UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | Having an access road is essential for the development and sale of a property. However, when that access road crosses your neighbour’s land, it is important to make sure you have a formal road agreement.
Fred Nyanzi, a physical planner at Buganda Land Board, explains that there are two main ways to access a property. The first is a front road, which is a local road managed by the local authority. The second is a deeded road which is a formalized two way agreement between the neighbours.
Deeded road access involves a written agreement with neighbouring landowners, allowing you to use the road to access your own land. This agreement must be signed by all parties and noted on their titles for legal purposes as a right of way.
However, Nyanzi warns that many properties do not have formal access roads, and require crossing over someone else’s property to gain access. In some cases, neighbours may allow access through their land through an informal or ‘gentleman’s agreement’ – otherwise known as un-deeded access. However, this arrangement carries risks and can be revoked at any time. For example, if your neighbour were to pass away, sell their property, or change their mind due to a misunderstanding, you could lose your access.
A recent land dispute case before the High Court in Kampala is an example of what can go wrong without a formal road agreement.
The dispute between the family of former Uganda Airlines flight captain Darlington Omamteker and their neighbour, Peace Barigye, centres on a 0.101-hectare plot of land located at Uringi Crescent, Entebbe in Busiro County, Wakiso District.
Omamteker’s wife, Rosemary Kiiza Omamteker, dragged Peace Barigye to court, seeking a permanent injunction restraining her and her agents from trespassing on her land.
According to Mrs Omamteker, she and Ms Barigye share an access road to their respective properties, however Ms Barigye had begun constructing upon the road, and blocked access to her plot.
“We share the access road to our respective plots of land, but with arrogance Ms Barigye blocked us from accessing our plot by constructing and putting up a gate,” said Mrs Omamteker.
Mrs Omamteker says she surveyed her property in January 2021 and found that Ms Barigye, who owns the neighbouring property at Plot 31B, had begun construction of a building that had encroached 1.5 metres into Mrs Omamteker’s territory.
Initially, Mrs Omamteker says she tried to resolve the matter with Ms Barigye, however her efforts proved to be fruitless.
“At first, she agreed when I showed her a survey report pertaining to the land, but she later turned against me and began constructing,” Ms Barigye says.
Mrs Omamteker adds that she had urged Ms Barigye to pay for the area of land she had encroached on, but instead Ms Barigye had started building a gate on the access road, hence preventing Mrs Omamteker from accessing her plot.
Therefore, Mrs Omamteker dragged Ms Barigye to court, seeking an order of compensation at USh65 million for the forceful entry and compulsory acquisition of her land, and USh10 million for violation of their rights to property, livelihood, environment and economics.
Justice Bernard Namanya of the Land Division of the High Court in Kampala advised the two parties to reach a compromise, given that they are neighbours, and directed the parties to an out-of-court settlement.
He advised them to resolve the boundary dispute and not let the case close the channels for discussion, stating that they have to live together. The judge further said he would deliver his ruling on notice.
Ms Omamteker asked the court to order Barigye to vacate the land, demolish the illegal structures, and compensate her for the damages caused.
On the other hand, Barigye dragged an employee of Omamteker’s family, Yunus Magom, 35, to court over threatening violence and criminal trespass.
The case was adjourned to May 8 after the court learned that the case file was still at the Judiciary’s regional office at Nakawa, Kampala.
This drawn-out, expensive and very messy land dispute between Omamteker’s family and Ms Barigye highlights the importance of having a formal road agreement with one’s neighbours so as to avoid such conflicts.
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