By Our Reporters
The mood among members of Justice Catherine Bamugemereire Land Commission of Inquiry is of anticipation as they prepare to roast Uganda Road Fund BoD Chair Merian Kyomugisha Sebunya. Renowned for always referring to her close relations with the President to perhaps cow those who challenge her excesses, Kyomugisha will be appearing to explain her arbitrary acquisition of more than 2,000 acres of land in Kasanda Mubende. This has affected 50 families and left hundreds of people homeless as her agents arrogantly keep referring to her closeness to State House. Some of the affected residents say they have repeatedly been advised to back off and move away as opposed to waiting for consequences of standing up to “the President’s sister.” The fact that Saracen security guards continue to be used in the violent eviction of the 50 families has only made things more complicated for Kyomugisha because it’s one security firm in which Gen Salim Saleh has always had interest. “This helped ease things for Kyomugisha as her people went around telling residents that this is a State House person close to the President and generally the First Family,” says a source close to Bamugemereire inquiry. The Bamugemereire Commission members on Friday left Mubende (where they listened to affected residents from Kitagonerwa Village Geyongera Parish in Kasanda) very angry and determined to trim pompous Kyomugisha to size. Some of them were moved to tears as female victims of the Kyomugisha-orchestrated violence spoke of often being raped by the security guards she deployed to keep them off their land. Bamugemereire urged Kitagonerwa residents to put aside their fears now that the Commission (renowned for trimming those acting with impunity) has got involved in their land dispute. She assured them the whip was finally going to be cracked real hard on Kyomugisha whose experience will teach other potential land grabbers that the days of land-related impunity are long gone. The anti-Kyomugisha meeting lasted more than 8 hours and residents showed great resentment for her by patiently waiting for each to get chance to make their case narrating how miserable life has become as Ambassador Moses Kiwe Sebunya’s wife goes about satisfying her earthly desires for material acquisition.
Bamugemereire was almost moved to tears upon listening to Restetuta Namakula who accused Kyomugisha’s Saracen Guards deployed on the land of going on rampant raping sprees targeting the vulnerable women as they go to fetch water and firewood in the surrounding forests. Families are on the verge of disintegration as such women no longer sleep with their husbands who suspect they might have been infected through rape by highly connected Kyomugisha’s security guards. The use of rape and sex assault as a weapon to subdue a community has previously been accepted by the ICC as a key ingredient constituting crimes against humanity. The emotional connection Bamugemereire developed on listening to Namakula is reason for Kyomugisha to become very worried because the people’s judge has previously acted in a rage when quizzing those accused of marginalizing her fellow women. “All team members left Kitagonerwa village very infuriated and each one of them has separately been researching on Kyomugisha as they prepare the tough questions for her. You can be sure she is going to weep in that inquiry because everyone is persuaded that she isn’t a good person by any measure. There have been bad persons appearing before that inquiry and you can be sure the Commissioners are going to cut her to size and make her sweat plasma like they have done to other hardcore impunity promoters,” says a source close to the Commission. Kitagonerwa LC1 Chairman Blasio Mbakwasa told Bamugemereire that the affected residents have been reporting everything to authorities but the area police hasn’t fearing to get into problems since Kyomugisha is a close relative of the President (whereas not). One question Bamugemereire assured the tearful residents Kyomugisha won’t escape relates to circumstances under which she acquired so much land, where she got the money and why she wasn’t doing anything to prevent her cruel Saracen Guards from raping people’s wives (with impunity) during their deployment on the disputed land. Commission bosses were moved to near tearfulness as residents narrated how they haven’t known peace since 2011 when deeply connected Kyomugisha first became interested in becoming the new owner of the land their families have called home for generations. Some residents have since become IDPs in the area of their ancestry for the last 8 years. Yet many residents simply left their dwellings having been repeatedly told they won’t get any compensation since the woman taking over their land is deeply connected to State House whose authorities have since denounced Kyomugisha while denying having such an employee in their records. Don Wanyama who speaks for the President says they don’t have such a person as an employee adding that in any case, there is no way the big man (renowned for condemning land eviction) can employ such offenders in his State House.
