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#LetterToVimal : An Open Letter to Vimal Shah – The people have Spoken, you better Return the Grabbed Land

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There have been 400,000 readers on this post in 17 hours , Politicians of Kenya , Uganda and all countries where BIDCO Operates , the People are speaking- And you’d better Listen .

An Open Letter To Vimal Shah. 

Dear Vimal

There are two photographs on this page, and while they might look like a family, they are separated by two nations : Misery and hopelessness . Yet they are part of the same tragedy, the  Kind that leaves deep and irreparable scars on a nation and its people for a lifetime .

The people posing in that photo were born in Uganda, all of them have faces , They have names. They are human ! The other photo is from Langata Road primary school when the Kids were fighting to reclaim their playground after being grabbed by a private developer . The images of teargassed children went Viral and managed to enrage the nation, because people could not believe that Innocent Kenyan Kids could be treated in such a way .

It forced President Uhuru Kenyatta to act, Step up and become a leader for his times . He demanded that the kids be given back their playground – And he gave hope to the Kids .

Then I later penned an article entitled ” The art of Landgrabbing in Africa by the Big Boys ” I ranted and highlighted how corporations are forcing poor Africans off their Land with Uganda Leading . I highlighted the  plight of farmers in Africa, how these corporations had carved  deep and shameful scars across the African identity that has been felt for decades .

The second paragraph in this article is of Ugandan farmers whose land was grabbed by BIDCO for palm oil production . Desire Nsamba Kiggundu, 43 one of the affected farmers says seven of his 12 Acres were taken yet he was given only 250,000 Ugandan Shillings ( $86.30 ) in compensation . Not so long ago, BIDCO came and drove him off his beloved land because they have no monies and the Big boys could buy the Ugandan Government and Justice system . Desire is now suffering, Nobody wants to help him . There are hundreds of such cases and desire is one of the farmers demanding for Justice .

Today, Desire is living like some hunted down refugee. Shocked and humiliated and penniless. And most of all Desire is ashamed because he believes what happened to him was somehow his own fate. And BIDCO certainly wanted to make sure they made him feel like that.

I have personally made myriad calls and contacted friends in Uganda and what is being done to our fellow Africans is sad. I have never been more ashamed  to be an African in my life .

What Vimal  Shah’s Bidco is doing in Kalangala Uganda is more than Corporate terrorism. Poor Ugandans are bullied, threatened and abused by BIDCO till they are forced off their  own land. So I must ask you Vimal, Is this simply aimed at grabbing land for palm production?As outrageous as it might seem, all the evidence flooding in seems to suggest that this is exactly what Vimal is doing in Uganda .

What is the role of Ugandan government in all this ? Why has the government and BIDCO  joined hands to terrorize Poor Ugandans ? Where are Ugandan  and Kenyan leaders  in all this ? Where are patriotic Kenyans and Ugandans ? The answer is nowhere to be seen …

For the last few years, we have been warned against the threats of terrorism . Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and other dispatched military forces  to bring down  Alshabaab in an effort to destroy  this threat to our own safety and security. We are told that terrorism is dangerous not only because of the threat to human life but also because it displaces populations and creates massive human cost of refugees.

Yet not a single newspaper or politician in Kenya has exposed that the worst form of terrorism that is happening right now is going on inside the heartland of Uganda as BIDCO is deliberately and cruelly forcing many poor Ugandan farmers off their land. What we are seeing in Uganda simply defies all description. Hundreds of broken and battered farmers in  displaced from their motherland . The scenes are more tragic and traumatic than a dozen of desperate funerals all laced onto the one stage.

Land Grabbing in Uganda is the large scale ” Purchase ” or leasing , eviction  of farmers from their land. Farmers are usually poorly compensated and when they ask they are told to accept what is given because ” They cant afford a lawyer to fight BIDCO ” . I respect you Vimal and it is quite time you clear your name. This issue has been there and many people are complaining . It needed somebody with  Influence to hype it so that the truth can be known and I have now joined the bandwagon .,There yah Go !!!

Since the 1990’s, Ugandan government has enabled foreign firms to acquire large areas of natural forests and farm land to foreign investors under the pretest of development . This has seen many protests in Uganda and recently more than 20 Ugandan women stripped naked to oppose land grabbing . The Pictures went Viral online and you can google and see the sad images because the integrity of my site wont allow me to upload them .

Dear Vimal, you are always moving all over giving entrepreneurial talks  yet you have refused to clear your name . You have refused to listen to the cry of poor Ugandans , do you have a heart? How do you feel when you see poor Ugandan children suffering as you make Billions from BIDCO ?

