Police sucked in Shs30b land conflict at Kajjansi

The state Minister for Lands, Ms Persis Namuganza. PHOTO/FILE

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In a February 12 letter to the President, the residents accuse the police of helping Mr Musisi to orchestrate arrests and torture them.  “We are writing on behalf of residents of Lweza B and Kitiko-Birong requesting for your urgent intervention to help save us from unscrupulous people using some police officers to arrest, torture, imprison bibanja holders and grab our land at Kitiko-Birongo and Lweza B near Kajansi town,” the letter reads in part.

Police have been sucked into a Shs30b land dispute after residents of Kajjansi-Lweza claimed that a Kampala businessman, Mr Jamada Musisi, is illegally using contacts in the Force to evict them from their land. 
In a February 12 letter to President Museveni, residents accuse police of aiding Mr Musisi to forcefully takeover 154 acres of their land worth Shs30.8b.

However, the Commandant of Police Protection Unit, Mr Charles Mutungi, told Daily Monitor that the police deployed to stop violence that was brewing up.
“We deployed to prevent violence because we can’t sit and wait for people to kill each other and we go there to pick the bodies,” he said. 

The residents accuse Mr Musisi and his company, Kikonyogo Investments, of using police and soldiers to grab their land adjacent to the Kajjansi airfield.   
They say on July 19, 2020, three trucks with police officers raided Kitiko-Birongo at 6am, beat up people, and demolished their houses and plantations. 

“We are greatly saddened by this blatant abuse of police and courts, and request your urgent help,” reads part of the letter signed by Mr Mohammad Ssewaya, who claims most of this land was owned by his grandfather in 1944.
Mr Ssewaya said he has been arrested 29 times ever since the wrangle started about nine years ago. 
The State Minister for Lands, Ms Persis Namuganza, said she has been following the wrangle after the President directed her to intervene.

She said the Ministry of Lands did a survey and found out that land Mr musisi claims is Block 537 in Busiro yet the disputed land is on Block 270 in Kyadondo.
“I have been following that wrangle and we even sent a government surveyor who indeed surveyed and showed that the land claimed by Mr Musisi is different from that where the residents were settled,”  Ms Namuganza said.
She said government is in the process of cancelling Mr Musisi’s title. 

“The land which Mr Musisi said he bought from Domanico is a different block from where these tenants were,” Ms Namuganza said.
Domanico is an Indian family which left Uganda and went into exile in London after former president Idi Amin expelled Asians in 1971. 
The minister also accuses Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) of compensating Mr Kikonyogo part of Shs11b for part of the land where the Kajjansi-Munyonyo Expressway passes even after her ministry raised a red flag.

“I told Unra to directly compensate the tenants because that is our policy but I don’t know what happened after because I was told that Mr Kikonyogo was paid and the tenants never got any compensation,” she said. 
The Unra spokesperson, Mr Allan Ssempebwa, said part of the payment was made after the tenants and Mr Musisi agreed. 
“The parties had reached an agreement. But there is part of the land where they still have dispute, and we are waiting for them to resolve their dispute and we will be ready to pay,” he said. 

In response, Mr Musisi dismissed the claims by the tenants. “That’s my land. I own it. That’s all I can say. If it wasn’t mine, why didn’t Unra compensate them?” he said. 
Ms Grace Namirimu, one of the affected residents, said Mr Musisi first appeared in Kitiko- Birongo and chased the residents off the land where Kajjansi- munyonyo Expressway passes.
Ms Namirimu claimed that Mr Musisi had bought it for $10m (Shs36) from Damanico Properties Limited. 

“Our pleas to police that the Indian owned land is near ours fell on deaf ears. They chased us and other bibanja holders, cut off and graded our plantations, some houses including the old house and burial grounds of our grandparents,”  she said.
Ms Namirimu also said Mr Musisi has the title for Block 537 in Busiro, yet their land is on Block 270 Kyadondo. 
But Mr Mutungi, who heads the police land unit, said there was a High Court ruling in favour of Mr Kikonyogo and that the businessman has the land title.