Breaking

Prof. Nawangwe Warns Over Katanga Land

Muhumuza says to date it is unclear to the University council whether or not the criminal summon were intended to intimidate and terrorize the person of the Vice Chancellor and or the rest of the university management and council from fighting the land grabbing.
A rare view of Katanga Land currently occupied by hundreds of squatters with makeshift shelters. It has grown into one of the biggest slums in Kampala.

Audio 1

Makerere University has resumed its battle to regain the disputed Katanga land measuring 37 acres. The university has petitioned the Justice Catherine Bamugemereire Land Commission for intervention despite the fact that the matter is before the court of appeal. In 2015, the then High Court Judge, Alfonse Owiny-Dollo held that the settlers on the disputed land are bonafide occupants.

 

In its petition, Makerere University wants the Bamugemereire Commission to establish the circumstances under which, the affected people settled on the disputed land. 

The University Secretary, Charles Barugahare, says "Council resolved that we write to the Justice Bamugemereire Commission and we are following up because the Commission hasn't scheduled to meet us.” Adding that, "But we are also in touch with the Police Land Protection Unit and engagements are on but they have not given us feedback yet."

 

 

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the Makerere University Vice Chancellor, says the squatters settled on the land because the university failed to develop it. He cautions those occupying the university land illegally to vacate it.

 

//Cue in: "All those who…

Cue out: …pack up and leave."//

How Makerere University acquired Katanga land

 

 

In 1943, the colonial government allocated part of Katanga valley to Makerere University. The university has a title under Freehold Volume 59 Folio 20.  The land borders Mulago National Referral Hospital and Wandegeya town. It comprises plot 1-47 North Kitante Road in Kampala.

 

However, the Senior Legal Officer Makerere University, says some unscrupulous people started settling on the land sometime in 1990. He claims that the settlers connived with in the Registry of Titles who created ‘fictitious' Mailo Titles and superimposed them on the freehold land owned by the university.

 

 

In his August 9, 2017, letter, Cannon Muhumuza contends that the university land under question titled Kibuga Block 38 Plot numbers 387, 388, 394, 395, 396, 397, 402, 403, 507, 508, 509 and 510 was illegally taken over fraudsters. He says the fraudsters allegedly transferred the purported Plot Numbers 397 and 402 to St. Mark Educational Centre Ltd and Hussein Muhammed respectively and forcefully took possession of part of the University land and commenced with the construction of semi-permanent structures. 

Cannon Muhumuza explains that in 1993, the university successfully sued the trespassers. High Court ordered the cancellation of the Mailo titles and ordered that the defendants be evicted from the said land. He explains that following the Judgment, the then Commissioner Land Registration, and Jonathan Tibisaasa cancelled the rest of the "fictitious" Mailo Titles through a memorandum dated July 8, 1993.  

 

 

Cannon Muhumuza however notes that in 2000, Jonathan Masembe, G. Kalimu, Bulasiyo Buyisi and Samalie Nambogo instituted a High Court Suit No. 857 of 2000 against the university, the Attorney General and the Chief Registrar of Titles protesting the cancellation of their titles. They also filed a Miscellaneous Application No. 1000 of 2000 for stay of execution pending the hearing and disposal of their objection proceedings.

 

Court dismissed the application with costs on February 27th 2007.  As a result, Makerere University contracted court bailiffs to evict the settlers and handed over the land to the university. "No further complaints were raised by any other person about the said execution,” Muhumuza notes. He explains that Wandegeya Police Station advised the university to erect uniports for security personnel on the site and fence off the land. 

"Indeed two Uniports were bought and fixed on the land and the land fenced. To our surprise, the Uniports were removed by unknown people, the fence destroyed and poles and wires taken during the night," Muhumuza told URN. Adding that; "the boundary pillars, which were put by the university in the early 1960s around Katanga Land with Makerere University colors were also removed."  

He says that they were shocked to learn on July 17th 2010 that some people had poured construction materials on the disputed land the previous night and started erecting illegal structures throughout the night under the protection of armed men.  "The criminal trespass was immediately reported by the Management of the University at Wandegeya Police Station under SD56/15/2010. To date nothing has been done,” he said.

On July 19th 2010, Makerere University management convened a press conference and led by the then acting Vice Chancellor, Prof. Venansious Baryamureeba and the chief security officer. They proceeded to the University land at Katanga to establish the extent of the land grabbing. "When the team reached the university land at Katanga, very many people around the land gathered, police arrested the persons found constructing buildings on the land and ordered that the building materials be transferred to Wandegeya Police Station," Muhumuza said. 

He says the university offered police a University Vehicle to carry the materials to the Police station as the crowd that had gathered started demolishing the structures on the university land. Muhumuza says that since the demolition was done in the presence of the media, police preferred criminal charges against the vice chancellor. He was served with criminal summons vide cause no. 578 of 2010 of Buganda Road Court asking to appear Buganda Road Court on 3rd August 2010 to answer charges of malicious damage to property and theft of timber and iron bars.

He however, says the Director Public Prosecutions (DPP) took over the case with a view of studying the files and advising the Court on whether or not the acting Vice Chancellor could be personally prosecuted for attempts to defend and protect the University Property and whether Makerere University Council could be lawfully prosecuted for defending its property. 

Muhumuza says to date it is unclear to the University council whether or not the criminal summon were intended to intimidate and terrorize the person of the Vice Chancellor and or the rest of the university management and council from fighting the land grabbing. 

On July 27th 2015, the then High Court Judge, Alfonse Owiny-Dollo held that; "the fraudulent titles were rightfully/ lawfully cancelled by the acting Commission for Land Registration but in a twist of events further held that the fraudsters and their tenants were bonafide occupants of the university land in Katanga," Muhumuza said. 

He says although the matter is before the Court of Appeal, the Justice Bamugemeirere Land Commission should interest itself in the matter to understand how the fraudsters took over university land. "Makerere University is very concerned about these constant developments, which apparently seem to go on unchecked by the relevant bodies that are mandated to provide security or protect property," Muhumuza said.

The university is also concerned that even after reporting the land grabbing to the various authorities through letters and physically visiting Wandegeya Police Station to record statements, nothing has been done. 

"To our big surprise and concern, to date nothing has been done to investigate and or apprehend the trespassers, by some of the government organs such as Police Land Protection Unit," Muhumuza stated. Adding that; "Instead our staff continues to be threatened by the trespassers and their accomplices."