UGANDA, Wakiso | Real Muloodi News | King’s College Budo, a renowned high school in Uganda, finds itself embroiled in a land dispute with a property firm and a family claiming to be the original owners of a five-acre piece of land.
The contested land, where the school farm is located, sits on Plots 18 and 19, Block 342-344 in Kimbejja, Nsangi Sub-county, Wakiso District.
The family members assert that they hold lawful tenancy rights on the land, while documents reveal that Syptech Properties Limited allegedly purchased the land from the family in 2013 for USh220 million.
Mr Samuel Sunday Kigemuzi, the leader of the family, denies ever selling the land to Syptech or engaging in any transaction with the company.
He maintains that the land dispute is part of a plot by unnamed parties to grab the school’s property.
On the other hand, school authorities at Budo assert that they acquired the land in 1975.
Mr John Fred Kazibwe, the head teacher of Budo, expressed disappointment at the sudden claims made by individuals asserting tenancy rights, considering that the school has owned the land for decades.
The authenticity of Budo’s ownership is further supported by a leasehold certificate of title issued by the government in 1990, which lists the trustees of King’s College Budo as the registered proprietors.
Mr Kigemuzi, one of the surviving children of the late James Kiberu, who is considered the original kibanja holder (customary tenant) of the land, explains that their father was killed in 1975, which forced the family to leave the area temporarily.
When they returned in 2014 after the death of their only surviving uncle, they discovered that Budo had obtained a fraudulent lease, annexing multiple plots, including their land.
According to Mr Kigemuzi, the family is not the only one affected by this situation.
However, he denies selling the land to Syptech, claiming that the allegations made by the school are mere manipulation.
Budo claims that Mr Kigemuzi took the school to the High Court Land Division in 2014, challenging their ownership of the land.
According to Budo’s lawyers, Katende, Sserunjogi Advocates & Legal Consultants, the case was dismissed. They also state that a subsequent suit filed by the Kigemuzi family in the High Court in Mpigi was dismissed in April 2023.
The law firm emphasises that the school has owned the land and is the registered owner according to court decisions.
The school’s lawyers also responded to inquiries from the President’s Office and clarified that the land in question had never been in contention until the recent claims surfaced.
The family insists that they are paying property rates, known as Busuulu, to the Buganda Kingdom, which is the ultimate landlord.
They sought assistance from the President’s Office, and after unsuccessful attempts to engage with Budo directly, they involved the Administrator General and Buganda Land Board to legalise their use of the land.
Officials from the State House land department also intervened by writing to Budo about the matter.
In response, the school’s lawyers reiterated that Budo is the registered owner of the land and that their possession has been undisturbed until the recent complaints were lodged.
The land dispute between King’s College Budo, the family, and Syptech Properties Limited remains unresolved.
Both parties maintain conflicting accounts of the land’s ownership and any alleged transactions.
The legal battles and official statements from the school’s lawyers highlight their position as the registered owners, while the family asserts their rightful claim to the land.
As the dispute continues, the future of the land and its impact on the school and the family hangs in the balance.
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