UGANDA, Luweero | Real Muloodi News | Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba has issued a directive for the arrest of Moses Kakembo, who is accused of illegally seizing seven acres of land belonging to St Stephen’s Parish Church of Uganda in Mpigi Village, Busiika Town Council, Luweero District.
Kakembo, who holds a leadership position in charge of the land at the church, allegedly used his influence to take control of the land and forcefully evict Joweria Nabukenya, the rightful tenant.
The disputed land is part of the church’s 90-acre property.
Minister Nabakooba made this order during a meeting held on May 26, 2023, with residents and leaders, including Luweero’s Resident District Commissioner, Bwaabye Ntulume.
During the meeting, Fenekansi Lule, the LC1 chairperson of Mpigi Village, shared accounts of Kakembo’s alleged reign of terror in the community.
Lule explained how Kakembo, under the guise of his leadership position within the Anglican Church since 2019, had been seizing land belonging to villagers.
Lule claimed that Kakembo would arbitrarily fence off people’s plots without their knowledge, resulting in the drastic reduction of the church’s land from an initial 90 acres to only three or four acres.
“He can wake up in the morning and fence off someone’s kibanja (plot) without their knowledge. Our church initially had 90 acres, but as I speak, it remained with three or four. We sought assistance from the Busiika Police several times, but no one helped us,” Lule said.
Lule also accused Kakembo of destroying the plantations of a 75-year-old woman named Juliana Katusabe and failing to compensate her for the loss.
Minister Nabakooba urged the church to conduct a land boundary opening exercise to ascertain the precise size of their property.
She advised them to seek assistance from the Resident District Commissioner and district surveyors to mark the boundaries, identify the legitimate occupants, and determine the sizes of their plots.
The minister demanded Kakembo’s immediate arrest and emphasised that if Nabukenya is the rightful tenant, she should be allowed to return and utilise her plot.
Nabakooba urged the local community to cooperate in the fight against land grabbers, expressing her bewilderment that thieves could seize land while leaders were present in the area.
Minister Nabakooba also addressed issues concerning Manyama Village in Zirobwe Sub-County.
She ordered the affected individuals, whose crops were destroyed by Ngambwa Ruta (the purchaser of the land), to return to their plots and resume farming.
She instructed Proscovia Yiga, who had received five million shillings from Ruta, to return the money and have her plot restored.
Furthermore, she demanded that Rehema Mutesi, a mother of seven whose cow was stolen and whose house’s door was removed, be allowed to return home.
Ruta was required to compensate Mutesi for the stolen cow and repair her door.
Minister Nabakooba recognized that the land disputes were complex and involved family conflicts, with individuals claiming ownership and involving tenants who supported their respective sides.
She emphasised the importance of considering the constitutional rights of bibanja holders during the process of determining the rightful landowner.
To address these issues, a team composed of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, Land Registration under the Ministry, the Resident District Commissioner, and local leaders will thoroughly analyse the cases and provide recommendations for a fair resolution.
The minister urged the immediate arrest of individuals engaging in intimidation and criminal activities.
She emphasised the RDC’s responsibility to ensure the security and protection of all residents, regardless of the ongoing land disputes.
Minister Nabakooba called for thorough investigations into all reported cases, with appropriate legal action taken to preserve justice and maintain public confidence in the government.
The Resident District Commissioner applauded Minister Nabakooba for her efforts in addressing land issues and for dedicating time to intervene in Luweero’s land disputes.
He acknowledged the prevalence of land wrangles, instances where landowners claimed a significant portion of bibanja from tenants, and cases of trespassing used to seize land.
Reverend George William Ssejjobyo of Mpigi Parish expressed the church’s commitment to register all tenants on their land, verify their tenancy status and acquisition process, and determine the size of their plots.
He assured the residents that the church’s objective was not to evict them but to find a compromise that respects the law.
By taking decisive action and involving relevant authorities, Minister Nabakooba aims to resolve the land disputes and restore peace and justice in Luweero.
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