Kayunga leaders, UPDF officer clash over Buganda Kingdom land

Kayunga Sub-County chairman, Joshua Kampi left and other leaders inspect the contested piece of land on August 11, 2021 PHOTO / FRED MUZAALE

Kayunga Sub County leaders and a Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) officer in Kayunga District have locked horns over a piece of land that belongs to Buganda Kingdom.
The disputed prime piece measures about 4 acres and is adjacent to Kayunga Regional Referral Hospital.
The land in question houses Kayunga Sub County headquarters and Kayunga community centre and a number of market stalls.
According to Mr Joshua Kampi, the Kayunga Sub County chairperson, Brig. James Kinaalwa claims to have obtained a 49- year lease for the land from Buganda Land Board (BLB) and wants them to evict them.
Buganda Land Board is a professional body set up by the Kabaka to manage land and property returned to the kingdom under the Restitution of Assets and Properties Act of 1993.  The board manages land that was returned during the memorandum of understanding between the central government and the Kabaka of Buganda in 2013 including land that houses counties and sub-counties.
Brig Kinaalwa, who is a born of Kayunga District, plans to construct a commercial building on the disputed piece of land.
But Mr Kampi accused Brig Kinaalwa of using fraudulent means to grab the land, insisting that the board could not offer a lease to him without their consent as sitting tenants.
"We have petitioned the board through the Chief Administrative Officer of Kayunga District seeking clarification on the rightful owner of the land," Mr Kampi said during an interview on Thursday.
Mr James Ssempigga, the Kabaka’s chief in Bugerere County referred the matter to board, but Mr George Ssembogo, who is the Kabaka’s representative in Kayunga Sub County, said the disputed piece of land is among the properties the central government returned to Buganda Kingdom and wondered why Kayunga Sub county leaders think they still own it. He instead accused sub county leaders of trying to steal Kabaka's land.
When contacted, Brig Kinaalwa rubbished claims that he had grabbed the land and asked the Sub County authorities to officially file the complaint to Buganda Land Board.
"If they have a lease for that land from the board, let them present it," he said.
Mr Kampi insists that they obtained a lease offer for the land from Uganda Land Commission in 2000 and that it is subject to automatic renewal.
"We are ready to die from here defending this land. If it means shooting us we are ready to die," he vowed.
When contacted, Mr Denis Bugaya, the Buganda Land Board legal and information officer, dismissed claims by Kayunga Sub County authorities that the contested piece of land belongs to them.
"On August 5, the Kayunga District 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 to us they cannot claim to own that land," Mr Bugaya said.
He, however, said he was going cross-check to see if Brig Kinaalwa was offered a lease for the said land.
Kayunga District is a hot bed for land wrangles and a number of people have lost their lives and property as a result.