Rude 4am eviction brings down building on properties

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Rude 4am eviction brings down building on properties
A man salvages a mattress from the rubbles | Gerald Matembu

MBALE | Mbale City authorities and police have been accused of orchestrating an illegal eviction in the wee hours of Saturday morning that left residents in despair.

The tranquility of the night was shattered as property of undetermined value was razed to the ground in the night, leaving families and traders stranded.

Plot 33-35 along Palisa Road became a scene of chaos and anguish. Household items and  merchandise were destroyed.

The property had shops and residences, residents narrate that the eviction took place while they were sleeping.

Sources recounted moments of terror and confusion as residents were rudely awakened by the sounds of banging on their doors and orders to vacate their premises.

"It was around 4am when we heard bangs on our doors, and people ordering us to get out," recounted one victim.

"Police fired teargas inside our houses, nearly suffocating our children," said another.

The victims report that the eviction was executed without prior warning, exacerbating the panic and disarray among residents.

A woman picks up the pieces of what is left of household property destroyed in the rude eviction | Gerald Matembu

Families now find themselves homeless, while traders have been stripped of their entire livelihoods in the merciless onslaught.

“I had just stocked my shop targeting the opening of of the second term next week but my merchandise has been destroyed,” a stationery dealer lamented.

The use of teargas inside homes added to the chaos, leaving residents in a state of panic and disarray.

Countless families now find themselves homeless, while traders have lost their entire livelihoods in the relentless offensive.

By standers expressed dismay in perceived unjust conduct of police.

According to police standing order, officers involved in evictions must be cleared by the police legal directorate, yet this procedure appears to have been flagrantly ignored in the recent events that unfolded in Mbale City.

By press time, over 10 armed police officer led OC Mbale Central Police Station Magid Alituha, the said goons, and the grader were still at scene.

Some police officers were seen quelling individuals who resisted the demolition.

Despite claims of enforcing a court order, the presence of anti-riot police, alongside unidentified individuals colloquially referred to as "goons," and the timing raises serious questions about the legality of the operation.

The purported basis for the eviction lies in a demolition order issued by Mbale High Court Assistant Registrar Nankya Nusulah on 03/5/2024 against the property of businessman Hashim Hassan under Civil Suit 23 of 2024.

Locals watch as the authorities finish up the demolition exercise

In the suit, Mbale City Council prayed for orders to demolish a dilapidated, inhabitable structure belonging to Hassan located on plot 33/35 along Palisa Road.

The court ruled in favour of Mbale City Council on April 15.

However, the judgment has been contested by a family that allege violations of legal principles and obstruction of justice. Edward Katunku and nine siblings accuse Hassan of fraudulently acquiring a title deed on their property.

The matter was scheduled for hearing on June 6, according to the family’s lawyer Ronald David Bukomba.

Bukomba f told Nile Post that the Assistant Registrar was notified of the irregularity and had set June 4 to hear the objection to the said demolition order.

Kantunku family lawyers accuse Mbale City of conniving with Hassan to file the civil suit and enter into a consent judgment to demolish the contested property.

Efforts to obtain clarification from the City council authorities were futile as none appeared to be willing to speak on the matter.

Deputy town clerk Kasim Waboga had previously hinted at plans to rid the city of dilapidated buildings as part of efforts to enforce public health policies.

Affected residents are pleading for urgent intervention and assistance as they seek justice and a resolution to their displacement.

They implore authorities to investigate the eviction, ensuring that fair and lawful processes are upheld in all future dealings with property disputes and evictions in Mbale City.

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