Makerere cited in Katanga property destruction

A section of the disputed land in Katanga near Wandegeya in Kampala. PHOTO / ABUBAKER LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • It is alleged that in the wee hours of yesterday, a group of people led by the university security officer and backed by armed men demolished structures in Busia Zone, Wandegeya Parish.

Makerere University officials and the police have been accused of demolishing structures on the disputed Katanga land near Wandegeya, Kampala, in violation of a High Court order .

It is alleged that in the wee hours of yesterday, a group of people led by the university security officer and backed by armed men demolished structures in Busia Zone, Wandegeya Parish.

Affected residents and their leaders claim the attackers stole property, which includes a wire mesh, iron bars, concrete poles, and iron sheets.

Mr Abdu Ssekajja, a leader in Busia Zone, appealed to authorities to compel the university and its agents to abide by the court order and desist from acting with impunity.

In March, the High Court issued a temporary order halting any government employees/ agents from evicting more than 50,000 occupants, among them Pastor Daniel Walugembe from the land, until the final disposal of the main case.

The court also halted any criminal investigations against Pastor Walugembe in respect to the dispute and stopped government agencies from interfering with any developments on the land.

The court order was issued against the Attorney General, the director, criminal investigations, the commandant of land protection unit of the police, and the police in general.

Pastor Walugembe accused the government agents of violating the law.

“We have instructed our lawyers to institute both criminal and civil proceedings against any institution behind this demolitions and individuals because this is contempt of court,”  he said.


Vow to take legal action

He added that cases of malicious damage to property, theft, criminal trespass and abduction of their guards would be opened against the perpetrators behind the attacks and demolition.

Mr Thomas Bagonza, a councillor in Kawempe Division, condemned the demolition, saying the act amounts to violence and disrespect to the law.

“We are going to take legal action against anyone in this case. We were declared bonafide lawful occupants and the decision of court has never been overturned but instead it is being infringed,” Mr Bagonza said.

When Daily Monitor contacted Ms Ritah Namisango, the university spokesperson, about the alleged attacks, she referred us to the institution’s secretary, Mr Yusuf Kiranda, who did not answer our repeated phone calls.

He had not yet returned our calls by press time.


Background


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 well protected under the law.

The family members include Jonathan Yosamu Masembe, Blasio Buyisi, George Kalimu, and Samalie Nambogga. They are battling with  the university and the Commissioner Land Registration over cancellation of their land titles and ownership of the land by Makerere.

In April, the court stopped Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) from demolishing structures on the land until determination of pending disputes. The order was issued against KCCA and its deputy executive director, Mr David Luyimbazi.

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