Kamwenge. Kamwenge District Local Government and Tooro Kingdom have locked horns over ownership of land in Kamwenge District as kingdom officials accuse district authorities of allegedly grabbing their land.
Both parties lay claim on ownership of more than 600 acres that are currently occupied by government institutions and some private individuals.
The disputed land has Nyachwamba land and Kamwenge prison sitting on 325 acres, Gariraya land on eight acres, Kakara Village on 60 acres, Kakyinga Kabunga on 194 acres, Lyamugonera land on 25 acres and 60 acres of land at Karambi quarry that was formerly occupied by Uganda Railways Corporation.
The kingdom alleges that the land under contention belongs to them but has been encroached on by individuals and Kamwenge.
The kingdom Prime Minister, Mr Bernard Tungwako, said because of the increasing encroachment on kingdom land, they have since reported the matter to police.
“I have decided to camp in Kamwenge to ensure that there is no more grabbing of the kingdom land by the district authorities because there are some land titles that have been given out by the lands officer in Kamwenge, yet it is the same land we are demanding from the central government,” Mr Tungwako said.
He alleged that Kamwenge District authorities through the Lands office have taken advantage of government’s delay to return their land titles to grab their land.
Mr Tungwako Lands officials have allegedly given out the land title of 32 acres, part of the disputed 325 acres Nyachwamba land and as such, the kingdom has put a caveat on the title to ensure that the land title is cancelled.
“Some of our land which we are still demanding from central government include that at Nyachwamba, Karambi stone quarry and another in Kamwenge Town where the king had his guest house,” he said.
He added that the kingdom wants people currently occupying the land to register to have the land leased.
The Kamwenge District Lands officer, Mr Ferdinand Byamugisha, dismissed the allegations that the district authority has grabbed kingdom land. He also said the land that is owned by the kingdom in the district is clearly known.
“Tooro Kingdom has only seven land titles in Kamwenge District and these were returned by government in 1993 after kingdoms were restored by President Museveni,” he noted.
He said the land titles include 639 acres at Kayaga, Block 108, Plot I, 647 acres of land at Katozi, Block 86, Plot I, 311 acres at Nyakasenyi, Block 92, Plot I, 721 acres at Bujumiro, Block 88, Plot I, 297.5 acres at Bwetamba, Block 85, Plot I, 886 acres at Ntara, Block 76, Plot I and 630 acres at Rwejobe.
After restoration of kingdoms in 1993, government returned some of the Tooro Kingdom properties but up to now, the kingdom officials claim that government has not released all their assets.
According to Tooro Kingdom officials, the central government in 1999 only returned 17 titles located in Fort Portal town out of 120 titles.
Since then, the kingdom has been pushing for the return of all kingdom land.
Late last year, the Tooro Kingdom Supreme Council (Orukurato) passed a resolution to drag government to court if their assets are not returned.