Tuesday June 3 2014

NFA asks court to end land case

High Court Judge Akiiki Batume (R) writes down a few details during

High Court Judge Akiiki Batume (R) writes down a few details during the inspection of the disputed reserve last week. Photo by Edson Amanyire. 

By Edson Amanyire

Kyenjojo- The National Forestry Authority has asked court to reach a conclusive end on a disputed forest reserve in Matiri, Kyenjojo District claimed by some residents, Tooro Kingdom and a mailo land owner, Ms Christine Knops.

The plea was made by the NFA executive director, Mr Michael Mugisa, during the inspection of the disputed land by Fort Portal High Court Judge Batume Akiiki.

The inspection follows a law suit that was filed by one of the residents, Mr Patrick Karubanga, who claims he inherited the land from his grand parents.

Mr Mugisa said one year had elapsed since a caveat was placed on the disputed land, urging court to quickly dispense justice as well.

However, he said the parties involved should accept the decision that court could have reached.
Residents, according to NFA, have ignored the boundaries and continues to encroach on the protected forest.

Mr Robert Owinyi, the NFA Muzizi Range manager, said Matiri Central Forest Reserve has a one square mile enclave which is under threat from encroachers.

The claimants
Tooro Kingdom claims to own part of the enclave while the remaining part is claimed by the mailo land owner.

According to Mr Owinyi, the two claimants have no direct control over the disputed land but have appointed agents to manage it on their behalf.

According to Mr Karubanga, his effort to survey the land was frustrated after NFA’s patrol unit stopped the surveyors from conducting the survey, which prompted him to file a suit before Fort Portal High Court.

The suit filed by his lawyer, Mr Ngaruye Ruhindi, last week prompted the Justice Akiiki to inspect the contested piece of land before disposing off the suit.

NFA evicted over 500 people from protected reverses Kyenjojo District early this year but some of those evicted have since been attempting to return.