By Andrew Irumba
Parliament: Drama engulfed Parliament on Wednesday when Gen. Kahinda Otafiire, the Minister for Constitutional affairs, was tasked to explain how he acquired Njeru Stock Farm as personal property, yet it was originally owned by government.
However, Otafiire thrilled Parliament with tragic comedy when he told the Speaker that it government that shouldn’t instead explain how it acquired Njeru Stock Farm, and that all government is actually encroached on his farm.
Minister Otafiire actually used the floor of Parliament to order Government to vacate his Njeru Stock Farm and revealed that he has since opened up a case against Government to vacate his expansive land in Njeru.
However, it should be noted that Joy Kafura Kabasti, the State Minister for animal industry, wants all private titles issued on government farms cancelled.
The Minister raised the issue recently while appearing before the Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters in regards to Njeru Stock Farm in Buikwe district whose land has been encroached on.
She said all the titles issued to private individuals on the farm should be cancelled and government officials behind the elicit transaction dealt with.
Njeru Stock Farm is a project under the National Animal Resource Centre and Data Bank (NAGRIC). It is breeding ground for livestock but has since grabbed by powerful government officials who parceled the expansive land and shared it amongst themselves.
The farm seats on 1,066 acres of land. Government acquired a 99 year lease from the late Ham Mukasa in 1950s for the farm land. After independence in 1962, Njeru Town Council inherited the 99-year lease.
In June 1967, the Town Council subleased the land to Uganda Land Commission (ULC), whose sub lease expires in 2027.
The user department was Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF). However, Charles Lagu, the Executive Director NAGRIC, said the Farm has since lost 504 acres of land to private developers.
He faulted officials at Njeru Town Council for leasing away the land, well knowing that it is government property.
According to Kabatsi, the Ministry has plans to revive the farm, breed more livestock and export livestock products. She however says this is not possible because of the encroachment and conflicts that continue to exist on the land.
It is not surprising therefore that Gen.Otafiire is ordering Government to quit ‘his’ Njeru Stock Farm