Culture

COURT DISMISSES BUKITAREPA CASE WITH COSTS

By Steven Wandera

MASINDI: Masindi high court has dismissed with costs a case that was filed by Bunyoro Kitara Reparations Agency (BUKITAREPA) against the seven district land boards in Bunyoro.

BUKITAREPA filed the case at Masindi high court in 2016 through its lawyer Chrispus  Odongo Ayena   seeking a court injunction restraining all the seven district land boards in Bunyoro from processing, leasing land and transferring land titles in the region. The agency also wanted court to cancel all the land titles that had been issued to individuals by the sued land boards arguing that they had unlawfully done so.

In the civil suit NO 44, BUKITAREPA also contended   that the indigenous people of Bunyoro Kitara kingdom are the   beneficiaries of the land in question and are at all times the customary owner of the land in the kingdom that is held in trust by their king which they have time in immemorial used for settlement, cultivation, grazing, wood harvest among other uses.

BIKITAREPA further contended that the indigenous people of Bunyoro Kitara Kingdom have had and still have interest in and are entitled to the land and resources within the land in question.

However in his judgement delivered recently, Masindi high court resident judge Jessy Byaruhanga noted that the applicants did not proof that the defendants committed any illegalities  while performing their constitutional and statutory duties of allocating land, issuing land titles and leasing land in their respective districts.

Justice Byaruhanga added that there was no evidence adduced by the applicants to support any unconstitutional action or conduct by the defendants including the claims of eviction of the indigenous peoples from their respective land owned customary or proof of any human rights violations in the oil exploration and production in the region.

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He further added that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that they had powers to institute this representative suit and that the indigenous people of Bunyoro whom they purported to represent lacked legal capacity.

He accordingly dismissed the case with costs to the defendants.

Speaking after the ruling, BUKITAREPA’s  chief coordinator Doviko Batwaale claimed that the ruling was not fair and vowed to appeal against it in their pursuit for justice.

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