Lukwago tells KCCA to go slow on Katanga land row

Kawempe Division speaker Justus Akampurira (left), presides over a council sitting in Katanga, Kampala, yesterday. The land is a subject of a dispute between one family and Makerere University. PHOTO/MICHAEL KAKUMIRIZI

What you need to know:

  • Makerere’s role. On August 11, Prof Barnabas Nawangwe wrote to various stakeholders about the disputed land. In a letter, the Makerere University vice chancellor claimed to have acquired the land on Block 38 commonly referred to as Lower Katanga. He added that the land was reserved for “future developments in line with our motto of building for the future.” 

Kampala Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago has asked the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) technical wing to halt the impending evictions in Katanga, a backwater near Wandegeya.

In a September 2 letter to the KCCA Executive Director, Mr Lukwago warned that it will be a glaring breach of law to issue demolition orders and approve plans submitted by Makerere University before the Court of Appeal pronounces itself on the matter.

“I am utterly shocked at the way KCCA management team gets embroiled in matters involving flouting of court orders,” Mr Lukwago wrote, adding: “Makerere University can pursue their appeal and convince the justices to overturn the High Court judgement.”

Mr Lukwago said matters concerning Katanga Valley land have been a subject of protracted legal battles stretching from 1993 to date.

In 2015, the High Court ruled that the Katanga land was occupied by four family members and their licensees. It further added that these 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 took on Makerere University and the Commissioner for Land registration following the cancellation of their land titles and ownership of the land.

The High Court dismissed with costs an application in which Makerere University had sought injunctive orders against Katanga residents from developing or alienating their bibanja/ bonafide tenancies. Makerere University has since appealed against the decision In the letter, Mr Lukwago described as irregular and baffling for Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe to write to the office of deputy executive director and not the office of executive director about the Katanga land.

“As law abiding citizens, the residents of Katanga took all the necessary steps in line with the Justice Owiny Dollo orders which have never been vacated or overturned by a superior court and proceeded to write to Makerere University proposing an arrangement to pay Busuulu to Makerere University as their Landlord,” reads Mr Lukwago’s letter.

The Lord Mayor’s letter followed complaints by lawyers representing the Katanga residents that KCCA is complicit in their eviction at the behest of Makerere University. 

According to Mr Lukwago, bonafide occupants or customary tenants have equitable interests in any piece of land in their possession.

“Makerere University has no vacant land in Katanga Valley as alleged by the Vice Chancellor...,” he said.