NYAGATARE— Provincial authorities have ordered the eviction of about 400 residents from Nshuri trading centre in Nyagatare District.
At the weekend there was state of confusion and anxiety as leaders executed the orders that affected several people.
Area local leaders have confirmed that the orders were issued from Eastern Province but no deadline was given.
Emmanuel Bankunda, the Rwempasha Sector Executive Secretary, explained that the move is aimed at creating order.
He said the affected area has been a hub of prostitution and illicit trade of local gin commonly known as Kanyanga. He added that the residents have been polluting the nearby River Muvumba.
However, most residents who talked to The New Times protested the move, saying it infringes on their rights to shelter.
They dismissed the reasons cited for the eviction and appealed for a halt to the eviction.
The residents argue that instead of being evicted the concerned authorities should work with them to fight such crimes.
According to the residents, they legally occupied the area in 1995 and there has never been any warning given to them.
“Fair treatment is necessary to any humankind,” said Kendamba Ndomba, a disabled widow who was locked inside her house for half a day by the authorities.
“Days of grief are back again in my family after last year’s similar suffering in Bulisa, western Uganda,” lamented Anet Mbabazi, while shedding tears.
Bankunda said only few residents with valuable houses would be compensated.
He promised that some of them will get free plots of land in the new Rutare relocation site. The site is about 10km away from their old homes on the outskirts of Nyagatare town.
However, the residents expressed dissatisfaction with the new location, saying the place has no water sources and lacks the basic social amenities like market, schools and health centres nearby, with leaders only promising to avail the facilities later.
The government through its Land Redistribution Commission has been to several disputed sites in an attempt to settle the problem by allotting land to the landless.
Since early this year, dozens of landless people have been given plots of land formerly owned by private individuals.