Land grabbing and disputes were rampant during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially during the 2020 lockdown where movement was restricted and various people had no means of checking on or utilising their land. 55-year-old Nyakaana from Kabarole District fell victim to this when his land was encroached on by Nathan. In 2019, Nyakaana and Nathan entered into an agreement in which Nyakaana would exchange nine (9) Feet of his land for an access road to his farm.
However, during the 2020 lockdown, Nathan breached that agreement when he denied Nyakaana access to the said road and went further to extend boundary marks and plant banana plantations near the road. Nyakaana tried involving the chairperson of the area but the matter wasn’t effectively resolved as Nathan stubbornly refused to fulfill the terms of his agreement with Nyakaana.
Nyakaana ultimately sought legal support from JCU Fort Portal in March 2021 and a mediation was scheduled between the parties. The parties, together with the LC 1 members were made aware of land rights and ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) during a locus mediation that took place on 16th March 2021.
This mediation was indeed effective as both parties agreeably entered into a Memorandum of Understanding wherein Nyakaana would retain the 9FT of land he had initially exchanged with the Nathan and accurate boundary marks would be set up. The parties appreciated JCU’s involvement as well as the knowledge acquired.