Kayunga leaders back family in land dispute with Buganda

 Part of the contested piece of land that is adjacent to Kayunga Regional Referral Hospital. PHOTO | FRED MUZAALE

What you need to know:

  • It is also on this land that Brig James Kinaalwa, an army official, is erecting a commercial building amid protest from Kalya’s family, who claim he is illegally occupying it since they did not sell it to him.

Authorities in Kayunga District have backed a family as the rightful owners of a 49-acre piece of land in the town council that is being claimed by Buganda Kingdom.

The deputy Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Mr Peter Mawerere, in an August 23 letter to the Buganda Kingdom attorney general, Mr Christopher Bwanika, said the contested land is part of the late Malaki Kalya Nsibirwa’s estate.

The land accommodates Buganda sub-county administration and district town council offices as well as Kayunga Regional Referral Hospital.

Mr Bwanika had in a June letter addressed to the RDC indicated that the land was transferred to Buganda in a swap transaction.

“A close scrutiny of the entries appearing in the records indicate that 49 acres were transferred from the estate of Malaki Kalya Nsibirwa to Mumyuka of Bugerere in exchange for an equal area off [the latter’s] land at Bbaale,” the letter reads in part.

However, Mr Mawerere in the August 23 letter stated that investigations by the district security committee confirmed that the land belongs to the late Kalya’s family.

“In the circumstances the district land surveyor’s report is valid and to the best of my knowledge contains no errors, misrepresentations and or omissions,” the letter reads in part. 

It is also on this land that Brig James Kinaalwa, an army official, is erecting a commercial building amid protest from Kalya’s family, who claim he is illegally occupying it since they did not sell it to him.

“This is our land and we have documents to prove ownership,” Mr Musa Wamala, a family member, said on Monday. 

However,  Brig Kinaalwa claims Buganda Land Board sold him the land at Shs35m, adding that Mr Denis Bugaya, the board’s legal officer and spokesperson, confirmed the transaction.

 We could not independently verify this claim by press time. 

The family has since been selling off plots on the contested land to developers, with the town clerk, Ms Faridah Kulabako, indicating that they plan to compensate the family for occupying it.

However, Ms Margaret Ssempala, the Kabaka’s representative in Kayunga Sub-county, on Tuesday said people who have been buying the land did so illegally.

“I have filed cases of criminal trespass and malicious damage to property to police by those occupying our land and cutting down trees,” Ms Ssempala said.

At the weekend, police officers stopped  UPDF soldiers attached to Brig Kinaalwa from beating up casual workers at a plot of land near the contested one.

Brig Kinaalwa said he deployed the soldiers to prevent loss of lives since the labourers were standing near a tree that was being cut down.

Other developments

Recently, Buganda officials uprooted signposts erected by Kalya’s family at the disputed land. The family, which claims to have a title for the land, also wrote to Brig Kinaalwa and asked him to vacate it but he did not respond. 

Last year, the Mukono High Court deputy registrar, Ms Mary Ikit, issued an interim order blocking Brig Kinaalwa from erecting the building or carrying out any other activity on the land, but the army officer did not take heed.

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