300 households against one family over land was definitely a recipe for violence and bloodshed. This was the dilemma that prevailed in Rusoona village, situated in Kiziranfumbi Sub County, approximately 40 kms from Hoima Town. When Civic Response on Environment and Development (CRED), a DGF Partner visited the village in 2014 to sensitize the community on land issues, some of the residents heeded the advice that was given to have their land parcels registered. It was then that a heated conflict that was taking place in the village surfaced. A prominent family headed by one Mzee Kaseregenyi had commenced the process of titling 600 hectares of land, an action that would disenfranchise 300 households in the village.
Reportedly, although the Kaseregenyi family claimed to own the land, they had sold some of it to new comers in the village, while others had settled on it illegally. When an investor approached the family and showed interest in leasing the land to grow sugar cane, the family set out to tittle the entire village, with the justification that they are the lawful owners of the land, dishonouring the previous sales. They claimed that the other residents had only bought surface rights and not registrable interests in the land. With this, the community rose up in arms to reject the claim, with some parading documentary evidence of ownership to sections of the land. This was when the LC 1 Chairperson of Rusoona, Mr. Jackson Kyarugahe approached CRED for assistance. With CRED’s advice and support, the community filed a caveat in the District Land Board restraining registration of the Rusoona land. They also wrote to the office of the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) and the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) regarding the same matter. Recognizing these efforts, the Kaseregenyi family agreed to a “round table” discussion, which eventually led to an amicable solution.
With the support of the LC 3 Chairperson of Kabwoya sub-county and the Resident District Commissioner, CRED held 5 mediation meetings that progressively brought the warring parties to agreement. The Kaseregenyi family agreed to be paid UGX 2 million as good will by the community. A memorandum of understanding signed by the representatives of both parties and witnessed by the LC 3 chairperson of Kabwoya, resolved this matter. Boundary demarcation was done to eliminate future conflicts in the village. The family together with the 300 household are currently living on the Rusoona land in peace and harmony.