HURTING M7 VOTE
Some residents said the popularity of NRM and its leader Yoweri Museveni in Kasanda had sharply declined because of Kyomugisha’s arbitrary actions. This won’t be the first time her divisive involvement is diminishing the President’s political appeal and popularity as the same was witnessed in the areas of greater Mbarara at the time she served as one of the key logistics persons meant to facilitate campaigning groups of volunteers in one of the previous elections. The residents cried out to Bamugemereire saying, having lost trust in police and the court system, she was their only hope to survive homelessness and lead a better life. She was told about the residents’ feeling of powerlessness after repeatedly being told Kyomugisha is a sister to the President meaning there isn’t much they can do. “You are going to see what we are going to do to her,” one of the Commission officials told residents arraying their fears about the fallacious claims that Kyomugisha is a sister to the President. Gratefully, Bamugemereire often speaks to the President and it isn’t hard for her to verify such claims. It’s just a phone call away since the H.E. has keenly been following her good work as a public-spirited judge. The residents wondered why a mere Kyomugisha would frighten everybody including area police not to do anything to protect ordinary Ugandans from being mistreated in their own country. For vocally standing up to Kyomugisha’s arbitrary actions, many residents have had to be jailed by area police on trumped up charges, something Bamugemereire vowed to demand accountability about tomorrow Thursday 31st January when Kyomugisha appears for intense grilling. Blasio Mbakwasa the Kitagonerwa LC1 Chairman revealed that instead of protecting residents and their property, area State security apparatus is used to guard Kyomugisha’s cows as they graze in people’s gardens because area police authorities want to appease her in the hope she can use her State House connections to cause their rapid promotion in the Police Force. “All government guns in this area are being used to guard cows to destroy people’s gardens so that they become subdued and leave their land,” Mbakwasa submitted.
MP NSAMBA CONFIRMS
Area MP Patrick Nsamba was also in the meeting and sounded as powerless as the people he leads. He associated himself with all the allegations residents made against Kyomugisha repeatedly confessing to Bamugemereire “my Lord you are the only who can manage that woman for us.” Bamugemereire requested residents to compile all the criminal grievances they previously reported to police against Kyomugisha and no action was taken. She wants all that info submitted to her office ahead of tomorrow’s Commission hearing during which a whole day will be devoted to squeezing Kyomugisha who generally isn’t a stranger to controversy. Many of the affected families have known Kitagonerwa to be their home for 40 years since the 1970s. Using her powers, Bamugemereire firmly ordered that no more evictions should be carried out on the Kitagonerwa land until the matter has comprehensively been investigated by the Commission. Measuring close to 2,000 acres, the land in question is particularized as Block 410 Plot 4. Don Wanyama, who speaks for the President, says Kyomugisha isn’t their employee adding that the President is chief spokesman for the victims of land evictions meaning there is no way he can condone or tolerate such a greedy heartless person working in his office. Kyomugisha is in real big trouble as Commissioners will be demanding for credible documentation on which she based violently evict people from their homes and this is one anomaly the Commission’s able lead Counsel Ebert Byenkya will be highlighting as a matter of course. Kyomugisha like-minded Fatuma Nambi, accused of similar evictions and land grabbing, already appeared before the Commission and faced it rough as she was tasked to answer which State House she works for. Accused of evicting many Bibanja holders and their families off Block 339 Plot 327, the Nambi disputed land is located in Nsololo village Manyogaseka parish Kasanda Sub County. Nambi is 71 making it understandable why her unexpected cruelty shocked Commission officials. Nambi denied being a State House official and told the Commission she was acting under a well secured court order permitting her to evict the 15 families whose activities she said had occasioned lots of financial loss to her family.
MUCH LOATHED KYOMUGISHA
Being one used to being investigated, it’s very likely Kyomugisha won’t be bothered that much because besides Bamugemereire, she has had to explain herself on many other things before the IGG and Finance Minister Matia Kasaijja who supervises her as Road Fund Chairperson. Acting on staff petitions, Kasaijja last December even expelled her on grounds she was unsuitable to head such a government institution. In their petition, staff accused her of humiliating and disrespecting the URF management and for quarrelling with fellow board members over petty things such as trips and procedure to be followed. They also accused her of making very expensive trips at the expense of cash-strapped URF and also for always exaggerating her closeness to the President and State House. Another aggrieved public spirited Ugandan petitioned IGG urging her to inquire into the authenticity of her PhD. One of the many other complaints IGG has been receiving about Kyomugisha related to a one Princess Nuwahereza and the use of URF Board Chair’s office to extract Shs400m from UNRA ostensibly as payment for a rock in Karamoja sub region. Kyomugisha also has had people complain about her curious involvement in the clearing & forwarding business, something IGG is investigating as well. She has also been accused of disrespecting Parliament whose authority to summon her URF staffers she has previously questioned claiming her organization should be above such unnecessary parliamentary scrutiny since the Board chair is very closely known to the President. The Nakawa Secretarial Studies graduate has also previously been accused by finance ministry technocrats of sometimes being very contemptuous of her supervisor Matia Kasaija. On perusing her resume, one of the Bamugemereire Commissioners wondered how very unsophisticated Kyomugisha came to be appointed to serve URF in such a high profile office. This is clearly one of the many things the inquiry officials will be establishing during tomorrow’s public hearing.