On January 12, 2015, businessman Hamis Kiggundu made his pitch for the redevelopment of Nakivubo stadium and Park Yard Market to President Museveni at State House Entebbe.
Mr Kiggundu requested the President that government, through the Ministry of Education and Sports in liaison with the Uganda Land Commission, grants him a lease of 49 years to build and manage a business centre on the land.
After the meeting, the President, President wrote to Ms Jessica Alupo, then minister of Education, over the matter.
“I had a meeting with Mr Hamis Kiggundu, a youthful investor of only 30 years who has registered tremendous success in doing business especially in developing commercial buildings in and around the city,” Mr Museveni’s letter to Ms Alupo dated February 16, 2015, reads in part.
Before Mr Hamis met with the President, however, the Board of Trustees of Nakivubo stadium, which also owns the land on which Park Yard market was situated, had entered agreements with three other companies, apart from Mr Kiggundu’s Ham Enterprises, for the redevelopment of the stadium.
The three other companies are Future Land (U) Ltd owned by Mr Moses Kayongo, Bestin Ltd owned by Mr Tom Kitandwe and Ntelefune (U) Ltd owned by Mr John Bosco Muwonge.
Having informed Ms Alupo about Mr Kiggundu’s desire to develop the land occupied by the stadium and Park Yard, the President added: “I am therefore directing you to get in touch with Mr Kiggundu and look at his proposal.”
Ms Alupo, in a letter dated April 27, 2015, informed the President that the board of Nakivubo stadium had already contracted the three companies named above to do a similar job, for which reason Mr Kiggundu’s proposal was not tenable.
“Reversing this decision may be too costly and legally challenging to the government,” Ms Alupo informed the President.
Ms Alupo said all relevant stakeholders including the Ministry of Education, the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority, Kampala Capital City Authority and the Ministry of Justice were involved in the process resulted in the award of the contracts to the three companies.
Ms Alupo’s protests, however, did not deter Mr Kiggundu in his pursuit of the land. Through a combination of court action, courting the stadium’s managers and enlisting the support of Kampala affairs minister Beti Kamya and the police, Mr Kiggundu on February 28, 2017, managed to have Park Yard Market demolished and fenced off.
This was done in the night amidst heavy deployment of police and men with sticks to block vendors in the former Park Yard market from forcing their way back into the area. The deployment has not eased until now.
KCCA protested the eviction and, during a Council meeting, resolved that the Authority sues Ms Kamya, its minister, and Mr Kiggundu over the same. The City authority further said Mr Kiggundu had no approved plan and therefore could not commence construction at the site.
The three companies secured an interim order, suspending the termination of their contract. This interim order was issued by the High Court deputy registrar, Mr Alex Ajiji, the same person who had earlier issued an order halting any development on the stadium on the request of Mr Kiggundu.
Barely two days after the aggrieved companies had secured an interim order blocking the termination of their contracts, however, the Board of Nakivubo stadium and Mr Kiggundu signed a consent judgment before High Court Judge Patricia Wasswa Basaza.
The consent judgment reads in part: “…that the defendant (Board of Nakivubo stadium) shall and hereby rescinds, cancels and or annals any development contracts entered into with any third party or company touching the suit land comprised in plot 26 and 28 Nakivubo place.”
The managing director of Future Land (U) Ltd, Mr Kayongo, accuses the Sports minister Charles Bakkabulindi and Kampala minister Kamya of being incompetent in handling the matter.
“We have already sued Nakivubo Board of Trustees and we shall not relent until we get back what belongs to us,” Mr Kayongo says.
But Mr Kiggundu, speaking to this newspaper yesterday, denied having receiving a copy of the said injunction.
Mr Kiggundu said: “I have now started construction works and I am looking forward to putting up a magnificent building which will give Kampala City a new look. I still insist that I acquired this place lawfully and there is no amount of intimidation that will stop me from redeveloping Nakivubo.”
Before Park Yard was razed, Mr Kiggundu had sued the Board of Nakivubo stadium demanding that they grant him rights to redevelop the land because it was a presidential directive which they had no option but to abide by.
The suit filed in the Land Division of the High court in Kampala; vide High Court Civil Suit No 150 of 2016 followed Ms Alupo’s letter to the President advising against letting Mr Kiggundu redevelop the entire area.
Mr Kiggundu contended that President’s directive hadn’t been implemented and that the manner in which the contracts for the second and third phases to redevelop the stadium were awarded to the three companies was not in line with the law.
He later secured an interim order on 21 July 2016 stopping any redevelopment of the stadium.
“The President was very clear on Nakivubo redevelopment. Besides, the board didn’t follow the proper laws. I have $ 49m to spend on this whole project and I am happy that Court has since cleared me to carry out the redevelopment. All aggrieved parties should go to court,” Mr Kiggundu says.
