Kayunga leaders, UPDF general clash over land

UPDF soldiers during a patrol. PHOTO/FILE/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • Moneyed and politically connected individuals with land titles are accused of evicting poor tenants from their ancestral land.

Leaders in Kayunga Sub-county, Kayunga District, and a senior UPDF soldier have locked horns over a piece of land that belongs to Buganda Kingdom.

The disputed prime land measures about four acres and is adjacent to Kayunga Regional Referral Hospital.
It houses Kayunga Sub-county headquarters, Kayunga Community Centre and a number of market stalls.

According to the sub-county chairperson, Mr Joshua Kampi, the soldier, Brig James Kinaalwa, claims to have obtained a 49-year lease for the land from Buganda Land Board (BLB) and wants them to vacate .

Brig Kinaalwa plans to construct a commercial building on the disputed  piece of land.

But Mr Kampi accuses Brig Kinaalwa of using fraudulent means to acquire the land, insisting that BLB could not offer a lease to him without their consent as sitting tenants.

“We have petitioned BLB through the chief administrative officer for Kayunga seeking clarification on the rightful owner of the land,” Mr Yasiin Kamulegeya, the Kayunga Sub-county district councillor, said in an interview on Tuesday.

Mr James Ssempigga, Kabaka ’s chief in  Bugerere County,  referred the matter to BLB, but Mr George Ssembogo, who is the Kabaka’s representative in  Kayunga Sub-county, said the disputed land is among the properties  central government returned to Buganda Kingdom. 

He wondered why Kayunga Sub-county leaders still  think they still own it. He instead accused sub-county leaders of trying to steal Kabaka’s land.
When contacted, Brig Kinaalwa dismissed claims that he grabbed the land and asked the sub-county authorities to officially complain to BLB.

“If they have a lease for that land from BLB, let them present it,” he said.
But Mr Kampi said they obtained a lease offer from Uganda Land Commission in 2000, subject to renewal.

“We are ready to die from here defending this land. If it means shooting us, we are ready to die,” he vowed.
Mr Denis Bugaya, the BLB legal and information officer, dismissed claims by Kayunga Sub-county authorities that the contested land belongs to them.

“On August 5, the Kayunga chief administrative officer wrote to us, asking us to allow them to occupy some pieces of land, and Kayunga Sub-county land is among those areas. We are yet to sit to consider their request. So, if they have just made their request, they cannot claim to own that land,” Mr Bugaya said.

He, however, said he would cross-check if Brig Kinaalwa was offered a lease for the said land.

Kayunga District is a hotbed for land wrangles in which a number of people have lost their lives and property. It is on this basis that government is pushing for land reforms which they say are aimed at curing rampant evictions in the country.

Moneyed and politically connected individuals with land titles are accused of evicting poor tenants from their ancestral land.