By Louis Namwanje Kizito
I really pity those people who have hope in this “idiosyncratic” Justice Catherine Bamugemereire commission of inquiry on Land matters or even giving them just a benefit of the doubt!!!
I am one of those people that belongs to the school of thought that this Justice Bamugemeire commission of inquiry on Land is just “Katemba mu kkoti” and a useless waste of taxpayers money.
All along I have been waiting for New forest company directors, including the Chairman of the company Robert Devereux to be summoned before this commission but all in vain and neither, when I was reading their interim findings, did I see anything about Multi-national companies grabbing land in their interim report and possible recommendations from the commission that they handed over to the president before their tenure was even extended. New forest company is a UK based company with UN accreditation and world Bank funding to trade in carbon credits. This company has evicted over 20,000 residents in western Uganda without any compensation to pave way for planting palm oil trees. In 2009, the High court granted the residents an injuction to stop these evictions but the court order was ignored and the evictions still went on anyway with government help.
The same has been done in Kalangala where over 14,000 residents have been displaced by BIDCo, to plant palm oil trees which will render the soils unproductive forever after these palm oil trees are done fulfilling their purpose. If you go to Kalangala, a Palm oil corporations Wilmar International and BIDCO, along with the Ugandan Government and the World Bank, have funded huge palm oil expansion on islands off the coast of Lake Victoria. A quarter of the islands have already been planted with oil palm. Most of this land belonged to local communities and indigenous peoples. People wake up on some days to find bulldozers clearing their land to plant oil palms. These communities have preserved their forests and lands for generations. They can no longer access their fields, wells, firewood and grazing land.
Forests are being destroyed, and pesticides used on the plantations are creating health hazards. All this is done because in Europe, their demand for commodity crops like palm oil is rising, driving land grabs like this one in Kalangala and western Uganda.
European countries plan to double their use of agrofuels by 2020, to fulfil 8.5% of transport energy. If this Justice Bamugemeire commission on land inquiry was not just mere politics, by now they should have grilled BIDCO, Palm oil corporations Wilmar International, Ugandan Government. But this is impossible because after all land is grabbed easily by foreign nationals with the help of government because we have a regime which in a bid to secure regime survival, needs allies in Europe to safe guard it against its weak citizens.
I dare Justice Catherine Bamugemire to summon both New forest company directors and BIDCo. and scream at them relentlessly the way she has been doing to these small dogs such as Betty Amongi and even issue criminal summons to them if they refuse to enter appearance.
This bogus Bamugemeire commission of Inquiry is not even intended to solve any problem. It is intended to be a stage for one woman to scream her lungs out at small dogs grabbing land before the cameras while holistically ignoring the big ones grabbing land so that they continue grabbing land unnoticed. I think it’s Shakespeare that once wrote that, “All the world is a stage, and all men and women are merely players. They have their exits and their entrances. And one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.”
Justice Bamugemeire and her fellow commissioners are just playing out a very well stage-managed drama just to cool people’s emotions without substantively solving people’s problems; just to give them temporary relief.
Now that they have extended their tenure I hope the above said will even enter appearance.