Its treasonous to evict people during COVID-19 lockdown – Ministers

Land Evictions in Uganda

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Anybody evicting people from land during the Covid-19 lockdown is nothing but an enemy of the state and will be treated as such, the Security Minister General Elly Tuwmine and his Lands counterpart, Beti Kamya have warned.

They were speaking at the government owned Uganda Media Centre. The two ministers were accompanied by their Justice and Constitutional Affairs counterpart Prof Ephraim Kamuntu, Local government Minister Raphael Magyezi, ICT and National Guidance Minister Minister Judith Nabakooba and State Lands Minister Persis Namuganza.

Gen.Tumwine said they are going to deal ruthlessly with anybody no matter their status or rank in government who tries to evict people now. He said most of the major crimes that have been recorded during the lockdown arise from land disputes.

Gen. Tumwine said security was ready to swing in action and arrest anybody who will be found violating the order.

He appealed to everyone to cooperate and comply with the directive.

“The courts are not working; there is no transport, why do you insist on evicting people? We have started a war and all of us should join in to say that there must not be any land transactions until we open. This time there is no order from above, we are ready for anyone whether security officers, ministers or RDCs, whoever is going to interfere in this, we are going to arrest that person,” Gen. Tuwmine said.

For her part, Kamya described as treasonous any officer who will try to overturn her orders and oversee land evictions. She said when she first issued her orders freezing all land transactions on April 16, many RDCs around the country didn’t heed.

She said for the five weeks the country has been under the lockdown, the State House Anti-Corruption Unit headed by Col. Edith Nakalema has received 1500 petitions from across the country of people who have been evicted. An equal number of cases was also reported in her ministry.

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This, she said necessitated coming up with an inter-ministerial meeting that included the ministers of Local government Raphael Magyezi, Justice and Constitutional Affairs Ephraim Kamuntu, Defense Charles Engola, Internal Affairs Jeje Odong, Deputy Attorney General Jackson Kafuzi Security, Elly Tumwine and ICT Judith Nabakooba to agree on a joint action. For his part, Kamuntu said courts as directed by the Chief Justice must cease issuing any land related orders.

For his part Magyezi called upon Local councils to equally cease any land transactions. “No land eviction should go on in your areas; citizens must not be forced to leave their land. District Land Board activities too should also be halted,” Magyezi said.