Gov’t moves to settle thousands of Ugandans expelled from Tanzania

Government has set up a taskforce to come up with a mechanism for resettling 5,704 Ugandans who were expelled from Tanzania between the year 2000 and 2013 and have been living temporarily in Sango Bay in Rakai, and have now been relocated to government land in Kyaka 1, Kyegegwa District.

The taskforce, to be chaired by State Minister for Disaster Preparedness and Refugees, Musa Ecweru, was set up by Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda following a visit he made to Kyaka 1, Kyegegwa District on Sunday. During the visit, the Prime Minister met the local district leadership, and addressed local people as well as the Ugandans who have just arrived in the area from Sango Bay.

The team comprises officials from the Office of the Prime Minister, Kyegegwa District Local Government, local and other opinion leaders.

Prime Minister Rugunda’s visit to the area that is currently gazzetted as a refugee settlement follows a directive by President Yoweri Museveni and reports of growing discomfort among the locals who fear that they may be displaced.

“No Ugandan will be displaced. There is no cause for alarm. That is the message President has given me to bring to you,” Prime Minister Rugunda told hundreds of people who came to listen to him at Rwentuuha.

The taskforce will undertake a detailed study of the matter, advise on the best course of action, and report within three months. It will also commence the opening up of the boundaries of Kyaka 1 Government land, verify the size and current occupants of the land and sensitize the local population about land ownership issues and other related matters.

Throughout the process, the taskforce will ensure that the current occupants of the land, the Ugandans who were expelled from Tanzania, and the land currently gazetted for refugee settlement are all catered for.

In the period between the year 2000 and 2013, the government of Tanzania expelled a number of Ugandans who had migrated and settled in the Kagera region. The Ugandans had moved to Tanzania between 1930 and 1965. Although they had lived in Tanzania for a long time, they did not regularize their stay.

In 2000, the first lot of 2,793 Ugandans were expelled from Tanzania and were received by government before being resettled in Kahunge, a former refugee camp in Kamwenge District. Three years later, another 900 Ugandans were expelled from Tanzania and were resettled in Rwamwanja Refugee Camp.

In 2007, 704 other Ugandans were expelled from Tanzania. Recently in 2013, Tanzania again expelled 5,000 more Ugandans.
The last two lots of 5,704 first camped in a swampy place in Kikagati, Isingiro District, and were later transferred to Sango Bay in Rakai District.

For the past four years, these 5,704 Ugandans of 713 households have lived in temporary shelters without land to cultivate and other forms of economic activity in Sango Bay.

The Government therefore decided to resettle them on Government land in Kyaka 1, in Kyegegwa District. The Kyegegwa land had previously housed Rwandan refugees, who returned to their country in 1994. Following their departure, some people took advantage of the situation and occupied part of it. []