UGANDA, Lira | Real Muloodi News | Residents in Lira City have have saved a mother and her six children from unlawful eviction from her family land and house by her husband. The mother, Janet Abeja, works as a warder at Lira Prisons.
The local community intervened when court bailiffs raided Janet’s home in Boke Ward, Lira City East Division, on 31st May, following a court order given by the Chief Magistrates Court of Lira City to evict the mother and her six children from the house.
The bailiffs forcibly removed the family and their belongings, leaving their belongings strewn outside. Not only did they disgrace the mother-headed family, they also vandalised the windows and doors of the house. The court bailiffs then locked the main house and went away.
Upon their departure, the residents broke the padlocks, giving the mother and her children access to the house. They further threatened to deal with anybody who attempts to evict the family.
In 2005, Janet and her husband, Moses Guna purchased the land that is now in contention.
However, in 2017 Guna left home while working with the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRCR) as a senior accounts assistant.
Abeja alleges that Guna did not support the family when he was away. He only returned four years later to evict them from the land by sending a letting through the area chairperson informing Janet that the land on which the family was staying had been sold.
It is also alleged that the buyer of that family property was Guna’s mother, Beatrice Amongi.
The letter dated 1st December 2021 read, “We have been instructed by the court to vacate the premises we currently occupy, two weeks from the date of this letter (15th December 2021).”
In the same letter, Guna revealed to Abeja that the judgment was not in their favour, therefore they should leave the house.
How the Case Reached Courts of Law
Charles Ogwal Amute, Guna’s brother, had filed a civil suit against Guna in the Magistrate’s Court of Lira for allegedly selling the land where his family was staying.
However, Guna did not file a defence and this caused court to give judgment in his absence.
Before the unlawful eviction ensued, Daniel Omara, the former Lands Minister, told the court that the plaintiff and defendant were biological brothers.
The chief of their clan also added that the two brothers conspired to bring the case to court to evict Abeja from the premises after the couple had domestic disagreements.
“This is a serious abuse of court process and we request you not to grant the order to evict Janet Abeja and her six children as it will cause irreparable damage. Please treat the matter as extremely urgent in the interest of justice,” the clan chief asked.
Mr Joseph Onap, the Otengoro Oland Minister of Lands, said that the brothers conspired and forged a sales agreement that Guna sold the land on which Abeja and her children to their mother.
“We wanted to manage the issue at a clan level but he (Mr Guna) instead told us that his matter is being handled by the court,” Mr Onap, the Otengoro said.
Abeja’s Side of the Story
Abeja claims that Guna abandoned her and the family because he accused her of giving birth to many children.
“When I conceived the sixth child, he started complaining. For you, you are like a stupid woman. You are now producing like pigs and rats. Now I want to introduce you to the natural family planning method,” Abeja recalls.
Abeja also added that she met Guna while he was working as a records assistant at Anyeke Health Centre III, in Oyam District and by then, he was earning UGX 75,000 in 2001.
However, since Uganda Prisons was paying her some good money, she says that she took on the responsibility of funding his further studies.
Currently, Guna earns more than UGX 5 million a month.
The Eviction Conspiracy
It was also revealed that Guna’s brother, Charles Ogwal Amute, filed the civil suit after Abeja and the rest of the family refused to abide by this unlawful eviction from the house and that Guna intentionally did not file a defence so that the court could pass judgment on his absence.
While speaking about the forgery that was fabricated by the two brothers, Mr Onap the Otengoro Olang Minister of Lands said, “One of the anomalies in the court documents was forgery and the particular element of this forgery was the sale agreement where only the biological brothers signed as witnesses for the sale of the land. Secondly, none of the neighbours, who would have confirmed the land boundaries signed the forged sale agreement.”
Mr Atubo also confirmed Mr Onap’s evidence in a statement he made to police.
The Police Intervene
The matter was taken to the police for investigation, leading to Amute’s arrest. However, when their mother was approached, she denied ever buying land from her son.
Guna made an unsuccessful attempt to carry out the eviction, after which, he was allegedly arrested. A police file was prepared for charges of forgery, causing malicious damage and obtaining things by fraud.
However, Mr Onap says the Resident Chief State attorney closed the forgery file, saying that the matter was civil, not criminal.
The law relating to property describes the matrimonial property as that which couples refer to as their matrimonial home, where they live and raise their children, and quite often earn a living by working on the land where the home is located. Therefore, this kind of property is shared equally between the couple.
Land-related wrangles are increasing, not only in Lira but all over Uganda.
In 2019, in Kwania, four family members died after an assailant set their house ablaze in Barlwala ‘A’ village in Inomo Sub-county.
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