By Yosam Gucwaki
Masindi moslems and residents from the three villages of Bokwe, Kasanyi and Kigaragara in Pakanyi Sub county Masindi district are feuding over compensation from Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA).
Speaking during a meeting organized by UNRA at Kasenyi village, residents explained that they doubt the authenticity of the land title the moselems are possess adding that the residents are the rightful owners of the land.
James Musinguzi a resident of Bokwe said that the moslemsâ€™ lease expired long time ago and they are just struggling to extend it now after realizing that UNRA was going to compensate people.
He also revealed that they have stayed on the disputed land for years and years but they have never seen anyone claiming its ownership.
Frank Byamukama argued that since they have failed to get assistance from the relevant offices, they have petitioned the office of the president adding that they are optimistic that they will get justice after its intervention.
Richard Mugabi, the land acquisition officer from UNRA explained that if the land has a genuine title, the owner of the title will take 40% while the Bibanja holders take 60% adding that the money is available but they are waiting for the two parties to agree with each other.
But the residents contended that they should receive 100% compensation since the moselems have never been the rightful owners of the land.
The land in question is 301 hectares located along the 150 Kisanja Para road which is under construction in Pakanyi Sub county Masindi district.
The fight over compensation has currently stalled the project along the stretch where there is a disputed land.
The resident district commissioner Godfrey Nyakahuma who also attended the meeting asked the residents to pave way for the project to proceed as they settle out their matter something which the residents agreed to.
Nyahuma advised the residents to go in court in case they have a dispute but not to go to offices which will end up misleading them. He added that he was going to engage court official to handle the cases arising from compensation expeditiously.
Sheikh Safian Mugisa the district Khad Masindi who also attended the meeting said that they are the rightful owners of the land arguing that they acquired it in 1970s from Masindi district land board arguing that the 40% should go to them.
He also noted that they have been paying ground rent to Masindi district local government something which signifies that they are the true owners.
Mugisa also stated that very many attempts have been made to develop the land but they have been getting a lot of threats from the squatters hence failing to utilize their land.
Kassimu Ssembuga the secretary Masindi district Moslem asked for harmony noting that they have no intentions of chasing anyone but to stay together.
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