It has baffled many how Vimal Shah’s BIDCO managed to grab over 30,000 hectares of natural forests in Kalangala and large tracts of poor farmers land . Many farmers who were duped ” Because they are poor ” also want Justice , they want Vimal to give them their Land if not today NOW.

BIDCO activities have negatively affected Ugandans as opposed to benefiting them . The BIDCO activities have led to pollution of water and fisheries by chemical fertilizers from palm plantations, Dwindling of  common forests and the destruction of Lake Victoria.

Please Vimal Shah, Just spare Lake Victoria even if you dont value human Rights . This destruction has led to decline in tourism , It is prudent to note that  many monkeys have lost their lives because they are poisoned by Palm  fruits . This is a challenge to animal rights activists, stop sleeping ….Speak out

Many Children are also dying . Why ? As Bidco Keeps terrorizing people,  malaria infection is on the rise as the rise of forest cover and climate change affects the proliferation of the island. Vimal, are you happy as all this happens ? Are you ?

There is little doubt that this is a man-made disaster of incredible magnitude- And yet nobody- Neither media nor the NGO’s – Is willing to declare it as such .

The suicide level has now risen with fears that many farmers are depressed after losing their source of livelhood to BIDCO. It is not only the poor farmer who may do away with himself but also their children if nothing is done. Once again, no media has covered this or fought for the farmers who have been caught in this tragic situation.

And yet not one of us knew the situation  was this bad in Uganda . The truth is that the media basically doesnt give a damn . They have been shut down and muzzled by governments and the corporates to an extent that they cant write the real story. So the responsibility is now left to people like us, to social media – and you, the patriotic citizen!

And so BIDCO has been free to terrorize these poor Ugandans and play their games. BIDCO has completely devalued and seen the opportunity to strike the Poor Ugandans. This is a travesty against the rights and human rights of all poor Ugandan farmers .

But here is the thing: When BIDCO forced these poor farmers off their land, they had nowhere to go. There are no refugee services waiting.

And consider this : Not one of them has asked for help . Not one. They are ashamed , broken and brainwashed by BIDCO  to believe that everything that has happened is completely their own fault . Because BIDCO’s  headquarters are in Kenya, and we have been opposing land grabbing,  I humbly request the media and political leaders to give this issue the attention it deserves . I  will launch a social media campaign to urge leaders to do something .

The only thing the poor Ugandans want is their land. People need to be both informed and desperately outraged about what is  being done to poor Ugandans by BIDCO – A Kenyan company – Led by Vimal Shah. This is about every right that was once held dear to us : Human rights, civil rights and most of all, our freedom of speech . All of these have been taken away from the poor Ugandans by BIDCO and the rest of us need to understand that we may be probably next.

We will never sleep soundly again until we see that some Justice has been  served  .It is not the BIDCO we once knew, No longer Justice, No longer Freedom, No longer respect for human Rights , No longer the decent Vimal Shah  we thought earns his money Justly.

There is a terrible, gaping wound that has been carved in the hearts of these poor Ugandans . As I write this letter to you,  Vimal, I understand that there is the  plight of BIDCO workers . Most of them are poorly remunerated. Many of them cant afford Bidco products . The conditions under which they work have raised eyebrows . Their safety as the sons and daughters of the soil has been taken for granted. That  is not what today;s letter is about  but that will make another letter very soon .

We need to fully grasp that, and to understand that poor Ugandans – Dignified, decent and honorable – Have been deliberately terrorized , brutalized – And sold out by Vimal and his Bidco Company .

The truth is that no Ugandan was ever Consulted Mr Vimal  about whether they wanted their land grabbed by BIDCO or see their precious water poisoned and given away for free. BIDCO just saw the chance to make profit by displacing the weakest and most vulnerable in Uganda .

No Ugandan was ever consulted about whether or not they wanted their land sold cheaply to foreigners . It is because greedy Ugandan officials facilitated the act .

Nobody asked Ugandans, Nobody asked the people .

Please share this as widely as you can across the world , Urge NGO’s to wake up and address these atrocities . Tell them to campaign  so that Citizens can boycott products from companies doing wrong things . Tell them to put pressure till BIDCO values human  Rights and stops grabbing Poor folks lands  . Contact politicians, Contact newspapers , radios and even television stations . Demand that   that your voice is heard .

So if we are ever going to do something, then we’d better realize that it is now . Only three seconds to midnight . So lets be fast .

Regards

Cyprian Nyakundi

cc

Uhuru Kenyatta

Kaguta Museveni

Daily nation

associated Press

Human Rights Organizations

The Indepedent

The Guardian

Citizen TV News

The Standard

The Star Newspaper

 


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