Police arrest 11 over Wakiso land wrangle

The suspects, who were arrested over the weekend are accused of torture, fraudulent sale of their property and destruction of property belonging to the residents.

At least 11 people have been arrested in a joint operation by the State House Anti-Corruption Unit and the police following a complaint of an attempt to evict more than 100 families from a four-square mile land at Ssisa-Kagulu in Wakiso District.

The suspects, who were arrested over the weekend are accused of torture, fraudulent sale of their property and destruction of property belonging to the residents.

Mr Luke Owoyesigire, the Kampala Metropolitan police deputy spokesperson, said five other suspects, who are believed to be the masterminds of the attacks, are on the run.

Mr Owoyesigire said the suspects currently detained at Katwe Police Station were arrested after the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP) sanctioned case files against them.

He identified the charges as threatening violence, malicious damage to property, criminal trespass, assault and torture.

“We have been receiving complaints of assault, threats in land, violence reported at Entebbe and Kajjansi Police Station. The information we got is that these people have been using weapons which prompted us into this operation,” he said.

According to Mr Owoyesigire, the security team recovered deadly weapons, including machetes, spears, iron bars and an army uniform, from the shrine built by the suspects.

Earlier on, the aggrieved residents from Kagulu and Namuzi villages made their grievances at the meeting convened by the head of State House Anti-Corruption Unit, Lt Col Edith Nakalema.

Mr Andrew Njawuzi, a local leader, said the balangira (royals) group have since grabbed part of the land and sold it but police have taken no action.

“It appears that none of us is allowed to do anything on our land because these blood thirsty men are patrolling the area all the time. We are living in fear because the police has nothing to do,” Mr Njawuzi said.

He also presented a document signed by President Museveni’s adviser on youth, Ms Resty Nakayenga Kiguli about the same land.

Bishop Franco Onaga, another resident, accused the deputy Resident District Commisioner, Hajj Njuki Nuru Mbabaali, of colluding with the group to evict them.

He said while starting to develop his land, the police and the armed men stopped him but when he reported to the RDC’s office, Mr Mbabaali instead called the claimants and asked him to sort his issues with them.

The land in question is comprised in Block 409 at Ssisa-Kagulu.

It is alleged that a group of people claiming to be descendants of Kabaka Kagulu Tebuchwereka, who ruled between 1734 and 1736 are claiming the land.

The five claimants are Ssematimba Kyobe, Ssenyimba Kayima, Kiwanga Sseziga, Kattaba Wamala and Kalaki Ngomazawambwa. They have since engaged services of Mr Tony Ngobi, a lawyer, whom police said he is being investigated over accusations of forgery.

Lands’ take
Mr Ali Wamala, the senior registrar of titles, who represented the Commissioner for Land registration, presented the report showing that the land in dispute has a number of mailo grants with a numerous subdivisions.

He said the late Kabaka could not benefit from Mailo land arrangement which came in 1900, 200 years after his death.

“Kagulu appears in the Ministry of Lands cadastral maps but does not depict the location of the land. Because Kagulu was a famous person, the area was named after him but it does not mean ownership of land as claimed,” Mr Wamala said.

He added that the claimants have not shown any documentation to prove their ownership for the land in question.