The acting commissioner in charge of surveys and mapping in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mr Wilson Ogaro, has said the ongoing survey of Uganda-Tanzania border in Isingiro District area is intended to make the original boundary clearer, not to alter it as it is being claimed by some local leaders and community members.
Mr Ogaro told Daily Monitor yesterday that a joint team of technical surveyors from Uganda and Tanzania are not doing new demarcations but are surveying border points established by the colonial governments in the two countries to make them more visible.
“We are following border [points] established in 1911 by Germans in Tanzania and the British on our side (Uganda). They put land pillars but they are no longer visible and they are far apart, about two to three kilometres. What they are doing is to make them visible,” Mr Ogaro said in a telephone interview.
He said what the locals have taken as new boundary points established several kilometres into Uganda side from the known border line are ‘control points’ being used by surveyors so that they are able to identify the old pillars.
Mr Ogaro added that they (control points) are also on the Tanzania side and they will be used in any other related exercises in future.
A section of locals led by Isingiro District chairperson Jeremiah Kamurari are opposed to the exercise, claiming Ugandans have lost land.
Mr Kamurari claims Tanzania security forces and the surveyors have connived with some Ugandan officials to take away people’s land without their consent or compensation.
He claimed that last week, the surveyors planted mark stones about 25 kilometres inside Ugandan territory.
“They call them control towers so as not to portray that our land is being taken. I decided to organise my locals and went on the ground and told the surveyors and Tanzania officials to stop the exercise until we, the owners of the land, have known the intension of planting these so called land marks in the disguise of control towers in our land,” Mr Kamurari said last week.
However, Mr Herbert Muhangi, the Insingiro Resident District Commissioner, said people along the border were sinsitised about the exercise and the district chairperson was duly informed in writing about the exercise, adding that he has snubbed meetings about the same for reasons best known to him.
“There is no component of compensation in this exercise. This is something beyond him [the district chairperson], it is between the two heads of state. Issues of the border are not a mandate of local governments,” he said.
The district woman MP, Ms Justine Kashaija, said those opposed to the survey are playing politics.
“The surveyors are establishing data collection centres, not new boundaries but some people have chosen to politicise it,” she said.
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Publish date : 2018-11-01 12:10:41