Uganda: Katikkiro Mayiga's Move to Lease Clan Land Sparks Protest

Kampala — A decision by Buganda Kingdom Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga to clear a lease on cultural land at Lwada Village in Wakiso District for Gen Elly Kayanja has attracted protests from clan members.

Mr Kayiira Gajuule, the head of the kingdom's 52 clan leaders, said Mr Mayiga's act is an abuse of Kabaka Ronald Mutebi's directive in 2018 when he ordered that all titles previously owned by clans be returned to them.

"I saw a 2018 communication by the Kabaka directing BLB (Buganda Land Board) to return all land owned by the clan to their trustees. The Kabaka also directed me as a clan head to visit five disputed properties, including Mpologoma land and I filed for him a report," Mr Kayiira said yesterday.

He said the disputed land is vital to Buganda culture because all the clan heritage is rooted there.

He said the land would also support clans through collection of rent from tenants. "The Kabaka is cognizant of the benefits and that is why he ordered that land previously owned by clans should be returned to them. What we see today is a disrespect to Kabaka's order," Mr Kayiira said.

The disputed land houses the Mpologoma clan headquarters and smaller cultural sites for each of the 52 clans.

On July 2, Mr Mayiga wrote to Mr Simon Kaboggoza, the executive director of BLB, endorsing the board's proposal to renew Gen Kayanja's lease that was converted from the Uganda Land Commission (ULC) that managed the kingdom land after the abolition kingdoms in 1966.

Clan members led by Mr John Patrick Kisekka at the weekend said they were considering placing a caveat on the entire square mile to prevent BLB from parcelling out the land to individual developers. Mr Mayiga directed BLB that if Gen Kayanja was ready to carve off his title from the Mpologoma land, let it be despite the clan members' claims.

He advised the Mpologoma clan members that a small item upon which they have ownership is better than a huge piece without ownership.

Efforts to contact Mr Mayiga were futile as calls and test messages to his known cell phone numbers were not answered.

Mr Kaboggoza said the land issue was directly handled by Mengo administration and not BLB.

He said it is the kingdom spokesperson, Mr Noah Kiyimba, who is mandated to comment on the matter. Mr Kiyimba did not respond to our calls and text messages by press time.

Mr Mayiga's letter shows that the proposal for renewal of the lease was originated by Mr Kaboggoza in a June 30 letter to the Katikkiro.

Gen Kayanja acquired a lease on 25 acres from ULC where he planted fruit trees. The entire land is 644 acres.

Clan leaders said they had no objection to Gen Kayanja completing his lease period in November but the renewal is not right.

"Our site must now resort to its cultural importance. A lot was destroyed when land was with the central government," Mr Kisekka said.

In 2018, graders started levelling the ground for access roads with surveyors planting mark stones but Mpologoma clan members resisted, and the grading was called off.

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