UGANDA, Buikwe | Real Muloodi News | In a poignant tale of legal battles and an ageing defendant, Mr Wilberforce Wandyaka, an 85-year-old Ugandan, finds himself behind bars in Lugazi civil prison.
His predicament stems from a land dispute that dates back three years, culminating in a court ruling that declared him a trespasser on a contested three-acre piece of land located in Namulesa, Ngogwe Sub-county, Buikwe District.
This legal quagmire has left Mr Wandyaka facing both financial penalties and imprisonment.
The origins of this protracted land dispute trace back to a lawsuit filed in 2018 by one Peter Nsubuga, asserting his rightful ownership of the disputed land.
Mr Nsubuga claimed that he had received the land as a gift from Ms Catherine Sebuliba, the administrator of the estate of the late Ham Mukasa, in 2016. This pivotal legal battle revolved around the contention that Mr. Wandyaka and his four sons, including Joseph Buyinza, Sam Wandyaka, Daudi Wandyaka, and Fred (son of Daudi Wandyaka), were trespassing on Mr. Nsubuga’s kibanja.
On February 18, 2020, Grade One Magistrate Aisha Nabukeera delivered a decisive verdict in the case. She found Mr Wandyaka and Daudi Wandyaka to be trespassers onto the contested kibanja.
The court ruling cited evidence presented during the trial, highlighting that the defendants had interfered with Mr Nsubuga’s lawful possession of the land by beating, attacking, and forcibly evicting him from the disputed kibanja.
This verdict had far-reaching consequences for Mr. Wandyaka.
As the losing party in the land dispute, Mr Wandyaka was ordered by the court to pay general damages amounting to Shs2 million and an additional Shs9.9 million in legal costs.
With his inability to meet these financial obligations, the court took a drastic step. On November 9, 2022, a notice was issued, initiating proceedings to have Mr. Wandyaka arrested for failing to pay the court-imposed fines and damages.
Civil imprisonment, a legal recourse available in Uganda, entails detaining a person who owes a financial debt until the debt is settled.
Typically, this imprisonment spans six months, during which the debtor is incarcerated. In this case, it has resulted in the elderly Mr. Wandyaka’s confinement in the Lugazi civil prison.
Expressing her dismay at her grandfather’s imprisonment, Ms. Stellah Nakazibwe, a granddaughter of Mr. Wandyaka, maintains that the disputed land rightfully belongs to their family.
She contests the validity of Mr. Nsubuga’s claim, emphasising that the land he took possession of was not included in their grandfather’s land title.
Ms. Nakazibwe’s primary concern now is securing her grandfather’s release from prison. She asserts that the family is focused on the immediate goal of reuniting their elderly relative with his loved ones.
In this heartrending tale, an elderly man’s life has been profoundly affected by a prolonged land wrangle. The legal complexities, financial burdens, and ultimately, civil imprisonment underscore the challenges faced by individuals entangled in such disputes.
For Mr Wandyaka and his family, the pursuit of justice and the hope of reuniting with their elderly patriarch continue to be their foremost priorities.
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