Katanga residents appeal to govt over Makerere eviction threats

The aerial view of Katanga slum in Wandegeya, Kampala. PHOTO / FILE

What you need to know:

  • The local leaders of Busia and Kimwanyi zones in Wandegeya Parish, Kawempe Division, say the university issued notices in the media threatening to evict at least 50,000 people despite the High Court ruling that they are bonafide occupants of the land.

Residents of Katanga, a Kampala City suburb, have appealed to government to protect them from Makerere University, which is threatening to evict them from a disputed 10-acre piece of land.

The local leaders of Busia and Kimwanyi zones in Wandegeya Parish, Kawempe Division, say the university issued notices in the media threatening to evict at least 50,000 people despite the High Court ruling that they are bonafide occupants of the land.

 Addressing the media on Monday, the chairperson of Kimwanyi Zone, Mr Thomas Bagonza, said Makerere University is also targeting some residents who are lawful property owners such as Pastor Daniel Walugembe.

 “We shall not allow forceful, illegal eviction of any of our residents. Makerere University is aware that the grievances on Katanga land were decided by the High Court and we are enjoying our interests as bonafide occupants,” he said.

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

 The 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.

However, Makerere University has since appealed against the decision of the High Court in the Appeals Court.

 The group led by the chairperson  of Busia Zone, Mr Abdu Ssekajja, asked the authorities to restrain Makerere University from misleading the public about their stay on Katanga land.

 “We have read reports and statements calling us land grabbers but I want to put the record clear that we are bibanja holders and the court ruled that we are legal occupants,” Mr Ssekajja said.

According to Mr Ssekajja, then High Court Judge Alphonse Owiny-Dollo visited the land and interacted with all parties before making his decision which remains in force until a higher court rules otherwise.

He said Makerere University should follow the legal procedure in order to resolve the dispute.

Efforts to get a comment from Makerere University were futile by presstime.

Effort

In October last year, the High Court stopped security agencies from arresting Katanga land occupants, among them Pastor Walugembe, in regard to the same dispute.

 Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago last year asked the Kampala Capital City Authority technical wing to halt the impending evictions in Katanga to stave off what he describes as undesired consequences.

 On September 15, Internal Affairs Minister, Maj Gen (Rtd) Kahinda Otafiire, directed the Inspector General of Police to guide members of the Force to refrain from interfering with court orders not only in Katanga land matters but also in matters of similar nature.

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