Former Mbarara Mayor in Trouble Over Land Grabbing

By Jonan Beine

Wilson Tumwine, The former Mbarara Municipality mayor has been implicated for allocating forest land to individuals during his term of office.

The former mayor came under the spotlight during a public hearing conducted by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire led Land Commission at Ntare school Main hall in Mbarara on Friday.

According to the commission, Tumwine purportedly grabbed and distributed land in Rwomitongore one and two and Ruti national forest reserves to individuals on grounds that the land should be developed.

In the commission led by assistant lead counsel Johnbosco Suuza tasked Tumwiine to explain how and where he got the mandate to start allocating government land which had been gazzeted as a forest reserve to individuals.

The commission also found out that Tumwiine used his office to sell Nyamityoobora forest reserve through national forestry authority.

It was also found out that way back in November 2007,Tumwiine wrote to the executive director of national forestry authority directing him to release a temporally land lease to gazette plots of land in forest reserve.

The former mayor reportedly went ahead a influenced the distributed the plots to his friends,relatives and business partners.

During interrogations, Justice Catharine Bamugemerire accused Tumwiine of grabbing 23 hectares of land in Rwemitongore three forest reserve which later enabled his to secure compensation from Uganda National Roads Authority worth 600 million shillings.

The committee also found out that the mayor was compensated for 3.3 acres of land instead of 100 meters that were actually affected by the construction of Mbarara –Masaka Highway.

Justice Catherine Bamugemereire revealed that it is unfortunate that the former mayor used his influence and colluded with the officials who were valueing land to secure more money than he was actually entitled to.

Bamugemereire added that the former mayor had also secured money from over 175 people promising to give them land and instead messed them up

The visibly pissed off Bamugemereire further revealed that his commission had received evidence indicate that former mayor has been torturing and intimidating potential witnesses saying that the matter will be taken up seriously to ensure that justice prevails

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