Over 5000 Mutungo Kibanja holders want court to legalize their land status

The Assistant Registrar His Worship Kintu Simon Zirintusa ruled that the Kibanja holders should stay on their land without developing it until the end of the hearing of suit filed.

Feb 27, 2023 - 11:33
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Over 5000 Mutungo Kibanja holders  want court to legalize their land status

KAMPALA - Over 5000 residents from Mutungo Zones 1-7 in Mutungo parish put the high court land division in Kampala to a standstill after rallying behind their fellow residents of the Mutungo Kibanja Owners Association in a bid to legalize their status on the contested land. This is after city businessman Dr. Muhammad Kasasa through his lawyers filed a case in the high court of Uganda land division, miscellaneous application Number 17 arising from civil suit Number 8 of 2023 against kasozi Edward and his wife Namaalwa Alice(Respondents). According to the tycoon, the Respondents trespassed on his land in one of the 7 zones in Mutungo parish that he claims to own and enclosed it with iron sheets and put construction materials with the aim of constructing a building. The Applicant through S.K. Kizza and Company Advocates wants the Respondents to stop their plans pending the hearing and determination of the main suit.

The Applicants received the letter inviting them to high court on 10th February 2023 to attend court summons on Tuesday 23rd February 2023. The Assistant Registrar His Worship Kintu Simon Zirintusa ruled that the Kibanja holders should stay on their land without developing it until the end of the hearing of suit filed.

The Respondents are being represented by Muhumuza Milton from Kafeero and Company Advocates. The Respondents(Kasozi Edward and his wife Namaalwa Alice) are Kibanja holders having purchased the same from one Emmanuel Kayiira in 198i. It should be noted that by 1981, the Applicant(Dr. Kasasa) was already the registered proprietor of the suit land.

The Applicant in is Affidavit in rejoiner rebutted the Respondents' claims that they bought the suit land from Emmanuel Kayiira in 1981 yet the Applicant purchased this land in 1978/9 with no one in occupation. The Applicant added that he has never received any ground rent from the persons claiming Kibanja on his land. The Respondents do not indicate in their affidavit in reply that the Applicant is their landlord.

The conditions for the grant of a temporary injunction are that, the Applicant must demonstrate that there is a Prima facie case with a probability of success, that the Applicant is likely to suffer irreparable loss if the Application is not granted and that if court is in doubt the balance of convenience favours the Applicant.

The Respondents claim to have a Kibanja interest, though they have not shown whether they are lawful or bona fide occupants of the suit land. Merely stating that they are Kibanja owners is not enough; the Respondents are required to show the kind of interest, which they have failed. The Respondents do not recognise the Applicant is the landlord but merely state that they have Kibanja on the Applicant's land.

A lawful or bonafide occupant on registered land is under obligation to pay ground rent. Payment of ground rent is proof of a Kibanja interest but there is no proof that the Respondents have never paid ground rent in order to justify their claim of being lawful or bona fide occupants. These are triable issues likely to arise at the trial and the likelihood is that they may be decided in favour of the Applicant according to the failed suit. According to Kasasa, the Respondents are merely land grabbers.

Vicent Mulondo a resident of Zone V, Mutungo Parish who represented Prince David Wasajja the brother to the Kabaka of Buganda in a meeting where residents from the affected Zones 1-7in Mutungo Parish said that the Buganda establishment is in support of the Kibanja holders to continue developing the contested land and revealed that the Prince will get time and meet them to discuss the way forward.

Moses Mugisha Okwera another resident who is vying for the MP Nakawa East position in 2026 appealed to parliamentarians to draft a law that can help Kibanja owners upgrade to land titles.

Lord Councillor, Faisal Ssebayigga Kibirige says that he was last year in prison for over three times because of land related matters and vowed to continue fighting for his residents to consolidate their land.

It should be noted that the family of Kabaka Edward Mutesa II have lost a protracted legal land feud to possess a one square mile prime land at Mutungo near Kampala to businessman Muhammed Kasasa last year.

On Monday 14th November 2022, the unanimous judgment rendered on by a panel of three justices: Elizabeth Musoke, Christopher Gashirabake and Eva Luswata, brought relief to residents who have settled on the contested land.

