Businessman goes after fishermen

Threatened. Kigungu Landing Site in Entebbe Municipality is claimed by a businessman. PHOTO BY EVE MUGANGA

Fishermen operating at Kigungu Landing Site are stranded following a dispute over ownership of land in Entebbe Municipality, Wakiso District.
The development comes four days after Entebbe-based businessman, Mr Gerald Mutebi, came out to claim ownership of the landing site that has for long been under the control of Entebbe Municipality.
The contested land measures approximately an acre.
Daily Monitor has learnt that Mr Mutebi, a fish exporter, wants to set up an ice block and fish processing plant in the area.
Kigungu, which is home to more than 2,000 fishermen, is a strategic fishing village on the shores of Lake Victoria.
It is among the three gazetted landing sites in Entebbe Municipality.
Others are Nakiwogo and Bugonga.
Mr Edward Sserugunda, the chairperson of Kigungu Landing Site, said they will not allow the eviction to take place, adding that the land belongs to the municipal council.
“I am the chairperson for this landing site. I haven’t received any official communication from the municipal council indicating that this land was sold to a developer, so anyone cannot just come from anywhere and claim ownership,’’ Mr Sserugunda said during an interview yesterday
On Wednesday, the developer attempted to deliver construction materials to the site, but faced resistance from angry fishermen.
Mr Ahmed Ssentongo, a fisherman, said he has been operating at the landing site for 20 years, and evicting him will render him jobless.
“Mr Mutebi has been meeting us, saying we should vacate this place for him to develop it, but where does he want us to go?’’ he asked.

The Entebbe Municipality mayor, Mr Vincent Kayanja De Paul, said Kigungu was gazetted as a landing site way back in the 1960s and there is a plan to parcel out the land to any developer.
“The municipal council built a loading area at this landing site where fishermen collect their fish and this is a symbolic feature that this area is meant for fishermen and for those that claim to own a land title for this area, they are liars,” he said while meeting fishermen on Wednesday.
He, however, said the pending eviction is being instigated by some people who use their connections in government to bully fishermen off the landing site.
“We are greatly concerned because this land which the developer is claiming, is occupied by very many people who derive their livelihood from fishing,” he added
The Entebbe Municipal physical planner, Ms Grace Nanyonga, said: “My office hasn’t received any application seeking for redevelopment of Kigungu Landing Site, outside the status quo. Whoever wishes to set up an ice block plant there, will have to go through our office at the municipal council to verify whether such a development strategy conforms to our physical development plan.”
When contacted on his known telephone, the person who answered Mr Mutebi’s known phone said the latter was out of the country. “If you are looking for Mutebi, I am not the one, he is out of the country,” he said.


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