The matter may now be resolved one way or another. Cancellation of title for fraud, a purported grant of letters of administration with respect to the late Bishop of Namirembe Dunstan Nsubuga.
The church was reduced to rubble during curfew hours. The responsible High Court and Division has suspended executions during the ongoing lockdown, but the Acting Deputy Chief Justice and Principal Judge can speak to this.
The suspension was ordered by the Chief Justice. Someone said there was nothing to discuss as there was an order, but this also happens to be court vacation where any matter requires a certificate of urgency. So the full machinery of the law may not have been available to all parties.
But no one is challenging the court order although the Supreme Court has ruled that any fraud inquiries under the Registration of Titles Act go to the Registrar first.
The people in making the decision may also have advised themselves when did Dunstan Nsubuga, a former Bishop of Namirembe and beneficiary of the land or one of the beneficiaries of the land, pass away?
It is getting urgent to put churches under a different law separate from the ordinary trusts with simplified procedures. Most churches cannot afford to retain a lawyer to set up a trust.
Church of Uganda has its own challenges as it is losing and selling land at a fast clip, including prime land in the city. A land title must have covenants for its use.
Many church members felt the responses from the bishops were not strong enough. The fact that the prior title was cancelled was repeated to tell Christians the game was over.
These areas are in an area zoned for railway services so if you build a mall what next? It is another compensation when SGR comes. There is even a bigger edifice looks notwithstanding standing metres away from another railway line in Katwe.
Cases like these require involvement of the Attorney General to protect the public interest even though government is not a party because as we speak, the entire government machinery is in “fact finding”. The younger people like the DPC and Ag Director Physical Planning, who is new in office, are being pinned as sacrificial lambs.
My hope in light of the sequence in the highest court, the Supreme Court, these people can be saved. Many years ago, I helped in the legal establishment of St Peter’s Church of Uganda in Boston, and the final sentence said these are the by-laws of St Peter’s and something to the effect help us God.
This was not a derelict building. It was not a shanty town, Church of Uganda has many community churches in modest tenements where people congregate to pray.
Last year, parishioners were beaten up in the church. This is the time for the trustees to publish all trust properties. When ownership is secure, our communities can rebuild.
I also hope this is not part of the end of the SGR dream because our neighbours are observing after spending a lot of money. Kenya is making a loss on the freight because Uganda failed to connect to the rail. It now costs twice even with a presidential directive to move cargo on rail versus road.
Let’s not lose sight of these things.
Mr Ssemogerere is an Attorney-At-Law and an Advocate.