13 April 2012

Uganda: Nyakana Accused of Grabbing Land

Photo: Jason Taylor/FoEI
Civil society is currently engaging in campaigns against land grabbing.

Businessman Hassan Basajjabalaba has threatened to drag Kampala Central Municipal Mayor, Godfrey Nyakana, to court, accusing him of grabbing a prime plot of land he (Basajjabalaba) sold to one Francis Matovu.

According to a notice of intention to sue from Basajjabalaba's lawyers, Niwagaba and Mwebesa Advocates, Nyakana illegally obtained Matovu's 0.23 acre property on plot 3 Naguru Road. The notice, dated March 28, 2012, asks Nyakana to unconditionally relinquish his claim over the land in the interest of peace and mutuality, or risk being dragged to court.

"Our clients (Basajjabalaba and Matovu) are further dismayed that, using the said title, you caused immense damage to Matovu's property in an attempt to forcefully evict him from the land. Our clients are vexed and believe that you should not be the one to do this to them," says the notice, copied to the chairman, Kampala District Land Board (KDLB).

According to records The Observer has seen, Nyakana sold the land to Basajjabalaba, who in turn sold it to property agent Ephraim Ntaganda before the latter sold the plot to Matovu as the lease was about to expire. At the time Nyakana sold the land to Basajjabalaba, the title was in the names of Fredrick Mijumbi, and Nyakana made the transaction as a trustee. Matovu alias Bbuto who bought the land from Ntaganda at Shs 600m told The Observer recently that Nyakana had forged his land title when he claimed ownership of the property.

"I gave a photocopy of my land title to Nyakana to sell this particular land for me. He cunningly went to KDLB, lied to them that his land title was lost and requested for a new one," said Matovu.

Matovu alleges that Nyakana invaded his tenants on the night of Saturday, March 24, with a gang of men who vandalised property and beat up the security guards in a bid to evict the occupants. According to records at Jinja Road police station, the night raid left several people injured and the matter is under police investigation. However, Nyakana denies having participated in or organised any such raid. He also insists he has never sold the land to anyone.

"I have never sold that land to anyone. They should show me their documents. I have the land title; what do they have to show? The land title expired and I renewed it about three months ago," Nyakana told The Observer.

While he admits that the controversial land title is in the names of Frederick Mijumbi, he says it is valid and accuses Ntaganda of having conned Matovu by selling to him land he does not own. Ntaganda, on the other hand, says Nyakana grabbed the land from Matovu.

"I sold Matovu the land, which I had bought from Basajjabalaba, and handed him (Matovu) a valid land title.

"Nyakana should explain how this title reached Basajjabalaba who has a sale agreement with him (Nyakana)," Ntaganda says.

KDLB chairman, Yusuf Nsibambi, says Nyakana's land title is invalid. He says Nyakana sold his land to Basajjabalaba, who later sold it to Ntaganda before the latter sold to Matovu.

"Nyakana blind-folded the district land board when he claimed ownership of the said plot after selling it to another party. Whatever document he has now was issued in error," Nsibambi said. "We intend to write to the ministry of Lands over the same to see everything streamlined."

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