Kampala- Soldiers attached to External Security Organisation (ESO) yesterday barred the head of the Commission of Inquiry into land matters, Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, and her team from accessing a piece of land they are investigating in Mutungo zone IV.
There was commotion as escorts of commissioners engaged the two soldiers of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces guarding the site at the entrance to Block 237 Plot 67, 48, 29 and 59 where ESO intends to build its headquarters.
Tensions heightened between the anti-terrorism policemen who form the core security detail of Justice Bamugemereire and the two soldiers.
At one point Cpl Julius Katuriba, one of the two soldiers cocked his gun, prompting one of Justice Bamugemereire’s escorts to snatch a loaded magazine (bullet pack) from his gun.
Sandwiched, Cpl Katuriba could only point a finger ordering the land probe team not to proceed beyond that point.
After unsuccessful attempts by Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander Moses Kafeero to persuade the soldiers to allow the team access the land, Justice Bamugemereire intervened but the army men still refused.
Tension escalated and the land probe team had to step back as residents looked on in shock.
“That’s what we were telling Justice Bamugemereire that some people are above the law,” one of the residents was overheard saying.
“They will come and beg us to appear and we will not allow. As for me my job is done,” Justice Bamugemereire said as she walked back with her team.
Residents claimed that President Museveni’s daughter Natasha Karugire stays in the next plot. However, Daily Monitor could not independently verify this claim.
The four plots of land were sold by Dr Muhammad Kasasa to ESO at Shs2.4b but he said he has never been paid and the money only exists on paper.
The land at the summit of Mutungo hill has a nice scenery. The road to the summit is lined with posh homes and a few empty plots.
Prince Wasajja reported Dr Kasasa to the Commission accusing him of grabbing 639 acres of land from the estate of his late father King Edward Muteesa II. The land on Block 237 in Mutungo was registered in Kabaka Muteesa’s name on February 12, 1946.
Justice Bamugemereire yesterday led her team to tour the Mutungo land that covers Zone I, II, III, IV, V and VI.
Earlier in the day, the Commission held a meeting at Mutungo Kukiddukka where residents demanded that the probe team helps them identify the true landlord.
The residents showed Justice Bamugemereire receipts of ground rent they used to pay to Sir Edward Muteesa who they claimed was their landlord.
They accused Dr Kasasa of using soldiers to torture them and demolishing their properties in an attempt to evict them from the land.
The residents said they were tired of letters from State House and asked Justice Bamugemereire to find out who was behind the letters that are threatening them off their land.
Ms Stella Gwavu, the daughter of George William Serwadda in Mutungo Zone IV, said: “Our father acquired this land to set up a hotel project but Dr Kasasa sold the land to ESO. Half of that land is on freehold. The other we were paying ground rent.”
“You do not occupy someone’s land and claim we will talk,” Ms Gwavu said, accusing ESO of grabbing their land. Later at the Commission, Dr Kasasa defended himself against the accusations saying he had not chased anybody from the land.
“Those people are accusing me of evicting them but all of them are on the land. None of them has been chased away,” Dr Kasasa explained.