Court stops KCCA from demolishing Katanga buildings

An aerial view of Katanga, Wandegeya. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • The order was issued on June 2 following a March 25 interim order.

Court has stopped Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) from demolishing buildings on Katanga Valley land near Wandegeya until pending disputes over ownership are determined.

The Civil Division of the High Court registrar issued a temporary order against KCCA and its deputy executive director, Mr David Luyimbazi.

“An order of a temporary injunction is issued to restrain the respondents, their employees, subordinates, agents, successors in office, assignees or any other person acting in their stead or claiming under them from demolishing the plaintiff’s structures and developments on freehold land at Katanga and or furthering the process of demolition pending final determination of the main suit,” reads the June 3 order issued by deputy registrar Jamson Karemani.

The buildings, which the respondents intend to demolish, are occupied by more than 50,000 bibanja holders in Busia and Kimwanyi zones in Katanga Valley. 

The order was issued on June 2 following a March 25 interim order.

Mr Karemani reasoned that Pastor Daniel Walugembe of Eternal Life Gospel Church had demonstrated to court that there are structures, including commercial buildings and a church, which are used by many people who would be inconvenienced by the demolition.

He added that if it is done, the occupants of Katanga land, among them the pastor, would suffer irreparable damage.

The court order followed an application in which Pastor Walugembe challenged the KCCA plan to demolish buildings on Katanga Valley land. He argued that the structures are a source of livelihood to more than 50,000 residents who will be rendered homeless.

Pastor Walugembe is one of the Kibanja holders who are embroiled in the legal battle with Makerere University over Katanga Valley land.

Background 

In 2015, the High Court ruled that the Katanga Valley land was occupied by four family members and their licensees, who are now bonafide occupants, whose rights are well protected under the laws governing ownership of land.

The four family members are Jonathan Yosamu Masembe, Bulasio Buyisi, George Kalimu, and Samalie Nambogga. They were battling with Makerere University and the Commissioner for Land registration over cancellation of their Land titles and ownership of the land by Makerere University.

However, Makerere University has since appealed against the decision faulting the High Court in a matter pending hearing and determination before the Appeal Court.

Through his lawyers of Mwesigwa Rukutana and Advocates, Pastor Walugembe contends that KCCA and Mr Luyimbazi have on several occasions organised meetings and hatched out malicious and illegal plans on how to demolish his structures.

Court records show that on March 18 to 20, KCCA deployed its enforcement officers to survey the suit properties to come up with a plan on how to carry out the demolition, which was slated for March 21 to 24.

“The structures and buildings that the respondents (KCCA) intend to demolish have been in existence since 1997 and I acquired them for value from my predecessors in title. The first respondent (KCCA) has for a long time been collecting property tax from me in respect to the suit buildings,” Pr Walugembe states in the sworn statement.

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