The Church of Uganda has accused the management of National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) of frustrating its recovery of 100 acres of land in Ntawo, Mukono District from government following the expiry of a lease.
The land housing Mukono Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute had been leased for 49 years to Uganda Land Commission (ULC) until 2006.
The Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Stanley Ntagali, yesterday said ULC had not been meeting its ground rent and other obligations under the lease which forced the church not to renew the lease.
“…the first withdrawal by NARO from Ntawo was supposed to be on June 24 2014, the current management of NARO is frustrating the Memorandum of Understanding executed using political action to defeat the mutual agreement under court and to incite the public and squatters in Ntawo against the church,” Archbishop Ntagali said.
Speaking at the opening of the 22nd provincial assembly at the Uganda Christian University (UCU) in Mukono, Archbishop Ntagali said the land was allocated to the university to construct a housing estate with schools and a playground.
“When UCU Holdings tried to use the land, NARO went to court and obtained an injunction against the trustees of the Church of Uganda and UCU holdings. The Court directed the Church and NARO to negotiate and settle the dispute. The negotiations were successful and a Memorandum of Understanding between UCU holdings, NARO, the church commissioners and ULC regarding phased withdrawal by NARO was signed on December 24, 2013,” the archbishop said.
Dr Ambrose Agona, the NARO director general, denied any wrongdoing, saying the initiatives by NARO were being misconstrued by the church.
“We are not refusing to vacate the land but considering the developments and the available law making us (NARO) bonafide in that for any developments, we must be given first priority and we paid all the lease obligations to zero balance as of 2006 to Church of Uganda and not UCU holdings,” he said.
Archbishop Ntagali appealed to authorities to restrain NARO from creating antagonism between the church and government.