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Article

5 Jul 2021

Author:
Witness Radio

Uganda: Multinational companies accused of illegal evictions and rights abuses as food supplies fall short amid second lockdown

'LOCKDOWN VIOLENCE ALERT: As lockdown bites, multinationals resort to the use of herds hired from pastoralists to evict locals off their land.', 23 June 2021

As natives continue to resist illegal evictions, multinational companies opt to hire livestock as a new tactic to forcefully evict smallholder farmers from their land. Ever since the government of Uganda announced the second lockdown, on 6th June 2021,  to curb the spread of COVID-19 and a blanket lockdown further on June, 18th 2021, dozens of local farmers are crying foul for their gardens that have been ravaged their gardens and destroyed food crops by animals brought by multinationals... The violence from multinationals, which started with the arbitrary arrest of four people including two community land rights defenders Baluma Sipiriano and Martin Munyansi, has now spread to gardens owned by smallholder farmers... since 2017, families whose land is targeted by multinationals have experienced cruelty ranging from rape, defilement, and gender-based violence as a tool to evict women and girls, houses have been torched, kidnaps, torture, arbitrary arrests, to beatings, among others. Witness Radio – Uganda findings indicate that Agilis Partners Limited is one of the multinationals that has allegedly hired cattle to destroy the communities’ food baskets and cause hunger to evictees, which ... would force poor communities off the land. Other multinational companies include the Great Season SMC Limited and the Kiryandongo Sugar Limited. Since the second lockdown started, about 15 homesteads have lost family gardens to animals. The 15 homesteads are owned by individuals who are part of the 35000 that are forcefully being evicted by three multinationals. More than half of the evictees have lost their farmland to multinationals as more land is acquired by force. Mr. Samuel Kusiima is among the residents affected, he said all his crops including maize, beans, banana plantations, and groundnuts have been destroyed... M/s Harriet Mbabazi, another resident, says the pastoralists locally known as Balaalo invade her land at night with their animals and graze on her food crops... Witness Radio – Uganda contacted the manager of the company [Balaalo] Mr. Odong Sam for the truth of the matter, but he refused to comment...

Part of the following timelines

Uganda: Agribusiness companies embroiled in alleged illegal detentions, evictions, and rights abuses; incl. co. response

Threats & attacks on rights groups and land & environmental defenders in Uganda