• Wed. Nov 29th, 2023

Court Rule: Gen Otafiire Denied Access to Munyonyo Disputed Land

UGANDA, Munyonyo Real Muloodi News | UPDATE: Tuesday 28th October 2021: The High Court Land Division has temporally barred Internal Affairs Minister Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire from accessing and using the Munyonyo disputed land, Kampala.

The temporary injunction will remain until the mainland issue between the minister and an entrepreneur, Mr Amdan Khan, is resolved.

The following is an excerpt from the court order issued on October 15:

“A temporary injunction doth issue, restraining both the applicant and the respondents, their agents or any other persons deriving their authority from the respondents from sub-dividing, leasing, mortgaging, selling, transferring or in any other way dealing with land and property comprised in Kyadondo block 255 plot 1260 at Munyonyo, Kyandondo LRV KCCA 5 folio 6 plot 8E Mujulizi Road, Makindye Division and unregistered land at Mulungu Munyonyo along Mujulizi Road Makindye Division measuring 3.15 acres until the final determination of High Court civil suit no.589 of 2021.”

Since June 2021, Maj Gen Otafiire and Mr Khan have been at odds over the contentious piece of land. The Munyonyo land dispute began when the minister reportedly ordered his military guards to damage property on the contested site to claim possession. The plot overlooks Lake Victoria and is near the Martyrs Shrine in Munyonyo.

Mr Khan claims he purchased the land from Afanasic Temaligwe in 1979 and has owned it as a kibanja holder ever since. Maj Gen Otafiire claims to be a mailo owner of the same contested land, which he claims he purchased in 2011 from late Christopher Obey, then the Public Service Ministry’s chief accountant.

Maj Gen Otafiire rejected Mr Khan’s land ownership claims.

He said: “What you should have asked him is whether he has the title for that land, and if he claims he is a kibanja holder, can he present receipts showing payments of rent to the previous owner of the land because the evidence of the kibanja is payment of rent?”

He said that if Mr Khan purchased kibanja in 1979, he should have been reimbursed in 1991.

Original Story: Tuesday 29th June 2021

The Internal Affairs Minister, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire, and businessman Mr Amdan Khan, are locked in a land dispute. The Munyonyo disputed land is over nine acres in Munyonyo near the Martyrs Shrine and overlooks Lake Victoria. Both Maj Gen Otafiire and Mr Khan filed cases at Katwe Police Station. Katwe Station is currently investigating the case. Both men claim to be rightful owners of the property.

Mr Khan asserts he bought the land in 1979 from a Mr. Afanasic Temaligwe for USh 2,000, and is a kibanja owner. A kibanja holder is a person who settled on land in Buganda as a customary tenant, with the consent of the Mailo land owners. Mr. Temaligwe has since passed away.

However, Maj Gen Otafiire claims he purchased the land from the jailed former principal accountant in the Ministry of Public Service, Christopher Obey, in 2011 and is a Mailo owner. Maj Gen Otafiire claims he has the land title. 

Mr Luke Owoyesigyire, the Kampala Metropolitan deputy police spokesperson, saidMaj Gen Otafiire went to Katwe Police Station and recorded a statement, but counter-accused Mr Khan after presenting documents he said proved his ownership of the land.”

Two weeks ago, this Munyonyo land dispute took a dramatic turn when Maj Gen Otafiire allegedly ordered his military personnel to destroy a structure under construction on the disputed land. The soldiers allegedly knocked down the wall of the house Mr Khan was building on the plot. Mr Khan filed a case at Katwe Police Station on the same day, but by the time the police arrived, the soldiers allegedly deployed by Maj Gen Otafiire had already left.

Before the Appointments Committee of Parliament for vetting for his new ministerial appointment, Maj Gen Otafire told journalists he would secure an order from the court restraining Khan from interfering with his land. He denied the accusations that he destroyed property and claims it was the police that went to the area.

Last week, police and military personnel allegedly arrested eight workers of Mr Khan, who were found in a house on the disputed land. The suspects were given a bond and released. It was alleged that the eight suspects were coerced to record statements to incriminate Mr Khan. However, the suspects declined to do so. 

Example of the Challenges of the Mailo Tenure System

During the 32nd Heroes’ Day anniversary speech at Kololo Independence Grounds, President Yoweri Museveni explained the failure and inefficiency of the Mailo land tenure system in Uganda. He claimed that this century-old system in the Buganda kingdom is “a very bad system,” and should be dismantled. 

Mr Museveni expressed particular disapproval of the Mailo system for alleged rampant evictions of kibanja holders. The President spoke about how the system illegally displaces people from their land and deprives occupants of their rights.

The 1995 Constitution formally recognised four tenure systems: Freehold, Mailo, Leasehold, and Customary tenure. Mailo land tenure system is prevalent in the central and western areas, and is only found in Buganda.

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