Fight Erupts in Masindi District Council Over Land Allocation for Bunyoro University

Masindi District Council found itself in disarray on Thursday during a heated debate over the allocation of land to Bunyoro University for the construction of a study center.

The controversy traces back to February this year when the Masindi District Production Committee recommended granting 52.7 hectares of land in Kayanja village to the Bunyoro University Task Force. Subsequently, the council approved the recommendations without realizing that the designated land was lawfully owned by Magalies Distillers Uganda Limited, an alcohol distilling company, possessing a valid land title.

Councilor Johnson Kiiza, representing Bikonzi Sub County, spearheaded a group of concerned colleagues who raised issues about the oversight and decision-making process. They discovered that the motion to allocate the land to Bunyoro University was inexplicably missing from the order paper, raising suspicions of foul play.

On Thursday, tensions reached a boiling point during a council meeting when Mr. Kiiza and other councillors confronted the district speaker, Mr. Moses Kirya, regarding the contentious land allocation process. The situation swiftly escalated into physical altercations for about an hour, leading Mr. Kirya to call in the police to remove the unruly councillors from the chambers.

The safety of District Chairman Mr. Cosmas Byaruhanga and Chief Administrative Officer Ms. Phionah Sanyu was also a concern as they discreetly exited the council chambers to protect themselves.

The turmoil in Masindi District Council has sparked public outrage, with demands for accountability and transparency in the decision-making process. Residents are worried that the council’s inability to address critical issues without descending into chaos may impede the development and progress of the region.

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The establishment of Bunyoro University was approved by President Museveni in 2021, and later the Minister for Education and Sports, Janet K Museveni, appointed Prof Samuel Kyamanywa to lead the task force for its establishment in June last year.

The task force identified the current Bulera Core Primary Teachers College in Hoima District as the headquarters of the proposed University, with other districts from the Bunyoro region, such as Masindi and Kibaale, to host other study centers.

However, the task force has encountered delays in acquiring land from other districts for hosting study centers and has faced limited funding from the government. These challenges may impact the progress of the university’s establishment and expansion in the region.

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