14 September 2011

Uganda: UPDF Officer, Masaka Municipality Locked in Wrangle

Masaka — Controversy surrounding the sale of a building to a high ranking UPDF soldier is threatening to tear apart Masaka Municipal Council. Situated on Edward Avenue in Masaka Town, the structure was constructed by the Hindu community during the colonial days but was taken over by the district municipal council when the Asians were expelled in 1972.

Until now, the building had been turned into a council chamber, housing the offices of the mayor and town clerk. However, it is now being claimed by the Board of Trustees of the Uganda Indian Association, which has instituted legal proceedings to get it back.

In April this year, the building was reportedly sold to Brig. Silver Kayemba. But councillors are agitating for a meeting to establish how the building was sold amid rumours that some big shots like the mayor and leaders of the Masaka Area Land Committee could have been bribed.

Brig. Kayemba was not available for an interview but it is known that he bought the building after seeing an advert in the papers and bought it from the area land committee, a sub-set of Masaka District Land Board.

According to the chairman of the area land committee, Mr William Kisenyi, the lease of the building expired in 2007 and any interested applicant was free to apply for the premises.

Mr Kisenyi said he informed the mayor, Mr Godfrey Kayemba, over the matter who wrote to the committee advising them not to sell the building. But according to procedure, Mr Kayemba should have written not as an individual but as the council, involving the town clerk's office.

Mr Kayemba responded to the claims by saying: "Those people think cliques can convene meetings anytime they please, but that is not the way we are going to do business," he said.

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