UGANDA, Ntinda | Real Muloodi News | A family is in shock after returning from Christmas to find their family home in the upscale Kampala suburb of Ntinda, Kampala had been demolished.
A group of unidentified men purportedly jumped over the perimeter wall of the house, opened the main gate and used bulldozers to demolish the home at around 6pm on Boxing Day. The home’s contents and a vehicle were also damaged.
The demolition happened in spite of the directive issued by Judith Nabakooba, Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, suspending all land evictions between 23rd December and 6th January.
“As we move into the festive season, therefore, the government shall not entertain reports of land evictions, at a time when citizens are supposed to be at home celebrating the Christmas and New Year season,” Hon Nabakooba said on December 22.
The home belonged to the late Johnson Orech, who built it in the 1980’s according to his family. The property was bequeathed to Johnson Orech’s wife, Lucy Mary Orech, following his passing in 1995.
The couple’s daughter, Evelyn Atim, was at her home in Najeera Township when neighbours alerted her that graders were ploughing into the property at Plot 106A Old Kira Road. Ms Atim says she rushed to the scene, only to find that the house had already been demolished. She also says Alex Odur who was found at the premises was beaten by the suspects.
Kampala Metropolitan Police (KMP) officers confirmed on Tuesday December 27 that the act was illegal. They say they wouldn’t have allowed the demolition to take place, however they were not informed about the eviction.
Luke Owoyesigyire, Assistant Superintendent of Police KMP’s deputy spokesman says a criminal case of malice damage of property had been opened. He confirms police have interviewed relevant eyewitnesses, and are using CCTV camera footage to trace and bring the culprits to justice.
The development follows a long-standing property wrangle which began after Eng. Orech’s passing.
Eng. Orech is said to have willed the property to his wife, Lucy Mary Orech. However, according to their daughter Ms Atim, her mother hadn’t transferred ownership of the property into her name. Ms Atim says her mother went to the United Kingdom, leaving the property under the management of her sister, Stella Aber.
Then in 2008, unbenounced to Mrs Orech and her daughter, the land title for the property was transferred multiple times in a matter of minutes.
“On July 4, 2008 at 2:28pm the name of the title was transferred from our late father’s name to our mother’s name. She was not in the country. A minute later (2:29pm), the same title was transferred into the name of Stella Aber,” Ms Atim says.
On October 21, 2008, the land title was again transferred into the name of another person. This prompted Mrs Orech to put a caveat on the property and seek legal redress.
However, Mrs Orech lost her court case in 2018, and Mr Mutwalib Kabogoza was deemed to be the rightful owner of the property. Ms Orech filed an appeal, which is still being heard before the courts.
Then in 2020, Mrs Orech’s efforts to stop the take-over of her family home suffered a setback when the Court of Appeal dismissed her application. Ms Orech died last year, before the appeal was disposed of.
Ms Atim says it was at this time that the deceased’s children of took charge in the pursuit of justice in the grabbing of their late parents’ estate.
According to Ms Atim, the court couldn’t continue hearing the matter after the death of their mother until they got a letter of administration. She says this is a process which is still ongoing.
Mrs Orech’s sister, Ms Aber, denies any knowledge of the demolition, and instead has referred all media inquiries to her lawyers.
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