Kampala. The deceased city businessman Charles Muhangi was scheduled to meet President Museveni and his business rivals Drake Lubega and Mansoor Matovu, alias Young, yesterday to resolve the wrangle over ownership of Qualicel Bus Terminal.
Muhangi, aged 65, died in his bed yesterday morning before the meeting time. Observers say his death could escalate the property ownership wrangle.
According to a source, both Muhangi and his adversaries spent the better part of Wednesday waiting for a call from State House for the meeting.
Mr Matovu and Mr Lubega declined to confirm whether they were scheduled to meet Mr Museveni yesterday.
Muhangi has been in court battling with Mr Lubega and Mr Matovu for ownership of the bus terminal since 2005.
The latest incident was last month when police evicted Mr Lubega and Mr Matovu from the bus terminal basing on a letter by a junior officer from the office of the Solicitor General.
The letter was later recalled by the officer saying it had been issued in error, but the police declined to enforce the new order until the Solicitor General, Mr Francis Atoke, made a final decision.
The President’s press secretary, Mr Don Wanyama, said he was not aware of the meeting between President Museveni and the businessmen.
“I do not think they were going to meet because I was aware of President Museveni’s schedule unless it was a private arrangement,” Mr Wanyama said yesterday.
On November 13, President Museveni met the businessmen and gave them seven days to settle their misunderstandings.
The deputy President’s press secretary, Ms Lindah Nabusayi, said then that the meeting was private and she could not provide details.
Both parties agreed to go by the decision of President Museveni. Since then, Mr Museveni had not met the trio.
The wrangles for ownership of the bus terminal started in 2004 when Mr Mr Drake Lubega, Mr Fredrick Lubega, Mr John Ssebalamu, Mr John Bosco Muwonge and Ms Christine Nalubega bought the land from Uganda Bus Operators Association (UBOA) Investments where Muhangi was a member.
Mr Lubega sold a part of his plot to Mr Mansoor Matovu and they jointly built Qualicel Bus Terminal Shopping Centre, Qualicel Bus Terminal and Nabukeera Arcade at the former Baganda Bus Park land.
Mr Lubega’s other colleagues constructed arcades on their respective plots.
Muhangi later sued the businessmen and businesswoman, saying President Museveni had given him the land.
He won the case in court. His rivals appealed or secured injunctions to stop Muhangi from taking over the property. In 2015, court gave Muhangi an order to evict Mr Lubega and Mr Matovu.
The case was pursued up to the Supreme Court but in July 2017, Muhangi and Mr Lubega reached an amicable agreement and the case was dismissed in favour of Mr Lubega.
However, in November this year, Ms Charity Nabasa wrote on behalf of the Solicitor General ordering police to evict Mr Lubega and his agents off plots 43 to 47 on Nakivubo Road.
Ms Nabasa later recalled her letter, saying it had been made in error.
Her new orders have not yet been enforced.