Minister intervenes in Mukono church land dispute

The State Minister for Lands, Mr Sam Mayanja. 

What you need to know:

  • Mr Mayanja further directed that the status quo be maintained while the private armed guards posted by Rev Kityo be disarmed and removed immediately.

The State Minister for Lands, Mr Sam Mayanja has asked the security team to apprehend a group of rowdy youths who on May 16, descended on land belonging to St. Luke's Church of Uganda, Kirangira in Mukono Municipality and forcefully took over after destroying people’s gardens and killing their animals.

Mr Mayanja who visited the land on the fateful day said in a May 20 press statement that he was shocked to learn that the suspects not only misinterpreted his directive but also illegally occupied land which was not part of his itinerary.

“My information is that people's plantations have been occupied by strangers and that they are cutting and destroying people's gardens, killing their animals, and eating them on land whose locus I never visited and was never on my itinerary or meeting the parties regarding conflicts on that land,” he said in the statement,
Adding, “I categorically deny that during my locus visit, I ever directed anybody to take the law in their own hands. The law must take its course against those behind the reported chaos and those involved.”

In response to multiple petitions he received in September last year, Mr Mayanja that day after notifying the Mukono Resident District Commissioner, Ms Fatuma Ndibasa held three locus visits with this one inclusive.
The dispute on the land is between the Church which is the landlord and a section of Bibanja holders who protest the former’s forceful and illegal eviction.

“This land dispute was brought to my office earlier by commissioner RDC Secretariat Buganda Central Region Mr Mbagadhi Frederick Nkayi vide his letter dated 9th September 2023 wherein he requested for my intervention,” he said.
On reaching the land, he said that he heard the issue between the Bibanja holders led by one Godfrey Kasango who was accusing the Church led by Rev Rogers Kityo of demolishing his house in September last year.

Kasango told the Minister that he reported a case of malicious damage, criminal trespass and forceful entry on MKNCRV number: 379/2024 namely, but the latter did not help him.
“At the locus I directed that Mr Kasango whose house Rev Kityo had allegedly destroyed and the other Bibanja complaints whose houses, plantations and crops had been destroyed to make way for construction of a Church building without even a court order, should put together a single petition and submit it to me by May 22, 2024,” he said.

Adding, “That on receipt of that petition I would invite the Church of Uganda Mukono Diocese for a dialogue to arrive at a win-win position….and those who violate that right should be arrested and charged according to law.”
Mr Mayanja further directed that the status quo be maintained while the private armed guards posted by Rev Kityo be disarmed and removed immediately.

He further said he was shocked to learn that a section of rowdy youths descended on the land and unlawfully demonstrated before the chaos started shortly after his departure.

“I learned that people's gardens and farms have been invaded by unruly crowds claiming that I had ordered the destruction of the Church building, the takeover of bibanja's from landlords,” he said.
This publication in October 2022 reported that the Church evicted five squatters from the land which attracted the attention of the authorities led by the RDC Ms Nabitaka Ndisaba who asked the Church to seek compensation from the government instead of evicting people.

Meanwhile, the Minister also held other locus visits where he resolved different land disputes, including in Nakoosh Village-Nakisunga Sub-county where a one Stephen Bwete had sold land located on plot 150 Block 221 at Kakuba belonging to the Bampadde family to a one Mr Satya who also bought well knowing that he was entering into a fraudulent transaction.

Another one was Luga Namukonkomi Estate in Namukonkomi Village, where the administrators of the Kityo Omusamba including Mr Henry Semujju and Ms Sylvia Namata complained to his office that officials from the Mukono land office (MZO) had created freehold titles on their land amounting to 780.11 acres.
[email protected]