Makerere University Turns to Justice Bamugemereire Over Makindye Land Feud Top story

3141 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
On May 8th, 2013, the Makindye Deputy Resident City Commissioner convened a meeting involving the warring parties and directed Bwanga to stop all activities on the contested land in vain, saying she was acting on behalf of Buganda Kingdom.

Makerere University has turned to the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire Commission to investigate its feud with Omumbejja Bwanga Bwa Mirembe over land. 

The university claims it is on the verge of losing a 14 acre piece of land in Nakinyuguzi zone in Makindye in Kampala since Bwanga claims it belongs to Dungu Heritage and it is the birth place of Sekabaka Mutesa II. 

The Makerere University Senior Legal Officer, Goddy Muhanguzi Muhumuza, says they hope to save the land lies in the Commission since they have failed to enforce a court order evicting people occupying the contested land. 

Muhumuza says of all the land battles the university has had, the one in Makindye has left it with scores of loses and heavy intimidation. "Makindye was the unfair bit of it. Mumbejja grabbed the land and sold it. I hope Bamugemereire is going to help us," Cannon Muhumuza said.
Adding that, "Can you imagine someone coming to your office with a contingent of close to seven armed police men to warn you?"   According to the university, Bwanga laid claim on the contested land in 2013 and forcefully accessed it with the help of heavily armed police from the Very Important Person Protection Unit-VIPPU.

She reportedly went to the land again on April 26, 2013 with her police guards and cut down trees, demolished university houses and uprooted the university fence and concrete boundary pillars. As a result, Makerere University filed a case of criminal trespass against Bwanga at Katwe Police Station vide reference no. 88/29/04/2013. 

On May 8th, 2013, the Makindye Deputy Resident City Commissioner convened a meeting involving the warring parties and directed Bwanga to stop all activities on the contested land in vain, saying she was acting on behalf of Buganda Kingdom. Some of those who attended the meeting included former Police Spokesperson, the later Andrew Felix Kaweesi, the Kawempe and Wandegeya Divisional Police Commanders and officers from the Internal Security Organisation.
However, on October 31st, 2013, Apollo Makubuya, Buganda's Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister wrote M/s Kateera and Kagumire Advocates, the external lawyers of Makerere University distancing the kingdom from Bwanga's actions. "She (Bwanga) does not represent or act for the Kingdom," said Makubuya in his letter.
On July 18th, 2016, Charles Barugahare, the Makerere University Secretary wrote to the Commissioner for Land Registration asking the commission not to issue any titles on the contested land. "This is to request that you do not act on the illegal and fraudulent request by the chairperson of Uganda Land Commission to issue a parallel Mailo title over the known registered University freehold land," Barugahare said. 

Adding that; "In the event that you have already erroneously issued a parallel Mailo title to the said land, you proceed to cancel the Mailo title under section 91 of the Land Act as the purported Mailo title would be superimposed over the university freehold land, a situation which is legally untenable." 

However, on September 20, 2016, the Chairperson of Uganda Land Commission wrote to the Commissioner Surveys and Mappings asking him to produce deed plans for the said land on the basis that it holds the heritage site for the birth of Sekabaka Mutesa II. Makerere insists that Bwanga colluded with some land officers at KCCA Zonal office to fraudulently acquire parallel Mailo titles for the University Land.

According to Muhumuza, Makerere University holds the title for the contested land, which sits on plots 14, 45, 57 and 261 that has been in existence since September 26, 1938. Muhumuza explains that the then, Makerere College bought the contested land from Dr. Margaret Bax in 1955. He however, explains that in 1970 the changed the title to Makerere university. The contested land host several university staff house. On August 10th, 2017, Muhumuza wrote to the Justice Bamugemereire Commission requesting it to investigate the circumstances under, which the current claimants attained their titles on the university land.   


"We request the Commission of Inquiry to investigate circumstances under which the Chairperson of Uganda Land Commission and Dr. Yafesi Okia in the office of the Commissioner Surveys and Mapping have assisted and are aiding fraudsters in grabbing land belonging to a government institution," Muhumuza. 

In September this year, President Yoweri Museveni ordered all encroachers on Makerere University land to vacate before they face the law. He said that he would ask the Engineering Unit in State House to demolish all constructions and structures built on the university land illegally.


About the author

Davidson Ndyabahika
Davidson Ndyabahika is a Journalism major from Makerere University and is passionate about investigative and data journalism with special interest in feature story telling.

He has gone through digital and multi-media training both at Ultimate Multimedia Consult, and has attended Data Journalism Sessions at ACME to enrich his capacity in data journalism.

Davidson has previously freelanced with The Campus Times, The Observer, Chimp reports and URN. He is currently reporting under Education. He is also passionate about reporting on environment, health, crime and political satire writing.

Follow him on Twitter: @dndyaba