Museveni had directed that the evicted Kyangwali community members be resettled on their ancestral land, the same president shockingly, authored a letter that referred to Kyangwali people as liars who wanted to steal government land. Failure by the state to prosecute those responsible for horrendous crimes orchestrated against the people of Kyangwali is a clear indication of a lack of goodwill from the government.

“OPM officials are intimidating us, arresting us, and destroying our property including our cocoa plantations, houses, and places of worship. We are so worried of the powerful individuals defying the presidential directive to reinstate us on our land,” Fred Rwambambari

Fred Rwambambari

He highlighted prominent state actors involved in land grabbing within Kikuube district. Among them are Hillary Onek and his associates, including Bafaki, the Kyangwali sub-county local council three (LC3) chairperson, as well as Donosias and Blessing Afasia. These individuals have been implicated in orchestrating mass illegal evictions in the district. It is imperative that they are held accountable for their actions and brought to justice for their criminal involvement in the forced displacement of communities in Kikuube.

Beatrice Kajumba, aged 75, is among the countless victims of illegal eviction from Kyangwali in Kikuube district. She shares a similar fate to many others, having lost her land to officials from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM). Despite being born and spending her entire life in the area, Beatrice is now stripped of her rights to her land.

As a grandmother burdened with significant responsibilities, Beatrice faces immense challenges in providing for her grandchildren. Compounding her struggles is the mysterious disappearance of her five children under unknown circumstances, leaving her to care for their offspring alone. Despite the adversity she faces, Beatrice perseveres, laboring tirelessly to ensure the well-being of her grandchildren amidst the upheaval caused by the unjust eviction. Her story is a poignant reminder of the human toll exacted by land grabbing and forced displacement, underscoring the urgent need for justice and support for those unjustly affected.

“We have nowhere to put up our heads, nowhere to raise our children, nowhere to educate them because even the schools we had were destroyed by the OPM officials.”

The Kyangwali community walks from Kikuube district to the Statehouse in Kampala to demand the return of their land

Last week, a courageous group of over 100 individuals, predominantly women, and children, embarked on a grueling journey spanning more than a week and covering a distance of approximately 320 kilometers from Kikuube district to the State House Land Department Office in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda. Their mission: is to confront the ongoing injustices of illegal evictions that have plunged them into unimaginable suffering. Enduring the harshest conditions along their challenging trek, these determined individuals traversed unforgiving terrain, braving harsh weather, steep slopes, and scorching temperatures exceeding 38°C. Throughout their arduous journey, they shared hours and days with strangers, united by a common cause—to demand justice. Among them were brave women, some even pregnant, who fearlessly organized themselves to push back against the injustices of land grabbing. Their mission was clear: to protect their lives and livelihoods, and to ensure that their voices were heard in the corridors of power. As they marched forward, they carried the hopes and dreams of countless others affected by land injustice, inspiring a movement of solidarity and resistance against oppression.

“We decided to organize as women to walk from Kikuube to the Statehouse in Kampala so that we can die at the president’s Office.  Even though our legs are swollen with lots of pain, we will not relent. The government should return our land to us because it’s where our ancestors lived, died, and were buried.” Beatrice Kajumba

Mary Tusiime, 16, rests during the trek to the Statehouse

The quest for justice undertaken by the Kyangwali community did not exempt a 16-year-old expectant mother, Mary Chamageru Tusiime, from its trials. Commencing her journey from Kikuube district with a nine-month pregnancy, Mary’s fellow travelers anticipated her delivery before reaching their destination. However, luck was on their side, as upon reaching Kampala City Square where they set up camp, Mary miraculously gave birth to a baby boy without any medical assistance. Mary’s resilience and unwavering determination are nothing short of remarkable. Despite the challenges posed by her condition, she remained steadfast in her resolve to seek justice. Her decision to trek such long distances, even in her delicate state, serves as a testament to her courage and unwavering commitment to the cause. For Mary, the journey was not only a physical test but also a manifestation of her burning desire for justice and a better future for herself and her child.

Mary Tusiime, gave birth at the city square after arriving in the capital city

“At my age, I failed to study because everything is not working in our favor, and this is why I decided to join my community members to fight for our land. Even though I’m tired with no strength, our support is in our land.” “Mary Tusiime.

“We decided to walk to the State House, department of Lands in Kampala because of the injustices we’ve been facing for a long time. Although we’ve tried using multiple lawful ways to raise our concerns, the laws and our leaders have failed us, leaving us with no option but to take a move to walk for justice.” Hamuza Businde.

Ove 100 women and children braved the long-distance

Since 2018 when the brutal evictions began, numerous groups comprising women, men, and children have vehemently protested, expressing their discontent to various offices within the Kikuube district. They have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the pursuit of justice by harnessing the power of nonviolent resistance, organizing a series of actions aimed at demanding justice and exposing the perpetrators. Their actions included the occupation of the compound belonging to their area Member of Parliament, Flora Natumanya, for two years. Additionally, they staged a prolonged occupation at the office of the Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Amlan Tumusiime, persisting for eight months in their quest for justice.

Through their sustained and determined actions, these individuals have underscored their refusal to accept the injustices perpetrated against them.

The plight of the Kyangwali community stands as a stark reminder of the injustices perpetuated through land grabbing and forced evictions in Uganda. Their resilience, courage, and unwavering commitment to justice amidst immense adversity serve as a beacon of hope in the face of oppression.

It is incumbent upon the government of Uganda to heed the voices of the marginalized and vulnerable, to acknowledge the pain and suffering inflicted upon the Kyangwali people, and to take immediate action to rectify the injustices perpetrated against them. The government must cease its complicity in land grabbing and hold accountable those responsible for the unlawful dispossession of communities from their ancestral lands.

We call upon the government to uphold its duty to protect the rights of all citizens, irrespective of their socioeconomic status or background, and to ensure that justice prevails for the Kyangwali community and others affected by similar injustices. It is time to end the double standards that perpetuate inequality and exploitation and to reinstate the Kyangwali people to their rightful land, where they can rebuild their lives and futures with dignity and security.

We stand in solidarity with the Kyangwali community and all those affected by land injustices. Let our collective voices echo the call for accountability, justice, and the restoration of land rights for all. Only through concerted action and genuine commitment to change can we build a more just and equitable society for generations to come.

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