My land is in the lake area, says Hamis Kiggundu

Hamis KIggundu. PHOTO / FILE

City businessman Hamis Kiggundu has said the land titles he obtained in Kigo were not issued on Kabaka’s land, but rather in the lake (Victoria) area which constitutes former public land.

This revelation was made in his defence filed to the Commissioner of Land Registration by the businessman’s lawyers following a petition by Buganda Kingdom seeking cancellation of freehold titles measuring over 140 acres for overlapping Kabaka’s mailo land.
Kiggundu's lawyers wrote: "The area where our client’s freehold titles are situated is part and parcel of the total lake area and constitutes former public land vested in the government pursuant to Article 244 (1) (a) of the Constitution." 

Mengo and Kiggundu have been fighting for a long time over this prime piece of land between Mirembe Villas and Serena Hotel Kigo on the shores of Lake Victoria. 
In March this year, Buganda kingdom stopped activities where Kiggundu had started constructing a road to the said land, claiming to be working with Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) to build a drainage channel. 
Mengo insisted that the land in question falls on block 273 of the Kabaka of Buganda and that all titles that were allegedly being peddled by Kiggundu were acquired fraudulently. 
Kiggundu then ran to Mengo, but he couldn't prove that he owned the titles. So, he gave up his claim to the said land.

"I am a Muganda man and I can’t be seen fighting with the Kabaka. From today onwards, I will never be seen claiming any interest in this land," Mr Kiggundu told reporters after the Mengo meeting. 
Mengo then hired two law firms, K & K Advocates and Sebalu and Lule Advocates, to begin the process of cancelling the freehold titles that had been issued to Kiggundu through his company, Kiham Enterprises.
In a twist of events, when the cancellation hearing commenced at the office of the Registrar of Land Registration, the businessman came with a team of lawyers and insisted the land in question was legally acquired and that Mengo officials wanted to steal it from him.

Conflict of interest 
He also accused some officials of conflict of interest in the matters.
“It is our considered view that the complaint raises three principle issues which we must address. The first one is a preliminary issue touching the competence of the complaint based on a survey report made by a surveyor who is conflicted as a public officer and a private employee of the complainant at the same time,” Mr Kiggundu’s lawyers led by Mr Fred Muwema wrote before insisting that he applied and obtained freehold land titled as FRV.WAK 6104 Folio 25, Block 273 Plot 23720 measuring 241.56 acres.
"The said title was issued over former public land by both Wakiso District Land Board under minute number WDLD/2019 and Wakiso Land M-Zone office," Mr Kiggundu's lawyers added.
His defence has since sent the entire matter back to square one, with Mr Kiggundu claiming in his defense that the said land is actually a lake area.
"We contend that our client’s freehold titles are not liable to be cancelled because they were lawfully issued to them by the Wakiso District Land Board and they do not overlap any Mailo Land." 

What the law says
Section 44 of the Land Act provides that "government or a local government shall hold in trust for the people and protect natural lakes, rivers, ground water, natural ponds, natural streams, wetlands, forest reserves, national parks, and any other land reserved for ecological and touristic purposes for the common good of the citizens of Uganda."
It further adds that "the government or a local government shall not lease out or otherwise alienate any natural resource referred to in this section."