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Catholic clerics have condemned the rising cases of land grabbing targeting Church-owned institutions.
Speaking during celebrations to mark the 40 years’ anniversary of Kiyinda Mityana Diocese on Sunday, Bishop Anthony Zziwa said some families donated their land to the Church several years ago, but their descendants are now reclaiming it.
“While the intentions of the original land donors to the Catholic Church were to spread and preach the word of God, boost healthcare and education, the land grabbers are against the good intentions. The Catholic Church and the sister institutions move together and have in many instances the same land title in particular areas. This has been abused by selfish individuals,” Bishop Zziwa told congregants.
“The head teachers receive support from different individuals but several are taking advantage and turning against the schools by demanding the land titles. The intentions to have the land titles are not in good spirit,” he added.
Cardinal Emmanuel Wamala, the Episcopal coordinator, said the Church land was no longer safe.
“We do not know what is happening in other institutions, but we are concerned about the Catholic Church land,” Cardinal Wamala said.
Masaka Diocesan Bishop Serverus Jjumba warned against grabbing Church land.
“Do not tamper with the Church land. You can tamper with other things as leaders but do not touch the Church land,” Bishop Jumba said.
The Rev Fr James Ssendege, the pastoral coordinator, said the diocese is now laying strategies on how to secure the Church land through acquiring the land titles. Last year, the Rev Fr Centurio Olaboro, the coordinator of Justice and Peace in Tororo Archdiocese, accused district employees of conniving with individuals to grab church land.
He cited a scenario in which one of the area councillors was allocated part of the diocese land and has already constructed two buildings on it.
Cardinal Wamala recognised
Meanwhile, at Kiyinda –Mityana Diocese, Cardinal Wamala received the Papal applause from Pope Francis for his dedicated service to the Church and God through different ministries.
Cardinal Wamala was the pioneer bishop of the diocese after his consecration in 1981.