Kampala — Authorities at the only national referral hospital were yesterday involved in a standoff after a family emerged claiming to own part of Mulago hospital land.
The officials dismantled a fence that had been erected around the piece of land located behind the Mulago Police Station during the wee hours of Monday night.
The family's land administrator Latimer Mpagi, yesterday told journalists that the contested land used to belong to his grandfather, Mr Ase Mukanga Ssendawula, who passed it to Mr Mpagi's uncles namely Jonathan Masembe, Bulasio Buyise, late GK Kaggimu and the late Samalie Namboga.
Mr Mpagi also claimed that the family used to own all the 77 acres of land from plot 1 to 47, which includes where the Lower Mulago is built up to the Ministry of Public Service.
"In 2015, Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo of the High Court issued a decree allowing us to use this land as bona fide occupants of the land and that is what we are doing," Mr Mpagi said.
In 2015, Mr Masembe, Mr Buyise, Kagimu and Namboga went to the Land Division of the High Court claiming ownership of land described as plots 387, 388, 395, 396, 403, 506, 508, 509 and 510 of block 38 challenging Makerere University and Attorney General over 'illegal' occupation of the plots.
However, the Mulago hospital authorities led by the public relations officer Enock Kusasira yesterday described the family members as land grabbers who want to snatch public land.
"This land belongs to Mulago legally and we don't know these groups because they are associating themselves with powerful people. They are calling themselves veterans and also associating with people in the security apparatus," he added.
He explained that between 1996 and 1998, government acquired a loan from the African Development Bank to buy more land for the expansion of Mulago hospital which includes the particular plot being claimed by the "land grabbers".
"Everybody who was living on this land was compensated and paid their money. Actually, some of the people who were compensated are still living," said Mr Kusasira.
Prince Benon Kanakulya, who chaired the committee for land acquisition for Mulago hospital expansion under the ADF project (Clamheap) in 1997, said the land belongs to the hospital and was meant to host a doctors' club and some commercial houses.
Mr Kanakulya, who doubles as the Mulago II parish chairman, said the land belonging to Mulago hospital cannot be grabbed while he is still alive with supportive documents and maps of the 75 hectares on which the hospital sits.
Mr Kusasira said as the hospital administration, they have a duty to safeguard public land which will be needed for future expansion.
"We are working with police to hunt down these criminals and they face the mighty hand of the law," he said.
According to Mulago administration, the contested land is comprised of plots 987, 831, 959, 798, 799 and 211 of Kibuya contrary to what is being cited by the Mr Ssendawula family.