Church, Rubanda District Fail to Resolve Land Dispute

2625 Views Rubanda, Western Region, Uganda

In short
The Rubanda District Chairman, Kenneth Jogo Biryabarema tabled documents on behalf of Rubanda District Local government but the representatives of Rubanda catholic parish and Bahuriras family didnt have any.

A meeting convened to resolve the dispute between Rubanda District and Rubanda Catholic Parish in Kabale Diocese over Kakihuma public land has failed to progress because of disagreements on the mediator. 

The district is feuding with Rubanda Catholic Parish over the 18 acre piece of land found in Mukatojo cell in Nyaruhanga ward in Rubanda town council. Government reportedly gazzetted the disputed land a grazing area in the 1960's. Rubanda district claims that in 1985, the then Rubanda County Chief, Charles Rukanyangyira ordered all parish chiefs to demarcate the boundaries of all government land in the area including Kakihuma land. 

In 1990, the county turned Kakihuma land into a Scout's camp. The land is part of the property included in the inventory complied by Adios Kyomukama, the Kabale District Natural Resources Officer on March 24th, 2015 that was handed over to Rubanda district when it was curved out of Kabale district in 2016.
However, in 2017, the family of the late Bahurira claimed ownership of the land and donated it to Rubanda Catholic Parish. In June this year, Rubanda Catholic Parish erected a makeshift church on the land drawing protests from the district leadership.

On June 21st 2018, the three parties agreed to convene a meeting and forge away forward on the matter. However, the meeting failed to take place since the family and church representatives didn't show up. The parties convened on Tuesday to try and resolve the matter in vain. 

During the meeting, the Rubanda District Chief Administrative Officer, Aggrey Muramira who played the mediation role asked the parties to present relevant documents proving their ownership of the disputed land.  The Rubanda District Chairman, Kenneth Jogo Biryabarema tabled documents on behalf of Rubanda District Local government but the representatives of Rubanda catholic parish and Bahurira's family didn't have any.

They instead accused Muramira of failing to notify them in advance to come along with all the necessary documents on the disputed land. Rev. Fr. Charles Lwanga, the Secretary for Board of Trusties Kabale Diocese who represented the Bishop of Kabale diocese, Rt. Rev Callist Rubaramira, said the failure by the mediator to inform them in advance to come with relevant documents on the disputed land shows that he is biased. 

He explained that they need a neutral mediator other than Muramira if the matter is to be resolved. Fr. Lwanga also asked for a period of one month to look for a neutral mediator after consulting Bishop Rubaramira who is away in the United States of America.
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Fr. Felix Bunimba, the Buhara Catholic Parish Priest who is also the grandson of the late Bahurira, says his family inherited the disputed land when his grandy died in the 1950's.

Jogo Kenneth Biryabarema, the Rubanda District LC V Chairman, says the district leadership is ready for negotiations once the family tables the relevant documents.

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Muramira says both parties are at liberty to choose another mediator whom they think is neutral, saying his only role is to see that the matter is concluded amicably.


About the author

Samuel Amanya
Samuel Amanya is the Kigezi Region URN bureau chief. Kabale, Kisoro, Kanungu and Rukungiri districts fall under his docket. Samuel Amanya has been a Uganda Radio Network reporter since August 2016. Before becoming a URN staff reporter, Amanya had written for the network for several years as a freelancer.

Amanya was also a Voice of Kigezi reporter from 2011 to 2016.

A journalism graduate from African College of Commerce Kabale, Amanya values his independence. Amanya says URN is a home for his talent because it lets him explore his journalistic interests without limits.

Amanya is fascinated by the crime beat and some of his best stories have come out of that interest. Amanya says he aims to be all round beat reporter.