A land wrangle involving Tooro Kingdom and a private school in Kabarole district is affecting the existence of the school. Tooro Kingdom lawyers have ordered the school to stop construction of structures and remove the existing ones.
Tooro Kingdom and Smiling Peas Secondary School, a private school in Kabarole district, are embroiled in a land wrangle that is threatening the existence of the school.
The school worth 500 million shillings was constructed last year by PEAS (Promoting Equality in African Schools), a UK based charity organization.
The school, located at Kazingo in Bukuku Sub County, was constructed on a seven acre piece of land and has a population of 450 students.
Ayigihugu and Company Advocates, the lawyers representing Tooro Kingdom, have now written to the Director of PEAS Uganda claiming the school was illegally constructed on the and that Tooro Kingdom is the rightful owner of the land.
In the May 18, 2012 letter, the lawyers have given the school ten days to stop construction of more permanent structures and also to remove the existing seventeen structures which include the administration block, classroom blocks, a dining hall, dormitories, toilets, two laboratories, staff room and a library.
But the school administration insists that the land was purchased legally.
According to Susan Opok, the director of the school, the land was purchased from residents of Kazingo who were occupants on the piece of land. She however refused to disclose how much they paid the residents.
But she said the school doesn’t have the land title, adding that it is being processed. Opok questions why the kingdom had to wait until the school was constructed before claiming ownership of the land.
In a telephone interview on Wednesday, Amos Mugisa, the Prime Minister Tooro Kingdom, said that the school was constructed without consulting the Kingdom. He says that the organization acquired the land through middlemen, who could have cheated them.
According to Mugisa, the residents who sold the land were sitting tenants who were also illegal occupants, because they were not paying ground rent to the kingdom.
He says that when the Kingdom received information that they are constructing a school, they invited the organization to discuss the matter, but the invitation was never honoured.
John Aliija, a parent says that the Kingdom and school administration should solve the wrangle because if the school is demolished, students in the community will miss out.
//Cue in: “The school…”
Cue out: “…benefits the population.”//
This is the second time Tooro Kingdom is embroiled in land wrangles with institutions. In 2010, the construction of the SOS Children’s Home in Fort Portal was temporarily halted after the kingdom secured an injunction stopping the construction claiming ownership of the land.