• Tue. Oct 3rd, 2023

Kampala High Court Sides with UPDF against Businessman

UGANDA, Kampala Real Muloodi NewsThe Kampala High Court has sided with the Uganda People’s Defence Forces-UPDF against a businessman, Frank Matovu Ssenkwajju who was attempting to prevent the police force from erecting structures on what he believes is his land in Kitala, Wakiso District.

In a petition filed in April, Matovu claimed that the challenged land was acquired in 2018 from Christopher Musisi, Diana Birungi, and Bernard Kiwanuka and was then transferred into his name.

He said although he is the land’s owner, the UPDF encroached on it on March 9 and fence-lined a portion of it without his knowledge, approval, or consent.

Matovu notified the High Court that he had tried unsuccessfully to drive the soldiers from the land and that he was unable to access it.

He requested that the Court impose a permanent injunction prohibiting the government, its representatives, and workers from trespassing in addition to ordering the army to leave the land.

Additionally, he requested that the High Court order the government to pay him damages at a commercial interest rate of 20%.

He returned to Court on September 12, 2022, asking for a temporary injunction since the UPDF had already begun constructing temporary facilities on the land.

He said that this represented an immediate threat to seize his land while a legal dispute over the title was still unresolved.

Matovu requested that the Court impose an injunction prohibiting future building, encroachment, sale, and fence of the land.

Denis Wabwire, Matovu’s attorney, said that his client was going to experience unfairness and irreparable harm since he intended to build lockups on the land to make money to support his family.

However, the Attorney General, who was represented by State Attorney Johnson Natuhwera, requested that the lawsuit be dismissed because the UPDF owns the land in question.

He said that in 1987, the army bought the site and opened a political education school there.

However, the land was seized and inhabited by many people, including the ones who sold it to Matovu, when the army left to combat political insurgencies in other regions of the nation, he claimed.

The Court also learned that the UPDF is presently building military gear on the land, and has no plans to stop or even move the buildings.

The Land Division’s registrar, Janeva Natukunda, denied the application this week on Wednesday, September 14, finding that Matovu had not provided enough proof that the denial of the application would cause him to suffer irreparable harm.

She clarified that despite Matovu’s claim that the army is threatening to fence off and dispose of a portion of the suit land, he failed to provide the necessary supporting documentation.

“The photos attached show one uniport with a small veranda foundation being constructed and a small wooden old structure next to the uniport, and there is no claim of ownership or use of the same by either party,” Natukunda said.

While Matovu contends that the military is establishing a temporary structure on the disputed land, the Registrar says that this cannot be claimed to pose an immediate threat.

She cited a case from 2020 in which Civil Division Judge Musa Ssekaana that stated that interim application orders are discretionary and that the Court is free to give them depending on the specifics of each case.

The hearing date for the substantive application has been set on September 28, 2022.


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