UGANDA, Mukono | Real Muloodi News | The Mukono Diocese has suspended all activities at the Nakanyonyi Church of Uganda in Nakifuma-Naggalama Town Council, following an attack by unknown persons who destroyed a section of the wall fence erected around disputed land on Tuesday, March 6th 2023.
The diocese had begun building the perimeter wall to safeguard the land against encroachment.
The situation worsened earlier in March when panga-wielding attackers targeted the Glovers Wilcox School Mission on the same disputed land, injuring two tutors.
In another attack, the same group of assailants targeted the Nakanyonyi Secondary and Primary schools and a church shoes and garment factory. The attackers were repelled by security guards who fired warning shots.
The Mukono Diocese provost, John Ssebude, has suspended all Church activities in Nakanyonyi until the safety of people in the area is guaranteed.
“We decided to suspend all Church activities in Nakanyonyi until the security of our people in the area is guaranteed,” he said.
The Church accuses residents of illegally occupying a 400-acre piece of land in the area. Part of the land is used for farming, maize growing, and cottage industry, and it also hosts the Glovers Wilcox College of Mission and Evangelism, which trains Church to lay readers.
However, residents claim to have settled on the land for more than 30 years, and with the help of village council leaders, they have been securing plots of land.
The land dispute between the Church and its residents has been ongoing for years.
Mukono Diocesan leaders insist they acquired the contested land in 1926 from the British government.
Lawyer Jackson Ntwatwa, representing residents, said both parties need to sit down and resolve the land dispute amicably.
On Thursday, March 2nd 2023, Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba met Church leaders at the diocesan headquarters and urged residents occupying the land to respect the Church.
In 2016, angry tenants attempted to harm a delegation of 35 bishops led by former Archbishop Stanley Ntagali, who was inspecting another piece of land in Ntawo Village in Mukono Town.
After the inspection, a group of people meeting at a nearby bar confronted the prelates, hurled insults at them, and threatened to lynch them.
The mob brought matchboxes and dry grass and threatened to set fire to the bus that had transported the bishops to the site. Police intervened and dispersed the mob.
Uganda Christian University, an institution of the Church, is currently developing the disputed land which is being occupied by over 800 tenants. The situation is tense, and the security of people in the area is at risk.
The Church and residents need to come together and find a lasting solution to the land dispute. The government also needs to intervene to ensure the safety of everyone involved in the conflict.
“I don’t think pulling ropes will help any of the two parties. They need to calm down and look for a lasting solution to that dispute,” Lawyer Jackson Ntwatwa said.
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