Chairperson to the ongoing commission of inquiry into land management, Justice Catherine Bamugemereire has ordered that the O.C Station of Kapeeka police station Atayi Christine Anyeko be detained and investigated by the Professional Stands Unit (PSU) of the police.
Bamugemereire accuses Atayi of harboring a conflict of interest in a disputed piece of land in Balatira village, Kapeeka sub-county in Nakaseke district and therefore incapable to resolve the land related tensionally that have left scores displaced in Kapeeka.
Atayi in March this year purchased 5 acres of land from a one Hajji Swaibu Yigga, a self-proclaimed private surveyor.
However, there had previously been persistent wrangles over the ownership of this very piece of land measuring over 1,000 acres between Swaibu and the family of the late Yakobo Lukwago.
The family of Lukwago complained before the commission of inquiry that Swaibu fleeced the land from them and as a result, over 3,000 bona fide settlers (bibanja owners) were evicted, intimidated and tortured by Swaibu.
During Wednesday’s hearings, the commission quizzed Atayi to explain why despite her prior knowledge of the land conflict and her participation in the meetings with conflicting parties, she proceeded to buy the 5 acres from Swaibu.
“I am a farmer. I grow maize and beans on 10 acres of land owned by Gen. Salim Saleh as part of Operation Wealth Creation,” Atayi said when asked by the lead counsel to the commission Ebert Byenkya to explain how she afforded Shs22.5m to buy the land.
The officer claimed she managed to raise Shs17.7 million from 12 tonnes of her maize harvest which she had sold to local agro dealers. She said also said that the additional money was from the beans she had planted. Atayi paid Swaib in two installments of Ush 19 million and later Shs3.5 million.
“Why should stop us from believing that Swaibu gave you the 5 acres as a bribe so that you can side with him in the land controversy? Because there’s no piece of evidence that we can trail to see that you sold maize or bought land,” Byenkya asked the witness.
But the witness insisted that residents know her as a farmer and can testify to that.
Another issue of concern to the commission stems from an arrest of a one Godfrey Sekalambo a week ago, ordered by Atayi.
Sekalambo was detained for allegedly stealing Swaibu’s maize in the night. Commissioners told the witness that her business interests in Kapeeka were clouding her judgment in her duty of policing the same area.
It is at this point that Justice Bamugemereire ordered that the police officer be led outside and taken to the PSU.
“I ask that my senior security officers escort you to PSU because this commission can no longer be able to effectively do its work without receiving constant calls when you are still in Kapeeka. We can no longer do our work without being required to visit Kapeeka constantly,” Bamugemereire said.
“You have become entangled in the whole conflict and therefore unable to do your work professionally as an officer because you are involved in business dealings and are everywhere in people’s faces,” she added.
Bamugemereire blamed the police officer for disregarding the rights of ordinary citizens like Sekalambo who was detained beyond 48 hours with wounds.
In June, during a locus visit in Nakaseke by the commission, Bamugemereirwe halted all land surveying and boundary opening activities on the disputed land in the villages of Balatira, Mizimbo, Naluvule and Senda pending a conclusive investigation report.