Kenya land grabbers invade Bulambuli, target local leaders

Mr Paul Kimamati, the BUlambuli district NRM chairperson addresses the media upon release on bail in Bulambli court Next to him in a cap is the secretary for Bulako clan Mr George Cheskat. David Mafabi IMG-20240410-.jpg

Mr Paul Kimamati, the BUlambuli district NRM chairperson addresses the media upon release on bail in Bulambli court Next to him in a cap is the secretary for Bulako clan Mr George Cheskat (PHOTO/David Mafabi)

BULAMBULI – Land in Bulambuli district is under siege reportedly from Kenya land grabbers led by one Mr John Wamalwa, a Kenyan citizen.

And because local leaders have been resisting this to protect their people, the land grabbers are now targeting local leaders to have them arrested and intimidated to give in to land grabbing.

A group led by Mr John Wamalwa Wanjala April 8 had the Bulambuli NRM chairperson, Mr Paul Kimamati arrested by police, intimidated and later released after the local people threatened to demonstrate.

Reports gathered by UG Standard indicate that the Kenyan land grabbers driven by unbridled greed are making false claims over land [block 4] in Bwikonge sub-county, something that reflects a wider epidemic of land grabbing that has been plaguing the district and the country at large for years.

Mr Kimamati says that Mr Wamalwa and others called him in a meeting and asked him to sign a document allowing them to take over land Block 4 in Bwikonge sub-county but that he stormed out of the meeting and vowed to fight for his people.

“They met me and asked me to sign a document that would allow them take over block 4 land and I refused and stormed out of the meeting. And this is why I am being arrested,” Mr Kimamati said.

He revealed that the land grabbers are using a lot of money to corrupt security to arrest the local leaders who are resisting the land grabbing by the Kenyans.

“The RDC Bulambuli Mr Stanley Bayoole called me and immediately I reached his office, police came and arrested me, this was a coordinated move which means the land grabbers are using RDC and Police to intimidate us,” said Mr Kimamati.

This comes barely a year after over 4,000 people evicted from their land in three sub counties in Bulambuli district claimed their plots of land have been grabbed by Kenyans and a local Member of Parliament Mr Inyasio Mudimi who are behind their torment.

According to locals, goons hired by the politician [MP] armed with sticks, stones, bricks and escorted by police come and find them cultivating, descend on them, beat them seriously claiming that they were digging in the land that does not belong to them.

Although Mr Wamalwa from Chwele in Kenya claims to be from Uganda in Bulambuli, Bulako clan, the secretary of Bulako clan in Uganda Mr George Cheskat says he does not know him completely and that he dose not belong to Bulako clan nor do his parents.

“Mr Wamalwa is not from Bulako clan, we don’t know him, and the claims he makes over this land are false, he is a thief and land grabber who should be arrested,” said Mr Cheskat.

Despite police reforms in Uganda and strengthened local governance put in place to tackle problems like this, the availability of guns and inadequate policing has turned Bulambuli district into a nightmare for settlers.

Decades of sporadic Karamojong cattle rustling land-grabbing incidents have evolved into a more worrying security threat along Bulambuli [Muyembe]-Karamoja stretch of road.

Mr Kimamati, the NRM ruling party chairperson and allegedly one of the strong NRM mobilisers for President Museveni says having a safe place for his people is vital and that there is a need for stronger police presence and new RDC for the district.

“We need police to be visible in Bwikonge where Kenyans are coming to grab land as both a deterrent and quick response to crime – as well as making it clear that crime and violence is absolutely unacceptable,” said Mr Kimamati adding that “I am also aware that there are politicians fighting me because I am pro-people,”

Local people who asked for anonymity said they have mobilised over 6000 settlers on the land to attack anybody from Kenya coming to their land, this means there is war in the waiting.

He explained that the impact of land grabbing goes beyond mere land disputes as it strikes the heart of societal integrity and undermines confidence in governance structures.

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