Bugiri — Increasing cases of land wrangles between the Bugiri District and the Bukooli chiefdom, if not solved quickly, could degenerate into an ugly spat, deputy district chief administrative officer has warned.
Founded before 1737, Bukooli is one of the six traditional chiefdoms of Busoga Kingdom.
According to Mr Geoffrey Wanyama, the land wrangles are becoming a matter of concern.
Speaking last week at a meeting convened by the Busoga Kingdom deputy premier, Mr Muhammad Lubega, at the district headquarters, Mr Wanyama said there are 40 lands cases between the two institutions.
It also emerged that the land where the district headquarters have been constructed as well as Bugiri Hospital, Kayango Health Centre III and among others is a subject of court battles."We don't have to go to court over these matters. This is because we will waste a lot of time and resources and the decisions there may leave a bitter taste in our mouth. Let's solve these issues amicably so that we don't retard development," Mr Wanyama said.
He added: "The land wrangles have caused divisions between the civil servants in the district and the Bukooli chiefdom. And I fear that our lives are in danger because some royal chiefs are reportedly invoking the spirits to get rid of the district officials."
In his submission, Mr Lubega urged the Bukooli royal chiefs to remain calm, saying the kingdom will take up the matter.
The two institutions have for years been locked in a wrangle involving more than 100 acres of land.
According to Mr Lubega, the kingdom is currently carrying out land sensitisation throughout the 10 districts of Busoga sub-region.
He said: "Land issues are emotional, but for now lets make sure that it does not divide us but use it to improve our education, agriculture and health."
Last month, a group of royal chiefs led by "Isabataka" of Bukooli Henry Kibubuka Wakooli, stormed the district production office claiming that the land where it sits belonged to his late father Kaunhe Wakooli and for that, he wants to assume its ownership.
As a result, offices including that of agriculture, marketing, Operation Wealth Creation and veterinary were closed down for about 48-hours until police intervened.
In 2013, Bukooli Chiefdom leaders gave Bugiri District authorities a six-month ultimatum to leave an 87 hectare piece of land owned by the chiefdom or face acts of civil disobedience.
The chiefdom leaders accused the district of failure to pay rent for the land and buildings owned by the chiefdom.