Mengo disowns contested 137 acre Kyambogo land

The head of State House Anti-Corruption Unit, Col Edith Nakalema, speaks to residents and the media after touring the contested land in Kyambogo yesterday. PHOTO / ABUBAKER LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • Buganda Kingdom indicates that the Kabaka does not own any land at the lower ends of Kyambogo. 

The fate of squatters on the contested land in Kyambogo that is claimed by the university and Kampala District Land Board was yesterday thrown into jeopardy after Mengo disowned any relations.

An estimated 4,000 squatters who  settle on the land say Buganda Kingdom owns the land referred in official documents as “Kyambogo Link land”.

Buganda Kingdom Attorney General Christopher Bwanika said: “You cannot just settle on the land without permission from the owner. If you settled here with your grandparents who also settled here illegally, the laws cannot be on your side. The Kabaka did not settle anyone on this land as you have claimed because he does not own the land at lower Kyambogo.” 

“The only land the kingdom owns is in upper Kyambogo, near the (Banda) palace, which issues are being resolved between the two institutions,” he added.

The new details were revealed yesterday during a site-evaluation meeting convened by the head of State House Anti-Corruption Unit, Col Edith Nakalema, said. 

Accompanied by the Ministry of Lands, Kyambogo University, Buganda Kingdom, Uganda Land Commission, and Buganda Land Board officials, Col Nakalema said the settlers on the 137-acre piece of land failed to provide documentary proof of ownership.

Unhappy, the angry residents hurled insults at officials of Kyambogo University, arguing that they inherited the land from their forefathers who told them the land belonged to Buganda Kingdom.

“I have grown from here and given birth to nine children. All along, we knew this land belonged to Buganda Kingdom and not Kyambogo (University). Now if the kingdom has disowned it, what is left of us? ”Mr Richard Kakarugaya, the chairperson of K Zone 6 Village, said.

The residents argue that they are bona fide occupants. 
According to Section 29(2)a of the 1998 Land Act, as amended, a bona fide occupant “means a person who before the coming into force of the (1995) Constitution had occupied and utilised or developed any land unchallenged by the registered owner or agent of the registered owner for twelve years or more...”

Mr Kakarugaya said the government demarcated the residents into six zones of 4,000 persons and that those eligible have voted from the same area since 1986, the year President Museveni shot his way to power.

Col Nakalema indicated that upon their investigations, which was commissioned by the Minister of Education, Ms Janet Museveni, and President Museveni,  Kampala District Land Board (KDLB) does not have any claim on the land.  

She also said that the Ministry of Lands, which the government directed to survey the land and reopen its boundaries, confirmed that the land belongs to the educational institution and not other claimants.

Mr Ogaro Ebunyu, the commissioner for surveyors and mapping, who corroborated the accounts during the site visit, said the surveys were basing on the 1962 official documents.

Mr Ebunyu said Kyambogo land starts from Naalya Road, towards Kinawataka Valley up to southern parts of the university. 
He also confirmed that some parts of the land at upper Kyambogo near Banda Palace, which the university had claimed ownership, belonged to Buganda Kingdom.

Following yesterday’s interface, Col Nakalema tasked the residents to identify two representatives from each of the six villages or zones for a meeting that would take place at her office next week.

Kyambogo land wrangles that started in 2013, but intensified in February after the university land title mysteriously disappeared from the registry of Kampala Capital City Authority.

This was after Kampala District Land Board (KDLB) claimed the Kyambogo Link Road portion of the land and used hired tractors to demolish fence erected by the university and flattened the land.

Mr David Balondemu, the chairperson of KDLB, claimed they owned the land and planned to develop it.  The dispute of the ownership of the land is pending determination by court.