17 March 2019

Uganda: Bobi Wine, 400 Others Face Eviction On Kamwokya Land

Kyadondo East Member of Parliament Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, aka Bobi Wine, is among 400 residents who face eviction from a disputed piece of land in Kamwokya.

Bobi Wine grew up in the murky slums of Kamwokya, a Kampala suburb and he nicknamed himself the de facto "Ghetto President" operating from the disputed land where he established Ssemakokiro Plaza with recording studios for his music.

But the landlord, M/s Pearl Hope Investments Limited, through Lubega, Matovu and Company advocates, on March 11 notified Bobi Wine and others in separate letters about the planned eviction.

The landlord accuses Bobi Wine and others of trespass and has, therefore, given them seven days to vacate or be forced out.

"You went ahead and demolished the old premises thereon. You erected Ssemakokiro Plaza on the land wherein you have your recording studios and other activities. As you may appreciate, you are purely a trespasser on our client's land, our client on purely humanitarian grounds gives you a notice of seven days within which you should remove your developments as they constitute a nuisance therein," the March 11 letter addressed to the MP reads, in part.

Bobi Wine is accused of buying the land from a one Gladys Nanyonga without the consent of the landlord.

At least 400 families in the ghetto zones of Mulimira, Kisenyi and Old Kira Road are under threat. The disputed land, measuring about 26 acres, is located on Block 213 Plots 20-78, while other plots are marked as 1979, 20186, and 1977.

A copy of the title shows Musa Musisi as the first registered owner in 1957. He transferred it to Joseph Kagumba in 1996, before Samuel Kasoma getting it in 2003 and eventually Pearl Investments in 2006.

When contacted on Thursday, Bobi Wine said his lawyer, Benjamin Katana, was handling the matter. Mr Katana could not be reached immediately. But Bobi Wine's brother Fred Nyanzi Ssentamu, alias Chairman Nyanzi, said the legislator whom he described as a kibanja holder genuinely acquired the land.

"He bought from a former Kibanja holder and he duly paid the seller. The claimants are being frivolous and they will hit a snag," Mr Nyanzi said.

The local council chairman of Kisenyi Zone, Mr Kabuye Ssebatta, said government should come up to help its ghetto residents.

"There is that Land Fund. We ask the President to help us access it so that we can pay the landlord. I will convene a village meeting to chat a way forward," Mr Ssebatta said.

He said there was a process of verification of occupants on the land in 2004 and at least 222 people were registered as occupants then.

Mr Moses Kiggundu of Lubega, Matovu and Co. Advocates told Sunday Monitor that "They can only be allowed to stay when they pay what deserves the landlord."

MINISTRY SAYS.....

The ministry of Lands spokesperson, Mr Dennis Obbo, said the 1995 Constitution provides for two types of occupants; lawful occupants and bona fide occupants, adding that Section 30 of the Land Act provides that those persons take reasonable steps to look for the landlord and undertake negotiations with the owners concerning their occupancy on the land but not eviction.

"They may seek the help of a mediator agreed upon by both parties, or petition the Office of the Magistrate Grade 1. The Land Act under 32A also provides for a period of six months before an eviction can be effected," Mr Obbo said.

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