The Head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema has said that the Government would not tolerate people promoting violence to resolve land conflicts.
“I have come to listen to you so that we may cooperate and work together to correct the anomalies peacefully,” she said.
Nakalema made the remarks yesterday in Ntawo/ Muzingu where the Anti-Corruption Unit officers together with Uganda Police met with the community to find a solution in a land wrangle involving Uganda Christian University, the family of Ham Mukasa and squatters occupying parts of the 649 acres of land in Mukono District.
According to reports illegal squatters and people claiming to be land owners are constructing houses in the area in a hurry while being hostile towards the registered land owners, Uganda Christian University Holdings. Since 2013 there has been forceful entry and retainer of portions of land, fencing them off and delivering building materials. The trespassers have in some cases erected illegal structures while claiming political support. The intruders claim to be bibanja holders yet they do not have any documentation to prove their interest in the said land.
Meanwhile, one Brian Ahimbisibwe who was previously arrested for being the ring-leader in violence was released by Police under unclear circumstances. In August 2019, the House of Bishops led by the former Archbishop Stanley Ntagali visited the land in question. During their tour they were attacked by a chaotic group that threatened to burn their bus and were rescued by the Police.
Recently during President Yoweri Museveni’s visit to the UCU Mukono Campus, he was informed about the crisis and he directed the Anti-Corruption Unit to follow up the matter and find a lasting solution.
“I directed the Police DPC Joab Wabwire to produce Brian Ahimbisibwe. Why was he released? This was the ringleader in the violence that has affected the people of this area. Our task is to ensure that security prevails in Ntawo,” Lt. Col. Edith Nakalema said. She observed that no efforts have been made to find a solution to the crisis.
The Vice Chancellor of Uganda Christian University Rev. Canon John Ssenyonyi revealed that the university that is run by the Anglican Church was given the said piece of land by COU.
UCU Holdings was given the facility as part of efforts to build an endowment. He noted that the institution failed in its objective because of squatters and hostilities. He guided the team on a tour of the demonstration farm that is run by the University and called for help in having constant security provided to the institution.
The Acting Commissioner of Land Registration John Karuhanga disclosed that Ham Mukasa donated the land in Ntawo to Church Of Uganda on the 27th October 1939. He revealed that the Governor endorsed the donation and it was authenticated. He said that it was given as a free hold facility. He concluded that in 2010, Church of Uganda transferred the land to UCU Holdings Ltd.
The Mukono RDC Fred Bamwine called on the people to remain calm. He assured them that the Anti –Corruption Unit together with the other Government agencies went to the land with the goal of finding a solution to the issues. He said that there were 4 claimants to the land, namely: Ham Mukasa family, Uganda Christian University, NARO and the residents.
A representative of the residents, Peter Kazibwe made efforts to claim that the transfer of land from the Ham Mukasa family to Church of Uganda was illegal. During the heated meeting, some of the residents were not prepared for the facts that were presented by the Ministry of Lands officials.
As tensions rose, Lt. Col. Nakalema resolved that the residents form a committee of 10 members to meet with UCU delegation, ACU and other stakeholders to resolve the issue. She said that her office would facilitate the meeting and was optimistic that a solution to the issue would be found.