21 April 2017

Uganda: Kabaka Land - Mabirizi Files Fresh Suit Against Buganda

For a second time, Male Hassan Mabirizi has sued to challenge Buganda kingdom's hold on land in its jurisdiction.

In his latest motion, Mabirizi wants Buganda's latest land ownership campaign, dubbed Ekyapa mu ngalo [Title in the hand], halted until his main application challenging the Kabaka's ownership of the said land is determined. The latest campaign urges all tenants on Kabaka's land to get 49-year leases.

"A temporary injunction doth issue restraining the respondent, his agency known as Buganda Land Board, other agents and officials or any other person or body claiming through him from; implementing his newly launched scheme of Ekyapa mu ngalo or any other related or transformed scheme," Mabirizi's application reads.

He also wants court to issue temporary orders restraining the Kabaka from holding out as a landlord for the official mailo land and carrying out any consequential action related to such holding out.

Months ago, Mabirizi sued, challenging Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi's ownership of land in Buganda. On April 19, Mabirizi filed another motion in the High court in Kampala seeking to stop a proposed scheme offering 49-year leases to tenants on Buganda kingdom land launched by Charles Peter Mayiga, the Katikkiro of Buganda, on Tuesday. But Mayiga went ahead and launched the campaign on Tuesday.


Like in the main application, which is yet to be determined because of disagreements on which judge should hear the case, Mabirizi also wants court to halt any collection of ground rent (Busuulu) from the settlers on the official mailo land.

He further wants a stop to the imposition of a compulsory registration at a fee and the collection of a 10 per cent or any other percentage charge of the sale value of land/kibanja on the official mailo registered in the names of the Kabaka.

Mabirizi argues in his sworn affidavit in support of the application that the Ekyapa mu ngalo scheme is intended to deprive Baganda living on official mailo land their perpetually owned property in land.

"The said Ekyapa mu ngalo scheme is intended to make settlers subject to lease covenants, which exposes them to the risk of losing their land in case of failure to comply with strict lease covenants," Mabiriizi argues in his affidavit.

He adds that in the past, the Kabaka through his several agencies has evicted and demolished properties on the official mailo land claiming that settlers are trespassers.

"The respondent is continuing with the actions, which are intended to be restrained in the main suit yet they cause irreparable injury to the applicant and other Buganda people living on land, which is the subject matter of the main suit," Mabirizi said.

However, while launching the scheme, Mayiga denied that the kingdom was behind any evictions.

"Some of those evictions are by people who have secured lease offers from [BLB] and the kingdom can't be held liable for their actions," Mayiga said. "An action by an individual staff of BLB cannot be blamed on the institution. They are not representatives of the kingdom. We are going to investigate and take action on those errant officials."


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