• Fri. Aug 19th, 2022

Court to Rule on Claims RDC and LC5 Incited Residents to Not Pay Rent to Land Owner

Uganda, Bukomansibi | Real Muloodi News | The Bukomansimbi Deputy Resident District Commissioner (RDC) and the LC5 Chairperson stand accused of rallying residents to not pay ground rent to their Mailo landlord. 

On April 27th, 2022, land owner Dr David Ssenfuka filed a civil suit against the duo in Masaka High court, through his lawyers M/s Katitsi & Lamunu Advocates.

In his suit, Ssefunka accuses the Bukomansimbi RDC, Fred Kalema, and the Bukomansimbi LC5 chairperson, Fred Nyenje, of conducting a community meeting on his land in Budda Village in Kibinge sub-county. He says in that meeting they incited his tenants (Bibanja holders) against paying nominal rental fees (Busulu), as well as blocking him from accessing and developing his land.

Dr Ssenfuka claims that the duo’s conduct has since deprived him of his rights as the lawful land owner of the nearly 2 square mile estate. He says that following the meeting held by the RDC and LC V Chairperson, the tenants have become menacing towards him, and have prevented him from accessing and carrying out any developments on the land.

The land in question is located in Budda Village Kisojo sub-county, Bukomansibi District and measures close to two square kilometres with 600 squatters on it.

He blames the officers for overstepping their mandate when they granted the tenants absolute rights of occupancy, without according him a fair hearing. He argues that the duo’s biased pronouncements have worsened his relationship with the occupants, whom he says are now threatening his life.

Ssenfuka has asked the High court to issue an injunction order restraining the duo from further meddling in the affairs of his estates, to compel them to withdraw their orders, and to compensate him for the losses he has endured.

Attorney General, Kiryowa Kiwanuka, was also named in the suit as being vicariously liable for the official acts and/or omissions of officers of the Government. 

In the year 2021, Dr Ssenfuka had previously filed two civil suits, No. 084 and 085 of 2021, against some of the occupants of his land in the Chief Magistrates Court of Masaka. In the suits, Dr Ssenfuka sought declarations that they occupied it illegally since they are neither bona fide nor lawful occupants of the land.

The occupants named in the suit sought the political intervention of the deputy RDC and the LC5 Chairperson while the matter was still pending in court.

According to High Court documents, Nyenge and Kalema convened a rally of all the residents on March 8th, 2022, and at the said rally made very damning accusations against Dr Ssenfuka and incited the residents against the land owner. The court documents add that while addressing the residents, the two reportedly said that Dr. Ssenfuka has no rights over the land in question, and they advised the residents not to allow Dr. Ssenfuka to set foot on the land.

Dr. Ssenfuka says that as a result of the incitement of the residents by the defendants, he fears for his life and cannot step foot on his land. Furthermore, more portions of his land are being taken by persons who are unknown to him.

Fred Nyenje Kayiira, the Bukomansimbi LC V Chairperson, denies any wrongdoing. He says that he only took interest in the dispute after a section of residents ran to him accusing Dr Ssenfuka of threatening them with eviction. He explains that they have instructed the district attorney to study the complaints and file an appropriate defense, which also serves the interests of the tenants who he swore to protect.

Fred Kalema the Bukomansimbi Deputy Resident District Commissioner, says that he was only executing his responsibility of protecting the tenants from eviction and other violations by landlords. He denies the allegations of stopping tenants from paying ground rent to the landlord, saying that his statements were misrepresented, leading to unnecessary clashes.

While hearing the Case, the Masaka High Court registrar, Julius K Borole, asked Dr. Senfuka to put in his final submissions on July 7, before the defendants file in the rejoinder on July 11. Ruling is set for August 17th, 2022.

After the court session, Dr David Ssenfuka said that the deputy RDC and his colleagues have exceeded their limits and are misusing their authority.

“We are all Ugandans who need equal justice and treatment. RDCs should sensitise the people in a proper way rather than rallying residents against land owners,” Dr Ssenfuka says. 

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