NWSC Embroiled in Land Dispute In Mbale

1944 Views Mbale, Eastern Region, Uganda

In short
National Water and Sewerage Cooperation -NWSC is on the spotlight over a land dispute with residents of Zetui village, Wanale Division in Mbale Municipality.

The National Water and Sewerage Corporation-NWSC is embroiled in a land dispute in Wanale division in Mbale municipality. Ten people from Zesui village in Wanale division are accusing NWSC of grabbing their land measuring eight hectares.

The complainants are Abdulheri Nabende, Ahmed Namugowa, Twaha Watulo, Abbasa Makayi, Bashir Magombe, Hamidu Watulo, Majidu Watulo, Sirajji Moshe, Sowali and Moshe. The disputed land hosts, the Mbale water plant.
The complainants claim that, the disputed land was given to NWSC by their late grandfather Musa Wanyala and they want it back. Twaha Watulo, one of the claimants says they have tried to repossess their land from NWSC since 2000 in vain.

He says that in 2001, when they approached NWSC Mbale branch over the matter, they were arrested and detained for allegedly threatening the lives of the NWSC staff. Watulo believes their arrest was aimed at intimidating and frustrating their efforts to reclaim their land, something he said they will not heed to.

He said they later dragged to court National Water and Sewerage Cooperation for unlawful arrest, detention and malicious prosecution under criminal appeal number 38/2003 and the case is still ongoing. Watulo and his family have filed a fresh petition to NWSC demanding for their land.

//Cue in: "Moni area…
Cue out: …National water."//

Emmanuel Ekanya, the Mbale NWSC manager refers to the claimants as land encroachers. Ekanya explained that earlier the Bunghoko water plant including the land on which it is established was being run by Mbale Municipal council. He however says that in the early 1980s when NWSC came into operation in Mbale, government degazzated the facility and handed it over to them for proper management.
He said NWSC acquired a certificate of ownership of the land in 1994 that will go for 49 years.

He says NWSC was however surprised when the group came up in 2000 and started claiming ownership of the land. He says the groups invaded the land in 2005 and vandalized the fence leading to their arrest. Ekanya says NWSC will not relent to the fresh demands as the case is still before court.

//Cue in: "The land in…
Cue out: …the judicial processes."//

James Kutosi, the Mbale Municipal Council Public Relations Officer says the records and documents in their possession indicate that the land in question was donated to the Municipality in the early 1950s by the claimants' grandfather Musa Wanyala. Kutosi could not however avail URN a copy of the said documents.


About the author

Denis Olaka
Denis Olaka is the URN bureau chief for Lira, in northern Uganda. Apac and Otuke fall under his docket. Olaka has been a URN staff member since 2011.

Olaka started his journalism career in 2000 as a news reporter, anchor, and then editor for Radio Lira in Lira district. He was subsequently an editor with Lira's Radio Wa in 2004 and Gulu district's Mega FM.

He was also a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers.

Olaka's journalism focuses on politics, health, agriculture and education. He does a lot of crime reporting too.