- The case. Residents of Kasanda District accuse Ms Merian Sebunya of using security guards to forcibly evict them from their land.
Kampala. The chairperson of the Uganda Road Fund, Ms Merian Sebunya, has denied accusations that she directed her workers to brutalise residents, rape women and demolish their houses in Kitagonerwa and Kabakonjo villages in Kasanda Sub-county, Kasanda District.
Seventy families have since 2008 been evicted in phases from a 4 square mile piece of land, Ms Sebunya says was a donation from her father in-law to set up a ranch.
Ms Sebunya, who is the wife of the Uganda’s former Ambassador to Libya, Mr Moses Kiwe Sebunya, was on Tuesday appearing before the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters to defend herself against accusations that she ordered for the eviction of the said family members.
In January, the Commission chairperson, Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, visited the contested land in Kasanda District following a petition by the affected residents who accused Ms Sebunya of grabbing their land.
Houses of more than 200 residents were razed and their bibanja taken by Ms Sebunya.
Ms Sebunya, however, blamed her cousin and manager, Mr Nicholas Kabagambe, for using excessive force to evict the residents.
“I have never sent Mr Kabagambe to break people’s houses. He was terrorising them in order to get his own land,” Ms Sebunya noted.
She said when she learnt of Mr Kabagambe’s conduct, she terminated his services.
Ms Sebunya, however, admitted offering Mr Kabagambe 200 hectares of land, which is part of the four square miles.
Appearing before the Commission last month, Mr Kabagambe accused Ms Sebunya of ordering her employees to evict him as well as kill his wife.
Commissioner Joyce Habaasa wondered why Ms Sebunya was awarded a Doctorate in Humanities when her workers were raping women with impunity.
“My lord, I’m also being tortured, it is as if I am in a movie. They have reported me to the Ugandan Human Rights commission, State House and now this Commission. I am being tortured by immigrants,” Ms Sebunya lamented.
Ms Sebunya denied forcibly evicting bibanja holders, saying in 2008, only five families were on the land.
Though Ms Sebunya has been paying off bibanja holders, the land is registered under Kiwe and Sajjabbi, a private company where she is not a director.