What you need to know:
- The court decision comes 33 days after the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire-led land probe team handed over its final report to President Museveni containing proposal for formation of a Land Ombudsman as a forum of first contact for addressing land complaints and reliefs.
The Constitutional Court has quashed the decisions and recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry into Land matters which the judges condemned as having acted illegally when it convened itself as a court of law in handling land disputes.
In a unanimous decision of the court yesterday, the five judges of the panel ordered that all disputes relating to ownership, use and or access to land emanating from the Land Act, the registration of titles Act or any other law where such a dispute is not resolved amicably or administratively can only be determined by a court of law established under Article 129 of the Constitution.
“The acts of the Land Commission of Inquiry of exercising judicial power by issuing orders preserving the status quo on the second petitioner’s (Mityana Farm Enterprises) land and issuing a warrant of arrest for businessman, Abid Alam, for failing to comply with the Commission’s directives and obstructing its work, were in contravention of Articles 2 and 126 of the Constitution,” Justice Cheborion Barishaki ruled in the lead judgment.
Others were Chief Justice Alphonse Owiny-Dollo, Justice Kenneth Kakuru, Justice Egonda Ntende and Justice Christopher Madrama.
The court also issued a permanent injunction restraining the land probe from exercising judicial powers.
The court orders arise from a petition by Mr Alam and his Mityana Farm Enterprises through their lawyers Muwema and Company Advocates who challenged the land probe arrest warrants and orders regarding his ownership of land in Bukompe in Mityana District.
According to the judgment, when the land inquiry issued a warrant of arrest against Mr Alam for obstructing its work and disregarding its directives, it exercised judicial power which can only be exercised by courts of judicature.
The court decision comes 33 days after the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire-led land probe team handed over its final report to President Museveni containing proposal for formation of a Land Ombudsman as a forum of first contact for addressing land complaints and reliefs.