State House impersonator arrested as Museveni stops land eviction in Luweero

Police officers escort a suspected State House impersonator to awaiting police car in Bubuubi  Village in Luwero District. PHOTO | DAN WANDERA

What you need to know:

  • Ms Namayanja led a team of lawyers from the State House Land Directorate currently pitching camp in districts of Greater Luweero to help resolve some of land-related disputes that are a source of insecurity.

President Museveni has intervened and halted evictions on more than one square mile piece of land occupied by more than 600 sitting tenants at Bubuubi Village in Zirobwe Sub County, Luweero District.

Ms Mariam Namayanja, the private secretary of land matters over the weekend told stakeholders that she had been instructed to deliver the presidential directive to have all activities involving the sale and eviction of tenants on the disputed piece of land halted with immediate effect.

“President Museveni is aware of the unfortunate incidents that surround this particular land at Bubuubi. The President has instructed me to deliver the message halting the sale and eviction of tenants on this land until the wrangles among the landlords are resolved. The directive takes immediate effect,” she said.

Ms Namayanja led a team of lawyers from the State House Land Directorate currently pitching camp in districts of Greater Luweero to help resolve some of land-related disputes that are a source of insecurity.

She revealed that the land in question has attracted different individuals that claim to be rightful owners which is not the case.

“We already have information that two parties fighting for this land are in courts of law. These are Ms Catty Nankanja Vs Nkuluze (The Kabaka) of Buganda, but the good side is that the Kabaka of Buganda through his Attorney has already clarified that he is not evicting any of the tenants on his land. Anybody evicting tenants on behalf of the Kabaka is doing it on his own,” she clarified.

Meanwhile, a man who has been impersonating a Statehouse staff and siding with one of the parties to execute the different evictions was arrested when he turned up for the meeting.

Mr Everest Muwanguzi who had a heap of papers including headed papers from the President’s office was identified by the residents as he quietly attended the meeting convened by Luweero Resident District Commissioner, Mr Richard Bwabye, and the Statehouse team at Bubuubi Village.

Mr Muwanguzi tried to defend himself by saying that he works for the “State House land desk”, but the State House team revealed that the State House has no land desk, but has a Land Directorate headed by Ms Gertrude Njuba. The suspect was whisked away and later handed over to the Luweero Police after angry residents threatened to lynch him.

About the contested land

The land originally belonged to the late Tito Ssekimaka in late 1940, but the clarity about who holds the true land title for the square mile of land that has more than 600 tenants remains unclear after different people continue to claim and sell portions of the land to different buyers causing mass evictions of the original bibanja holders.

The State House team has scheduled a meeting at Luweero District headquarters on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, where all parties that claim to be landlords will present original documents proving ownership.

“We shall meet all these people including Ms Catty Nankanja who claims to be the original owner of this particular piece of land to try and verify facts regarding this land. One fact that is clear is about a section of the land where two parties are already in the courts of law,” Ms Namayanja clarified.

The land has continued to be a sticky issue in many districts in central Uganda where wealthy people with land titles are evicting poor tenants from their ancestral land claiming that they are illegally settling on the land.  It is on this basis that the government is pushing for land reforms which they say are aimed at stopping rampant evictions in the country. The rich and politically well-connected individuals with land titles are the ones being accused of evicting poor tenants from their ancestral land claiming that they are illegally settling on the land.

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