19 March 2019

Uganda: Mengo, Kayunga Bicker Over Headquarters Land

Kayunga — Buganda Kingdom has accused Kayunga District local government of illegally acquiring a land title on which they built their headquarters.

The 22-hectare disputed piece of land is located at Ntenjeru Village, which was formerly the Bugerere County headquarters for Buganda.

The row was sparked off after the chief administrative officer, Mr Ashaba Ganaafa, in a February 22 letter to local leaders, warning them against appending their signatures on any of the sale agreements on the disputed land.

"We received allegations that some people approached your office during purchase of land or plots at Ntenjeru District headquarters, which allegations need to be established. The district obtained a title on Block 115, Plot 138, acreage 22.857 hectares," the letter reads in part.

"The district surveyor, physical planner and senior land management officer are advised to priotise boundary opening of district headquarter land," the letter adds.

However, the Buganda Land Board (BLB) spokesperson, Mr Dennis Mugaya, said they are baffled by the way the district obtained the title.

"It is Buganda Land Board which has to do the transfers in case the district wants to get a title on that land. In this case, it must be a lease land title and for them they claim to have a freehold title, which I highly suspect is fake," Mr Bugaya said at the weekend.

He said the kingdom will sue the district if the matter is not handled appropriately.

However, Mr Darius Kaggwa, the secretary of Kayunga Land Board, said before the district constructed the office block, it sought permission from the then Katikkiro.

"The permission was granted and there is no way we could construct such a building on land when we were not sure of our ownership," Mr Kaggwa said.

Mr Kaggwa wondered how Mengo would contest their ownership of the land, saying: "We enjoy a good relationship with Buganda."

The district chairperson, Mr Tom Sserwanga, advised BLB to formally write to the district about the matter, promising that they would handle it amicably.

In 2014, the BLB chief executive officer, Mr Kyewalabye Male, announced that the board had assumed full powers effective August 1, 2013 to manage all properties that central government had confiscated in 1966 and districts have no mandate to sell or issues leases.

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