• Mon. May 23rd, 2022

Police Defy Minister’s Directive to Arrest Landlord Who Demolished Tenant’s House

UGANDA, Nakaseke Real Muloodi News | Nakaseke Police have defied a directive by the State Minister for Lands, Sam Mayanja, to re-arrest a landlord who demolished a house to evict a tenant by force.

Mayanja ordered Nakaseke District Police Commander Ben Nuwamanya Kashumbusha to immediately apprehend the landlord, Sula Sserunjogi, a former Resident District Commissioner and National Resistance Movement Mobiliser, for criminal trespass and intentional property damage.

However, to date, Sserunjogi is still at large in Semuto town. 

The minister had also ordered police to ensure that Sserunjogi reconstructs the demolished house and compensates the tenant.

The directives came after Stephen Mugambwa, a resident of Kimegeredde cell in Semuto town council, pinned Sserunjogi for demolishing his home last year in December. The landlord was forcefully evicting him from the land measuring 6.74 acres.

Mugambwa claims to have inherited the farm from his father, Colombani Mukasa, and lived on it for the last 48 years.

According to Isah Ssemwogerere, the Savannah Regional Police Spokesperson, the police apprehended and held Sserunjogi before the minister’s instruction.

As a result of the state attorney’s refusal to sanction his case, Sserunjogi was released on police bail.

Ssemwogerere says the State Attorney indicated that Sserunjogi secured a court warrant before destroying the house, and urged that the charges be dropped.

“It’s difficult to re-arrest a suspect, yet the State Attorney declined to sanction the same charges. Police in Nakaseke has since referred the matter to the Savannah Regional Police headquarters to advise on the way forward,” says Ssemwogerere.

However, Nakaseke Deputy Resident District Commissioner, John Kaddu, argues that police should re-arrest Sserunjogi as authorised by the minister, since he did not follow necessary processes before he demolished Mugambwa’s house.

Besides the eviction being carried out at night in violation of the norms, Kaddu claims that his office was never alerted for them to notify the affected renter.

“There were irregularities in acquiring the order and implementing it. Police must arrest Sserunjogi and compel him to reconstruct a house he destroyed,” Kaddu said.

Sserunjogi states that he took Mugambwa to court for trespassing on his property and that the matter was settled ex-parte. He claims to have received a court order authorising the eviction.

This is not the first time the police have refused to carry out Mayanja’s order.

Two weeks before this event, police in Luwero refused to let the late Yafeesi Ssembatya’s family take ownership of their 1.30-acre plot in Luwero town.

This was in response to Mayanja’s decision to annul another person’s title who had secured freehold ownership on the identical piece of property with a 49-year lease.

Instead, the police arrested the family members attempting to take control of their land under the minister’s instruction on the grounds of criminal trespass. Mayanja returned to the Police Station and demanded the immediate release of the family members.

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