UGANDA, Wakiso | Real Muloodi News | Following a petition by some of the residents of Bulindo Village in Kira Municipality Wakiso District, former UPDF Maj Gen Elly Kayanja has been summoned by the State House Land Unit over his land row with the locals.
The two opposing parties are embroiled in a bitter dispute about who is the rightful owner of 226 hectares (559 acres) of prime land in Wakiso District.
In a letter dated October 4, 2022, Brig (Rtd) M.S. Lukyamuzi, the Head of the Presidential Special Taskforce on Lands and Environment, summoned Gen. Kayanja and Bulindo local leaders, to appear in person as soon as possible.
“We received a petition from the occupants being affected by illegal eviction from their land by Maj Gen Elly Kayanja together with his agents acting on his behalf,” the summon read in part.
“The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to summon you for a fact finding meeting pertaining ownership of the above mentioned land, insecurity caused in the area and also to agree on the way forward in resolving the matter amicably, without fail, scheduled on October 7, at 11am at Mengo Lubiri Ring Road behind Kenlon Hotel. You are all requested to come along with all the necessary documents pertaining to your ownership for ease of reference,” the letter adds.
The Kira Municipality Mayor, Mr Japhes Mukiibi Biimbwa, Mr John Tusiime, all claimants and petitioners, and Kalikumutima & Co., Advocates were also summoned.
According to opposing claims, trouble began when Gen. Kayanja last month sent armed men in plain clothes to watch the area while many graders levelled a portion of the disputed land.
The disputed land is in Wakiso District records plot 1448 Kyadondo block 182 and it measures 559 hosting a Catholic church, a school, several farms and residential houses and is bordered by high-end apartments and other commercial structures.
Gen. Kayanja said that he followed protocol and purchased the property from Japhes M. B. Wagumbulizi, who claimed to be the “actual registered proprietor” and the “administrator of the estate of the late G. W. Wagumbulizi Biyimbwa” in the sales agreement.
Gen. Kayanja paid Mr Wagumbulizi USh111.6 billion, or USh200 million per acre, for the land on July 5, 2022.
Part of the sales agreement reads: “The total purchase price (Shs111.6b) for all the contract land has been paid by the purchaser (Maj Gen Kayanja) to the vendor (Wagumbulizi) and the vendor hereby acknowledges receipt of the same by appending his usual and unrehearsed signature hereto …”
Mr Johnson K. Tusiime signed on behalf of the seller, while Eng. Daniel Ssekitto added his signature as the general’s witness. Vice Chairman of Bulindo Village Michael Kasozi approved the deal.
The Kira Mayor’s Side of the Story
According to Mr Julius Mutebi Nsubuga, the Mayor of Kira Municipality, 4,000 people are living on the disputed land, which has 54 villages that make up the municipality.
“Our team visited the land and saw ongoing piggery projects and the cultivation of bananas and coffee,” said the Kira Mayor.
The Wakiso land dispute came to light when Mr Mutebi wrote to the leadership of Bulindo Village on September 5, 2022, informing them of complaints he had received that the land wrangle was causing security concerns.
“By the copy of this letter, I request your office to invite all persons affected; the purchasers of the land mentioned and local leaders to understand these matters well and help to [in]form the next course of action,” he noted.
“Before Maj Gen Kayanja paid for the land, our investigations reveal that the land had encumbrances — at least two caveats; one lodged jointly by Ms Alexandra Nabatanzi, Mr James Kagenda Ssemakula and Njuki Nabatanzi on February 25, 2019, and another by Mr Bruce Musinguzi on June 1 this year,” the Mayor said.
The Kira Resident’s Side of the Story
Three more caveats have been placed on the land from the time Maj Gen Kayanja started working on it: the first was on August 3, 2022, by Mr Michael Lupampa, who claimed to be a beneficiary; the second was on August 9, 2022, by Mr James Kagenda Ssemakula, who claimed interest as “others”; and the third was on August 15, 2022, by Ms Margret Nalweyiso.
Some of the claimants claimed to have purchased their portions from Mr Samuel Sebina, who claims to have purchased his Wakiso land through Mr Wagumbulizi, the same vendor for Maj. Gen. Kayanja.
Mr Sebina is one of the six complainants who have filed a complaint against Gen. Kayanja to the Kampala Metropolitan Police to contest his ownership of the land.
Mr Sebina claims to have acquired the 559 acres from several sources, including additions from Vicente Mulindwa in 2008 and Noah Muwanga in 1996 and 1988.
According to Mr Sebina, the individuals who invaded his property intimidated him with firearms and instructed him to negotiate the purchase of any further land with them.
“I went to Kiwologoma Police Post to report the matter, but the police officers refused to enter my case in their books, saying they have instructions from Kira Divisional Police headquarters not to [entertain] my case,” he says.