Justice Christopher Gashirabake in his lead judgment, held: “In light of the above, I do not find any error on the part of the learned trial judge for having held that the appellants’ (royals) conduct mounted to approbation and reprobation. Their suing to recover land and thereafter filing another suit in which they categorically admitted to having lost the land sought to be recovered in an earlier suit was inconsistent conduct amounting to approbation and reprobation.” He added: “Finally, save for the decision to reverse the order for full costs in the High Court civil suit 622 of 2003, and setting aside the award of costs in HCMA no 44 of 2020, the appeal substantially fails and it is hereby dismissed with costs”.

The appeal was filed by the administrators of the estate, Prince David Wassajja, Sarah Nalinya Kagere and Dorothy Nassolo against Mr Kasasa and the Attorney General seeking recovery of the land and compensation.

This was after they were dissatisfied with a High Court decision after Justice John Eudes Keitirima ruled in Mr Kasasa’s favour in 2020. The royal family had sought court declaration that all transactions on the land were illegal and that Mr Kasasa did not lawfully acquire the land in question.

The decision now puts to rest a 19-year-old dispute on the 640-acre piece of land.

Meanwhile, Kasasa was in 2019 accused of fraudulently acquiring over 640 acres of land on Mutungo land and selling it to the government of Uganda for security reasons. Government later established its External Security Organization Headquarters. Kasasa was paid shs2.4bn in 2009 as an agreeable price but is also being accused of conniving with mafias in government to be paid extra shs26bn which the commission headed by Hon. Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire contested.

President Yoweri Museveni on February 21, 2017 swore in members of the Land Inquiry 2017 at a function at State House Entebbe. The President, on December 8, 2016, appointed Hon. Lady Justice Catherine Bamugemereire to chair a seven-member Commission of Inquiry into Effectiveness of Law, Policies and Processes of land Acquisition, Land Administration, Land Management and Land Registration in Uganda - The Land Inquiry 2017.

The Commission of Inquiry comprised of the Chairperson and six Commissioners:The Chair, Hon. Justice Lady Catherine Bamugemereire, a sitting Justice of the Court of Appeal/Constitutional Court. The other Commissioners were:- Owekitibwa Robert Ssebunya, Mrs. Mary Oduka Ochan, Mrs. Joyce Gunze Habaasa, Dr. Rose Nakayi, Hon. Fred Ruhindi former Attorney General, and Mr. George Bagonza Tinkamanyire.

Her Worship, Mrs. Olive Kazaarwe Mukwaya, a Deputy Registrar of Planning and Development, is the Commission's Secretary, assisted by His Worship, Dr.Douglas Singiza, a Magistrate and Legal Researcher. The President further appointed a Kampala-based Leading Advocate, Mr. Ebert Byenkya, as Lead Counsel,assisted by Mr. John Bosco Rujagaata Suuza, a principal state attorney in Attorney General's Chambers.

Commission's Terms of Reference:-

Investigate and inquire into the law, processes and procedures by which land is administered and registered in Uganda. Investigate and inquire into the role and effectiveness of the Uganda Land Commission (ULC in administering public land and the Land Fund. Investigate, inquire into and review the effectiveness of the relevant bodies in the preservation of wetlands, forests and game reserves and examine ways in which the challenge of human habitation in those areas can be resolved.

  • To investigate, inquire and solicit views on the role of traditional, cultural and religious institutions who own large tracts of land with occupants in a bid to enhance better landlord/tenant relationships.
  • To assess the legal and policy framework on Government land acquisition.
  • To identify, investigate and inquire into the effectiveness of the dispute resolution mechanisms available to persons involved in land disputes.
  • To inquire into any other matter connected with or incidental to the matters aforesaid and make recommendations.

The Commission shall make recommendations:-

For improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the law, policies and processes of land acquisition, land administration, land management and land registration in Uganda and proposing necessary reforms.

Pertaining to civil, administrative and criminal sanctions against persons found culpable for wrong doing.

John Kusolo John Kusolo, a Ugandan Journalist, Sport fanatic, Tourist, Pastor, and Motivational Speaker. I am passionate about my work. Because I love what I do, I have a steady source of motivation that drives me to do my best. I am ambitious and driven. I thrive on challenge and constantly set goals for myself, so I have something to strive toward. Socials: John Kusolo on facebook and Twitter.