The decision to terminate the contracts of the three companies forced the chairperson of Board, Mr Godfrey Mabirizi, to resign on January 16, 2017.
“…I regret to inform you that I am resigning my position as chairperson Board of Trustees NWMS. I am handing in this resignation due to personal reasons and it will come into effect immediately,” Mr Mabirizi’s letter to Sports minister Charles Bakkabulindi reads in part.
The deputy chairperson Board, Mr Charles Egou, says that the contracts of the three companies were cancelled because they had failed to commence as per the terms of the contract.
He adds that the other companies failed to challenge Mr Kiggundu’s interim order which halted any redevelopment on the sports ground, saying the Board couldn’t wait for the exercise to stall.
“We convened as Board on January 13 and unanimously agreed to cancel the contracts that we had earlier on awarded. In their contracts, there is a clause that mandates us to terminate them in case they delay to kick off the exercise. They have taken us to court but we are ready for it,” Mr Egou says.
He says the Board will refund the Shs 200m that each of the three companies paid as commitment fee, arguing that the three companies cannot ask for extra costs since they hadn’t started construction works.
Despite claims that despite demolishing Park Yard and the Stadium, Mr Kiggundu has never signed any contract with the Board, Mr Egou says both court and the Board cleared him to demolish both facilities.
He denies, however, that in agreeing to Mr Kiggundu’s demands the Board is abiding by a presidential directive.
Kampala Minister Kamya, who has been behind Mr Kiggundu all the way, says that the redevelopment of the stadium was a cabinet decision and that no person will block the exercise.
She says Mr Kiggundu is a well-established young businessman, who she says will redevelop the stadium into a modern facility and that she was appointed by the President to make the city look better.
“The Nakivubo issue is done and we are ready to move on with development. The problem is that there are politicians who want to block the process but they won’t succeed because the law is clear,” Ms Kamya says.
The original division of labour
The Board of Nakivubo stadium, on March 21, 2014, invited bids for the redevelopment of the remaining facilities of the stadium under phases two and three by way of a publication in the Uganda Gazette, to which the three companies responded.
The contracts, copies of which we have seen, would last 15 years. Bestin Ltd paid a commitment fee of Shs 240m, while Future land (U) Ltd and Ntelefune Enterprises paid Shs 200m each.
According to the signed contracts, all the private parties, would, after the five years of costs recovery pay to the public party an annual fee of Shs 200m for the next five years.
For the last two years of the expiry of the contract, the companies would pay an enhanced annual fee of Shs 240m.
According to the contracts, Ntelefune Enterprises Ltd was to redevelop part of the stadium facility into a modern 10,000-seater capacity pavilion; upgrading the main playing field to the latest Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) standards and build a modern Gym.
Its offer was issued to the company in April 2014; and a formal PPP contract signed in January, 2015.
Future Land (U) Ltd was to redevelop the Villa Kirussia side of the stadium into a modern seating facility. An offer letter was issued to the company on April 4, 2014 and a formal PPP contract signed on the January 6, 2015.
Bestin Limited was to redevelop and upgrade the Park Yard area into a modern market. An offer letter was issued to the company on April 10 2014 and a formal contract signed on January 10, 2015.
According to the documents we have seen, Ham Enterprises (U) Ltd was to upgrade part of the perimeter wall and construct lock ups thereon.
In this contract, Mr Kiggundu would also renovate the then existing netball pitch and construction of an entrance gate to the stadium facility. It was through this contract that Ham Shopping Mall was erected.
Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago calls the award of the Nakivubo contracts a sham, arguing that there were no proper laws guiding the award of the contracts.
“If Mr Kiggundu is allowed to redevelop Nakivubo, won’t this mean that Ugandans are now kicked out of the sports ground? He is just being used by capitalists so that Ugandans are kicked away of their own facility,” Mr Lukwago says. He wants the controversy surrounding the stadium probed.
About Nakivubo stadium
The 54-year old stadium sits on 13 acres of land and was established under the NWMS Trust Act, 1963 and is run by the Board of Trustees known as the registered Trustees of NWMS, appointed by the sports minister.
It sits on two prime properties comprised in leasehold registrar volume No.3; Folio No.24 and plot 28 Nakivubo place approximately 11.62 acres.
On its second property, it has a leasehold registrar volume No. 247; Folio No.3 and plot No. 26Nakivubo place (approximately 0.835 acres.
On September 16, 2009, Cabinet approved a master plan for the redevelopment and upgrading of the NWMS using the public-private-partnership (PPP) methodology but with a condition that the area and infrastructure around the stadium should be incorporated in the planning of the project.
Ms Kamya insists this is what she is implementing, although critics like Mr Lukwago say that a decision that was made in 2009 is now invalid because there have since been two election cycles.