By Tumussime Jerad & Bikeke Saimon
A section of farmers in the Mubuku Irrigation scheme in Kasese district have accused management of the scheme of extortion of money and fraudulently selling off some blocks of land.
Mr. Laurence K Tibesigwa, the officer in charge of the scheme, is accused of using his office to take over 3.2 hectares of the scheme.
The farmers also claim Tibesiga’s contract expired about three years ago.
It is alleged that he also used his powers selling off 3.2 hectares of the same experimental farm in division III, 10 and 11 to one Maria Gorret Kyoheirwe without consent of any farmer or any other relevant authority for irrigation scheme.
One of the farmers, who preferred anonymity, says the accused person is messing up the developments in the irrigation scheme calling on government to intervene.
Perepetwa Besige who has been farming in the scheme since the 1980s says Tibesigwa is now selling out people’s blocks without their consent.
The experimental farm was used as a demonstration farm where NGOs, Learning intuitions, University Students and farmers would learn from.
In a police letter dated 1st August 2018, the authority wrote to the ministry for agriculture, animal industry and fisheries saying they have severally received complaints from the farmers accusing the officer in charge of the irrigation scheme of mismanagement.
The community liaison officer, Rwenzori East, IP Sunday Moris Muliwabyo in this letter, said he was seeking for means of resolving the matter so that the community remains nonviolent.
Tibesigwa, however, denies the accusations. He instead says there is a co-operative society dubbed Abasaija Kweyampa farmers’ cooperative society rents the blocks therein to establish cages.
The state minister for agriculture and animal husbandry Hon Christopher Kibanzanga confirms a lot of criminalities in the irrigation scheme saying some of them have turned blocks into permanent houses.
Hon Christopher Kibanzanga further condemns the practice of levying school students who are supposed to attain free learning promising to investigate the matter.
But Tibesigwa says the ministry should not interfere with the management of the scheme since it only plays a supervisory role.