Uganda: Prince Loses Land Case to Kabaka

29 September 2020

ANTHONY WESAKA

KAMPALA- The High Court yesterday dismissed a case where Prince Kalemera H. Kimera had sued the Kabaka of Buganda Kingdom, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi, claiming 16 square miles of land in Masajja, allegedly belong to his late grandfather, Sir Daudi Chwa II, the former king of Buganda.

While dismissing the suit, the Principal Judge, Justice Flavian Zeija, faulted Prince Kimera for having got interested in the said land upon hearing that Uganda National Roads Authority (Unra) was to compensate land owners on the Kampala-Jinja Expressway, where this land is situated.

"It is clear from the pleadings that the late Duadi Chwa died in 1939. He left children and grandchildren at the time of his death. Those who were alive at the time, have never brought any claim for a period of more than half a century. It is only in 2017 that a few of them remembered that there is an estate in which they have an interest after they learnt of Unra compensation," Justice Zeija ruled.

This matter arose in 2017 when Prince Kimera and Princess Nalinya Nandaula, all descendants of the late king Chwa sued the Kabaka of Buganda, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II (current king), Buganda Land Board, Commissioner for Land Registration and the Attorney General.

The duo were seeking to reclaim the land on account that the private land belonged to their late grandfather. They claimed that government wrongly returned the land to the Kabaka of Buganda and is now under the control of Buganda Land Board.

Further in his analysis, Justice Zeija agreed with the lawyers of the Kabaka of Buganda that the complainants did not have the powers (locus standi) to institute the case.

"It follows that the 1st plaintiff (Prince Kimera) is a great grandchild of the late Daudi Chwa II and is therefore, a 3rd degree beneficiary. Section 2 (b) of the Succession Act defines lineal descendants to include legitimate, illegitimate and adopted children but does not include grandchildren," Justice Zeija indicated.

"The 1st plaintiff (Prince Kimera) as a grandchild does not, therefore, qualify as a lineal descendant. That too, Daudi Chwa was survived by children and from his demise in 1939, none of his children has brought forward any allegations. It is quite baffling why the plaintiff as a 3rd descendant would turn up in 2017 to claim property which does not even belong to him," the judge added.

Justice Zeija also said he noted of late that a resurgence of claims by grandchildren and children of many deceased persons, many of whom allege fraud when in actual fact the alleged fraudsters are sometimes dead.

"Unfortunately, courts have been laboured to face numerous land disputes like the instant one where even the very last descendant would arise decades later to bring claims in the pretext of fighting for what they assume to belong to them," the Principal Judge further held.

Adding: "This must stop. The law on succession was designed in a detailed way to protect the courts from such scenarios. In the premises therefore, I find that both the plaintiffs did not have a locus standi [justified cause] to bring this suit.

"The objection, therefore, succeeds. Upholding this objection has the effect of disposing of the matter."

The petitioners were also asked to pay costs of the suit to the Kabaka.

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