Chapa Karuhanga, ‘UPDF soldier’ in row over land

Wednesday February 14 2018

Complainant. Mr Chapa Karuhanga

Complainant. Mr Chapa Karuhanga 

By Misairi Thembo Kahungu

Kampala. A former presidential candidate, Mr Chapa Karuhanga, and a group of men led by a one John Masembe, who is believed to be a Captain in the Uganda People’s Defence Forces, are locking horns over a piece of land in Munyonyo, an upscale Kampala suburb.
The 3.5 acre piece of land under dispute, currently valued at Shs15 billion, sits on Plot 410 on Munyonyo-Salama Road near Kiruddu Hospital, an extension of Mulago National Referral Hospital. Mr Karuhanga said he holds a land title that was passed over to him by his seller, Mr Vincent Katamba in 1989.

Seeking remedy
The dispute that dates back to 2014, has compelled Mr Karuhanga to run to the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire-led Commission of Inquiry into land matters to intervene.
This newspaper has seen a letter dated June 16, 2017 in which Mr Karuhanga asks the land commission to study the matter with the hope of getting justice.

He told the land probe commission in the letter that after petitioning police’s Land Protection Unit, State House and the Civil Division of the High Court, there has not been any justice since 2016.
“Having failed to get redress from Kibuli Police Land Protection Unit, we appealed to the commandant of the Police Special Investigation Unit, Kireka and copied in the Inspector General of Police and the director of land matters, State House (Ms Gertrude Njuba). No remedy could come from the above offices,” Mr Karuhanga’s letter reads in part.

“Having secured no help at all from the government departments noted above, I resorted to courts of law and filed a case in the High Court under reference number HCC No 168 of 2016. Up to now, the case has not been fixed for hearing. The trespassers have meanwhile continued to erect permanent structures on my land,” the letter adds.

Mr Karuhanga told Daily Monitor in Kampala yesterday that he decided to run to the land commission with the hope that it would study his complaint and understand “the problems the members of the public faced in dealing with well-connected land grabbers”.
Justice Bumugemereire’s commission is yet to fix a hearing for the petition.

Masembe accused
“In 2016, when we went to court, there were no structures. Masembe had by use of guns chased away the people I had put on the land to keep it busy by growing sugarcane and potatoes ever since I bought it. He has now defied the court order by constructing houses,” Mr Karuhanga said. He also revealed that Mr Masembe has been asking to be compensated as a Kibanja holder, which he has refused.

When contacted, Mr Masembe declined to pick our repeated phone calls but instead responded to SMS chats in which he declined to “discuss a matter before court with a journalist”.
Mr Masembe also said Mr Karuhanga needs to explain how he got the land title. He also declined to comment on whether he is a retired UPDF Captain.

Getting the title. Mr Karuhanga displayed to Daily Monitor a copy of the land title issued to Morrison Mayanja Ntwatwa in 1952, who passed it to Vincent Katamba through sale of land in 1986. Mr Katamba also sold the same land to Mr Karuhanga in 1989 and subsequently passed on the same land title.