The Court of Appeal in Kampala has ruled in favor of businessman Justus Kyabahwa, permitting him to proceed with the sale of Uganda Muslim Supreme Council (UMSC) properties to recover 18.9 billion shillings resulting from a disputed land transaction.
Justice Christopher Gashirabake, sitting as a single Judge, dismissed the UMSC’s application for a stay of execution that sought to prevent Kyabahwa from attaching nine UMSC properties to recover the money accumulated since 2020.
The dispute stemmed from UMSC’s sale of Sembabule Ranch land to Kyabahwa through a third party, Arthur Kayanja, in 2020. The sales agreement included clauses regarding possession, arrears payment, and resolution of disputes through arbitration or court. When Kyabahwa discovered the land was sold to another entity, ENHAS, he petitioned the commercial court to recover the money, leading to a favorable judgment for him on August 7, 2023.
Subsequently, a warrant of execution was issued on November 16, 2023, allowing Kyabahwa to sell nine UMSC properties, including the Gadafi Mosque in Old Kampala. Dissatisfied, UMSC appealed the decision and filed for a stay of execution, arguing irreparable harm and impeding their right of appeal.
However, Justice Gashirabake found the UMSC’s evidence insufficient to demonstrate irreparable harm that couldn’t be remedied by damages. He emphasized that the fear of property loss due to execution did not equate to irremediable harm and that the appeal lacked substantial grounds to contest the obligation to pay Kyabahwa.
The Judge dismissed UMSC’s application, indicating that their focus on peripheral issues rather than addressing the core dispute undermined the pursuit of substantive justice. He emphasized the importance of attending to the essence of the disagreement rather than diverting attention to irrelevant matters.