By Hannah Marion Namukasa
Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwgo has asked the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) technical wing to halt the impending evictions to stave off the undesired catastrophic consequences.
In a September 2 letter to KCCA Executive Director, Mr Lukwago warned that it will be a glaring breach of law for the physical planning directorate and the building control board to issue demolition orders and approve plans submitted by Makerere University before the Court of Appeal pronounces itself on the matter.
“I am utterly at the way KCCA management team gets embroiled in matters involving flouting of court orders,” wrote Mr Lukwago adding; Makerere University can pursue their appeal and convince the justices to overturn the High Court judgment.”
Mr Lukwago said that matters concerning Katanga Valley land has been a subject of protracted legal battles stretching from 1993 to date.
In 2015, the High Court ruled that the Katanga Valley land was occupied by four family members and their licensees who are now bonafide occupants whose rights are well protected under the laws governing ownership of land.
The four family members are Jonathan Yosamu Masembe, Bulasio Buyisi, George Kalimu and Samalie Nambogga. They were battling with Makerere University and the Commissioner for Land registration over cancellation of their Land titles and ownership of the land by Makerere University.
However, Makerere University has since appealed against the decision faulting the High Court in a matter pending hearing and determination before the Appeal Court.
The Court has since dismissed with costs, an application in which Makerere University had sought injunctive orders against Katanga residents from developing or alienating their bibanja/ banofide tenancies.
In the letter, Mr Lukwago described as irregular and baffling for Makerere University Vice Chancellor Prof Barnabas Nawangwe to write to the office of deputy executive director and not the office of executive director about Katanga land.
“As law abiding citizens, the residents of Katanga took all the necessary steps in line with the Justice Owiny Dollo orders which have never been vacated or overturned by a superior court and proceeded to write to Makerere University proposing an arrangement to pay Busuulu to Makerere University as their Landlord,” reads Mr Lukwago’s letter.
The Lord Mayor’s directive followed complaints by lawyers, Fitz Patrick Furah and Mwesigwa Rukutana representing the residents of Katanga in which they accused KCCA of evicting them from their bonafide land on orders of Makerere University.
According to Mr Lukwago, bonafide occupants or customary tenants have equitable interests in any piece of land in their possession.
“Makerere University has no vacant land in Katanga Valley as alleged by the Vice Chancellor. It therefore follows that since it is all occupied by bonafide occupants or customary tenants, the only remedies available for the university is to either compensate them in order to vacate the land or to persuade them to acquire leasehold or freehold interests,” he said.
On August 11, Prof Nawangwe wrote to various stakeholders on the disputed land inviting them to update them about the university’s planned developments.
According to the letter, Makerere University acquired the land on Block 38 commonly referred to as Lower Katanga and that it was reserved for ‘future developments in line with our motto of building for the future.’
“The university is now ready to embark on some development activities on her land in lower Katanga. I have no doubt that you will be interested in developments at the university,” reads part of the letter addressed to the LC I chairman, Lower Katanga, the chairman Land guardians on Makerere land and the LC3 councillor for representing Wandegeya parish at the division.