Lands Ministry Places Caveat on Disputed Ssembabule Land

3887 Views Sembabule, Uganda

In short
The Ministry of Lands has placed a caveat on a 4.5 square miles disputed piece of land in Ssembabule district.

The Ministry of Lands has placed a caveat on a 4.5 square miles disputed piece of land in Ssembabule district.
Residents from Bigaaga Estates in Ntuusi Sub County, Sembabule district petitioned the Lands Ministry challenging the procedures under which officials from the Uganda Investment Authority allegedly sold off the disputed land to an investor who wants to evict over 2500 residents settled on this piece of land.
Kerren Kayonga, a local investor from Kampala, has since April this year been involved in clashes with the occupants as she attempted to evict them for animal grazing which the residents rejected with violence. Kayonga claims that she bought the said land from UIA in 2007 and that she owns genuine documentation for the land.
The looming eviction of the residents from the five villages of Booma, Bigaaga,Kabeho, Kinoni and Kabukongote prompted occupants to rush to the ministry seeking a caveat placed on this land.
Five of the affected members ; Sam Tumwine, John Tibesigwa, Merab Kemikufu, Jovanis Kekitenderezo and Alex Bangirana swore affidavits through Victoria Legal Consultants challenging the alleged sell of the land to Kayonga and therefore applied for a caveat that the ministry granted to them.
In his affidavit, Sam Tumwine alleges that they have stayed on the land for a period exceeding 25 years that guarantees them legal protection against any eviction.
Tumwine says that Kayonga declined to produce the title she claims to possess, despite of the several requests from the district local authorities. He therefore argues that Kayonga is trying to grab the land and evict them without any compensation.
However, Merab Kemikufu also says that Kayonga may have connived with the UIA officials who illegally allocated her the land in question, arguing that none of the sitting tenants knew of the procedures under which she allegedly acquired the land.
Kemikufu also challenges the land takeover by Kayonga, saying that the proper land allocation procedures where violated; and that is now using police to forcefully ride off people from the land.
She adds that even before this land dispute is resolved, Kayonga went ahead and settled her animals on the land that has to date destroyed peoples plantations.
According to Alex Bangirana there was unfairness in the allocation of this land that would render many residents homeless. He claims that they have never received any legal eviction notice from or any offer to secure titles for land.
Bangirana cites that Kayonga is violating their rights to ownership to property if she dares to take the land forcefully.
The group requested the Lands ministry to halt any activities taking place on this land until the entire land give away undergoes proper scrutiny.
They prayed that both sides maintain the status quo until the matter is solved amicably.
According to this background, the commissioner Ministry of Lands went ahead and sanctioned a caveat to the effect prohibiting any further activities to take place until the dispute is solved.
The caveat was signed by the Commissioner of Lands registry Herman Nsubuga  Galiwango sealed under No. LRV 995/6 at Masaka Land Registry.
However, Kerren Kayonga is opposed to the caveat saying that it was granted on falsehood information presented by the applicants.
Kayonga insists that she legally bought the land and is not willing to lose even an acre to the squatters, alleging that these encroached on her land after she had bought it in 2007.
She alleges that since then, politicians in the district have influenced people to portion her land into plots and claim ownership with the interest of frustrating her investment.