UGANDA, Wakiso | Real Muloodi News | For the past two decades, the name Charles Kyagaba has been a mainstay in alleged dubious land grab disputes in Wakiso and Kampala. Prospective buyers have been warned to be wary of the name.
The latest purported victim is 79-year old Koseya Buule, resident of Buzzi Village, Namulanda Parish. Buule is devastated having lost his three-and-a-half acre property.
According to Buule, his wife Mary Buule, and their son Hannington Kizito, troubles with Charles Kyagaba began in 2005 when the stranger initially made a grab for one and a half acres of their land. Buule had lived on the same land for over 50 years.
Buule later learned the stranger was Charles Kyagaba, who he claims assaulted him, slashed a portion of his land and threatened to murder him if he attempted to halt their activities.
Buule promptly filed a trespass and property destruction complaint at Kisubi police station, and after receiving no assistance, he travelled to Kampala metropolitan south regional headquarters at Katwe, but again was not successful.
The victim is presently unable to walk or speak clearly after suffering a stroke. His family claims the stroke is a direct result of the trauma from the grabbing of his land and resulting frustrations with the police and the judicial system, from whom he sought justice in vain.
“When police disappointed Mzee Buule, he went to court. He first took the case to Entebbe Chief Magistrates court. But the challenge is that Kyagaba does not stop. When he is defeated in one case, he files another. Sometimes he uses the non-existing squatters to sue. That is how he has frustrated the cases to date. But now he has grabbed two more acres of land and he has sold it,” Kizito explains of his father’s land ordeal.
In some court records, Charles Kyagaba claims to be the son of the late Minani Gabriel, who was the keeper of a one and a half-acre plot of land that Buule had leased to one George Jjemba, who died in a vehicle accident in the early 2000s.
Contrary to Kyagaba’s claim, one of the neighbours says, “I have grown up knowing that it is Mzee Buule’s land. Minani left this village very many years ago and he was just a mere caretaker of land leased to George Jjemba. He never mentioned at any one time that he had a child.”
However, the people of Buzzi village say they are afraid of Kyagaba because he has promised to take on anybody who supports Buule.
According to Kizito, Kyagaba has sold the land in tiny pieces to more than 40 individuals thus far. The largest he has sold is 50 × 50 feet, with the others being 30 x 40 feet, 25 x 30 feet, or 40 x 40 feet. The vast majority of buyers have or are building permanent structures.
Buule, who uses a wheelchair, is distraught whenever trucks carrying construction supplies pass past his courtyard on their way to his seized land.
“Kyagaba is powerful. Sometimes you go to report him to a police station and you find him chatting with the OC or DPC of the area. There are times when you report to the police and he gets to know all you have told the police even before you reach your home. He calls laughing at you. We are helpless,” Kizito says.
Kyagaba, it is also alleged, holds sway in the lands office, with the ability to show up with land documents dating back to pre-independence Uganda.
Prompted by a chorus of complaints, the Inspector General of Police Okoth Ochola, in April last year, sanctioned a probe into Kyagaba activities.
A preliminary report by Police Land Protection Unit boss Charles Mutungi, indicates that Kyagaba creates fictitious claimants and fits them into puzzles that dupe the court system. The report contents were highlighted by the online news portal Uganda Radio Network.
“Kyagaba creates people. The claimants are never seen in some cases but he succeeds in securing court injunctions. During our investigations, we summon people or go to the ground but the claimants do not exist. He explores the loophole that magistrates or judges do not go on the ground while giving orders. Many people are suffering from non-existing claimants,” Mutungi explained to Uganda Radio Network.
What is Known about Charles Kyagaba?
According to Uganda Radio Network, Charles Kyagaba started as Bibanja Holders Rights Defender. However, police investigations show he creates the Bibanja holders when he grabs land, then he sells it to low-income earners in very small pieces of about 20 by 30 ft, 25 by 30 ft and 50 by 50ft. The people who buy these parcels of stolen land unknowingly becomes the ones he uses as interested parties whenever there is a case.
URN reports that Kyagaba has also contested twice for the Busiro South Parliamentary seat on the Democratic Party ticket, but lost both in 2011 and 2016.
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