After being refused entry, Mr Sebina filed a complaint with the Inspector General of Police, whose assistant gave him formal instructions to submit the case at Jinja Road Police Station instead.
Detectives are looking into claims made by Mr Sebina against Maj. Gen. Kayanja and others of criminal trespass and intentional damage to property, according to the Metropolitan Police’s deputy spokesperson, Mr Luke Owoyesigyire.
According to early inquiries, the retired general purchased land in the same region, but the disagreement is about the boundaries.
“The CID commander for Kampala Metropolitan police together with detectives from Kampala Metropolitan Police (KMP) East [last] Saturday visited the scene and they are going to sit with all the parties and come up with the solution,” he said.
Gen. Kayanja claimed to have met with the Resident District Commissioner of Wakiso, where the land is located, to settle the dispute. It is unknown if he had given a statement to the police or not.
Gen Kayanja said, “Yes, I’m aware of the case filed [against me] at police because police approached me and asked me whether I know about Sebina Samuel. I told them that I don’t know him,” he said, “Then the police told me that he alleges that I have taken up his land, graded it. I told them that … I don’t know any land which belongs to Sebina that I have graded.”
Mr Wagumbulizi, the Seller’s Side of the Story
The seller, Mr Wagumbulizi, says that Mr Sebina was supposed to acquire a sublease on the private Mailo land, and he could only have got a title for the entire parcel in error.
According to the sales agreement, Mr Wagumbulizi was aware of caveats by Ms Nabatanzi, Mr Ssemakula, and Njuki, which when the deal was sealed, he pledged to remove within 10 business days, despite the document’s claim that there were no unreported “adverse third-party claims” on the Wakiso land.
The Involvement of the State House Land Unit
The 10 days elapsed, and instead of getting smaller, the conflict has become worse, now involving the State House Land Unit.
The involvement of the State House Land Unit was in response to a petition filed by Ms Janet Walusaga, Mr Kenneth Opolot, Israel Ssekanjako, Allan Karugaba, Musana Mixed Farm, Margaret Ssekanjako, Cissy Nakanwogi, Henry Ssewankambo, and Rajab Sebugeni through their attorneys Kalikumutima & Co Advocates.
The Special Presidential Taskforce on Land and Environment’s Chairman, Mr Baker Ssewanyana, acknowledged that they are handling the dispute.
“We received the petition from residents of Bulindo about their forceful eviction from their land. Our office sent investigators to study the situation and meet the local leaders on the ground. We are working with other investigative bodies to have the matter fully investigated,” Mr Baker said.
Rtd General Kayanja’s Side of the Story
General Kayanja said, “There is what the accusers could call conflict and what I can call interest. I have an interest in [the 559-acre] Bulindo land. I have not chased any kibanja holders. If there is any, he [or she] should come out. People in Bulindo have land titles which sit on a mother title, but they don’t know where the land is [on the ground].”
He further said, “I bought this land from a man called Japhes Wagumbulizi and the way I purchased the land was not an upfront payment because even though the land title does not mention my name, it is still in his name.”
He added, “I’m not claiming the land as they allege because the Ministry of Lands called a meeting after Bulindo residents appealed to Lands Minister Judith Nabakooba who handed over the matter to a commissioner called Baker and Baker called me when those people (complainants) were in his office. He said, ‘Kayanja, you are taking people’s land where they have titles’. I said, ‘no, let them prove that it is their land’.”
“I came into this matter in July, when we were calling all people claimed to have stayed on the land for a long time to come and present their documents,” the general said.
He added: “The Ministry of Lands gave us the advice that they should open up boundaries, indicate where each and every body’s land is.”
He concluded by saying, “The Ministry of Lands has taken over the matter. Those who claim that they have overstayed on the land, I am willing to meet them, but only when the Ministry of Lands has come up with the report. In case the ministry comes up with a report that is not in my favour, I’m willing to vacate and leave the place.”
About Rtd Gen Kayanja
Elly Kayanja, a 63-year-old future two-star general in the Uganda People’s Defence Forces, rose to prominence in Uganda possibly by controversially initiating an aggressive assault on violent crime in Kampala.
Although the 2000 start of Operation Wembley brought back order in the city, complaints about human rights abuses persist due to the blood that was shed along the way, indiscriminate arrests, and suspected torture of detainees.
Many hailed the general, who announced his retirement last month in September 2022, as a hero for battling crime. He joined the National Resistance Army (NRA) in 1980, becoming one of the party’s first combatants and helping to bring President Museveni to power.
After deputising Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde, he functioned as Uganda’s domestic spymaster.
In September 2014, he was tasked to lead Operation Wealth Creation, a multibillion-shilling Agriculture Government Poverty Alleviation initiative overseen by Gen Salim Saleh.
Kayanja was promoted to Major General before retiring at the age of 60 in 2019, along with other important bush-war generals.
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