Jinja Based Pastor on Spot Over Fraudulent Acquisition of Land

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Geoffrey Wako, a senior pastor from Live by Faith church in Masese in Jinja district is on the spot for the alleged fraudulent acquisition of land in Buvuma district.

Over 100 residents of Kirayita and Galigatya villages in Busamuzi Sub County accuse the pastor of forcefully trying to evict them from their land. The contested land that borders Bukaibaale forest reserve measures 50 acres. 

The affected families claim that Wako took an advantage of their poor state in December 2019 to make them sign for money ranging between shillings 200, 000 to 500,000 on different papers, which he later attached to a land purchase agreement.

Francis Jananga, a resident of Kirayita village, says Wako convinced them to sign the papers claiming that the money was a Christmas package extended to them by the church as a sign of exhibiting God’s love.  

He notes that the pastor returned with a land purchase agreement and local Defense Unit Officers-LDU claiming their land. “We appeal to the government to come out and intervene in this matter. Pastor Wako claims to enjoy support from the president’s office to take over the land and as commoners, we cannot fight the state. If they want us to leave the land, let them properly compensate us,” he said.  

Osumin Neyita, another resident says that they have tried to seek redress from the district authorities but they have not been helped. “We suffering with children, they lack food to eat and our land is being claimed fraudulently. We are scared of further practising any farming activity”  

However, Pastor Wako describes the residents as hypocrites determined to portray him as unfaithful in the eyes of the public. He says that he engaged 180 residents on an individual basis and they agreed to vacate the land to allow him to establish a cassava and sunflower plantation.

When asked about the paying mechanism, Wako said that each resident bargained depending on the size of his or her piece of land. 

Juma Kigongo, the Buvuma Resident District Commissioner acknowledges receiving complaints from the residents about Wako’s move to evict them. He says that they have warned him against the eviction until the authorities investigate it.    

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