Tooro Elders Petition Land Probe over Govt, Kemigisa Deal

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In short
The petition, dated May 9, is signed by Professor Edward Rugumayo, the Chairperson of Tooro Elders Forum and addressed to Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, the chairperson of the commission.

The Tooro Elders Forum has petitioned the Land Inquiry Commission to investigate a land transaction between government and Tooro Queen Mother Best Kemigisa.

In 2008, the government bought 9,121 acres of land from Kemigisa in her capacity as the registered administrator of the estate of the late King of Tooro Patrick Olimi Kaboyo. The land located in Kibiito Sub County cost 4.5 Billion Shillings. 

But the elders argue that the transaction was shrouded in controversy since some of the land that was sold to government belonged to individuals and not Kemigisa. The forum also notes that since 2008, the occupants on the land have never been notified about the transaction and the government has not yet started transferring the land to the squatters.

Their petition, dated May 9, is signed by Professor Edward Rugumayo, the Chairperson of Tooro Elders Forum and addressed to Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, the chairperson of the commission.

"We appeal to your commission to investigate the controversial land deal between the government and Queen Mother Best Kemigisa. Part of the land that was bought did not belong to the seller, reads part of the petition.

Last year, President Museveni appointed Court of Appeal judge, Catherine Bamugemereire to head the seven-man committee to probe into land matters that have become highly controversial in the country. The Commission is also expected to inquire into the effectiveness of laws, policies and processes of land acquisition, land administration, land management and land registration in the country.

The deal has in the past been criticized by the Auditor General and Members of Parliament.

In 2009, Auditor General John Muwanga told parliament that the land was bought unclear circumstances. Muwanga also questioned the failure by the Queen Mother to pay withholding tax of 6 per cent (202 million Shillings) from the money she received as required by the income tax law.

The then Public Accounts Committee Chairman Nathan Nandala Mafabi said the transaction was suspicious and as a committee they would demand for all the details of the deal. However the then Lands Minister Omara Atubo said the land was bought to stop an impending eviction.

The elders forum also wants the commission to investigate the illegal occupancy of land belonging to Stephen Irumba, the former Premier Tooro Kingdom. The land worth 200 acres located in Kyegegwa District, was in January turned into a refugee settlement by the Office of the Prime Minister.  

 

About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.