The commission of inquiry into matters relating to land management has Friday heard a shocking testimony from a 15-year-old boy from Kabira village, Mizingo sub-county in Nakaseke district who claims that he was tortured by a man accused of grabbing land in Kapeeka and Mizingo sub-county.
Stephen Mukunja Matovu who is a minor narrated to the commission that Hajji Swaibu Yoga whose name has been cited in fraud acquisition of land squeezed his [Matovu] genitals for suspecting him of stealing his farming tools.
Swaibu is said to be a farmer involved in growing maize in Mizingo sub-county, Nakaseke district and the victim of the torture was a casual laborer on the maize plantation.
Swaibu who masqueraded as a professional surveyor entered an agreement with a family of the late Yakobo Lukwago in September 2016.
In exchange for surveying the vast family estate, Swaibu would be offered 295 acres of the land. However, he ended up fictitiously taking possession of up to 2 square miles of land.
He has since displaced about 500 people in the villages of Balatira, Mizimbo, Naluvule and Senda who were bonafide occupants many of them involved in farming.
On Friday, the young Matovu told the commission that Swaibu found him at home and convinced him to work as a laborer on his maize plantation.
But one fateful day, Matovu’s boss would accuse him of stealing from him before subjecting him to inhumane and painful treatment.
“Hajji told me that I stole his hoes, 15 pangas, 5 boxes of pesticides, wallet containing Shs80,000 and a sack of rice. He and his driver took me to his maize plantation, undressed my clothes ripping my buttons off and then his driver pressed my head against the car seat while,” the 15 year-old narrated his ordeal.
He appeared before the commission with his mother Teddy Najjuma.
“Hajji then sat on my legs and squeezed my genitals using a pair of pliers,” he added.
The boy went on to recount; “He warned me not to scream saying he could kill me and abandon me in the maize plantation. Afterwards, he asked me to open my mouth which I refused to do. He then pressed my jaws, and with my mouth open, he brought out my tongue and squeezed it with the pliers.”
Matovu’s mother, Teddy Najjuma, 46, was forced to sell her cow to pay a fine of Shs1.1 million to Hajji Swaibu for the stolen property. According to Matovu’s testimony, Swaibu had threatened imprisoned should the family fail to pay for his lost items.
Asked by Commissioner Robert Sebunya if he indeed stole the Swaibu’s tools, the boy denied the accusation.
The boy told the commission that ever since the gruesome incident occurred, he has found difficulty in urinating and that occasionally, he passes out blood while urinating. He has got some medical treatment.
“I request the commission to ensure that Hajji foots my medical bills for my treatment,” Matovu responded when asked by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire on how he would want the commission to assist him.
He said he used to go to school but has since absconded from attending school due to the pain he went through.
“I couldn’t attend school anymore because my genitals were beginning to swell and I couldn’t manage to walk on my own. I would only be carried.”
Another victim of Swaibu’s wrath
The commission also heard a testimony of Godfrey Sekalango, boda boda cyclist who is still in prison after being charged for the theft of 6 bags of maize that the same Swaibu accused him of stealing from his plantation.
Sekalango and another person only identified as Kabaya had been arrested by police officers on July 29 while driving in a road that cuts through Swaibu’s plantation.
“I used to own cows but I was forced to sell them off because Swaibu had found them grazing on his maize garden. If they are goats and they trespass on his gardens, he kills them for his laborers to eat,” Sekalango said in his testimony.
Justice Bamugemereire asked the witness; “How would you want a person like Swaibu treated by government authorities for his actions?”
“He should be banished from our area because he has made our lives very difficult. He should face the law and suitably have his arm cut off,” Sekalango replied.