PHOTO: When CID team from masaka visited locus to investigate burnt property


RESIDENTS in Ndolo parish, Kabira Sub County in the Southern border district of Kyotera are living in great fear, having endured months of cascading violent attacks at the hands of a shadowy clique of politically-connected people who seek to evict them from their ancestral land.
The attackers are said to be led by a one Ignatius Tumwesiga, who claims to be carrying out eviction orders on behalf of President Yoweri Museveni, although he has never shown documentation or any other form of proof of these orders.
In fact, the Office of the President has clearly come out to deny knowledge of of Tumwesige who also claims to be related to president Museveni.
Tumwesiga is accused by locals for unleashing attacks and destruction of their homes and farms apparently to arm-twist them into giving up their land, where they and their forefathers have lived as bonafide occupants for the better part of the past century.

Some of the burnt houses

He is reportedly working with district leaders and some law enforcement officers, but also with backing from three cabinet ministers (we will name and shame in our next edition), who have let his cruel actions against residents go unabated.
On Tumwesiga’s orders, the locals told News Editor Media that, Police led by a one ACP Godfrey Matte and D/AIP John Kyaligonza have carried out arrests of innocent people, instead of arresting the attackers who burn’t houses and destroyed peoples’ farms moreover in broad daylight.
In a complaint filed to the Inspector General of Police in March this year, residents who included Godfrey Luzibira, Stephen Kasigwa, William Kanini, Hosia Kigambe, Isaac Bigirwa, Grace Kasande and others accused the two police officers of, ‘descending on their farms and destroying all our food crops plus cattle kraals.’
These police officers have also issued several summons and illegitimate eviction notices to the locals, pushing them to leave their homes. Sources say that although Tumesige claims to act on behalf of the President, the Office of the President has come out to deny knowledge of him. Police had yet to respond to our queries on whether a probe has been opened into the allegations.

The locals have also rushed to Masaka High Court seeking orders against tycoon Tumwesiga, who refers to himself as the ‘Liaison Consultant of Sango Bay land’ and the two named police commanders.


The affected residents occupy an expanse of land in Ndolo Parish, measuring about 6 square miles. Here, in the open grasslands they do mostly cattle farming and grow food crops for their homesteads. 
This land makes up part of what used to be the 250 square miles (65,000 ha) which was leased to the Indian-owned Sango Bay Estates Ltd by the British colonial government back in the 1930s.
Owing to the enormous size of the land, the Indians only used part of it for sugarcane production, sisal and timber processing, while the remainder was taken up by settlers, including the parents and grandparents of the current occupants.
The 1972 Indian expulsion by the then Head of State Idi Amin Dada destroyed most of the estate as the factory and other infrastructure was looted. 
When the owners returned in the early 1990s, their efforts to restore the estate to its former glory were fruitless. In 2003, Government signed an MoU with Bidco Uganda Ltd, promising to allocate 14,500 of the 65,000 hectares of the Sango Bay estate to grow palm oil.
As it turned out however, the palm oil project presented a perfect opportunity for land grabbers who co-opted ravenous local leaders and security, and started processing dubious titles on the remaining land and displacing scores of bonafide occupants.
As the grabbers (some of whom occupy top government positions) took up other parts of Sango Bay, Tumwesiga allegedly had eyes set on the 6 square miles of Ndolo. Over the past 10 years, the parish has seen the most spate of violence and bloodshed. When he started planting trees in the residents’ crop gardens, however, tempers started flaring. In 2011, residents put a strong resistance against Tumwesiga’s stubborness.
He disappeared until around 2015 when he returned and launched fresh attacks, aided by some men in police uniform.
In the court case filed in Masaka by the locals, lawyers representing Sango Bay Estates said in an affidavit that their company had no interest whatsoever in the Ndolo area as claimed by Tumwesiga. 
The Ministry of Lands too, has denied involvement in the Ndolo area, noting that official demarcation of the land for Bidco’s palm oil production has not even started yet. 
In March 2021 shortly after the Uganda Land Commission finally took possession of the Sango Bay land, President Museveni directed the Commission to evenly split the 22,028 hacrares between Bukora Estates Ltd and UPOL Sango Bay Ltd.
In his letter, President Museveni expressly ordered for cancellation of the dubious land titles that have been acquired on the land, writing; “…the practice of encroachers who have been obtaining illegal titles on the land and want to disrupt the development is not acceptable and must stop.”
Museveni further directed that, “All “wanainchi” who are genuine bibanja holders on the land should be verified by Commission and handled in accordance with the law. “

As of last year, State minister for Lands Sam Mayanja, pursuant to the president’s directive, had ordered cancellation of up to ten titles on the land. 

President Museveni just returned last week from greater Masaka, where he spent 4 days touring and assessing the government’s development programs. There had been high anticipation that the President would address the issue of land grabbing and the ongoing displacement of families in Kyotera.
The President however, made no mention of the issue or even a spot visit to the contested land much, to the chagrin of the residents. Some of the locals believe the president was dissuaded from visiting the affected area. Sources have told us that a certain Minister from Greater Masaka, who owns hundreds of acres of land in Sango Bay, had days earlier called a meeting of local leaders and asked them to write down their concerns for him to deliver to the President because he wasn’t going to be able to make it to Kyotera.

This leading Investigstive News website established that the raids on people’s homes are being carried out by a unit called the “Sango Bay Police Unit” commanded by Godfrey Matte himself. Matte was transferred from Kalangala district where he was also cited in mass evictions of people. It is unclear  when this Unit was formed, but it is said to be based in Kyotera town.
“The policemen usually come on two police pickup trucks dressed in uniform and they unleash the violence; setting people’s grass thatched homes on fire and cutting down their crops,” a source told our reporter adding that, “They arrest people every other day and release them on police bond. They never charge them. They dont account to anyone, even if they find you taking pictures in this parish, they will arrest you and confiscate your gadget.”
Efforts to reach Mr. Tumwesiga by press time were negative. Our news desk is doing everythung possible to get his side of the story.

Wait for Part II of the story. For views/comments on this story, email us at


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here