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February 21, 2024
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Katanga Land Wrangles: Makerere University defies court orders, Demolishes Structures

By Kabuye Ronald

Makerere University officials and the police have been accused of demolishing structures on the disputed Katanga land in violation of a High Court order.

It is alleged that in the early morning hours of Thursday, a group of people commanded by Makerere University Security Officer, Ivan Tenywa while guarded by armed men, attacked and demolished structures in Busia Zone, Wandegeya Parish.

Residents and their leaders said that the attackers stole property which included a wire mesh, iron bars, Concrete poles, iron sheets in the midnight action in violation of court orders.

Abdu Ssekajja, a local area leader in Busia Zone appealed to authorities to intervene to compel Makerere University and its agents to abide by the court order and desist from exercising impunity because the attackers were guarded by men in army uniform.

He said that the attackers destroyed a fence and a garage and stole the items which affected peoples’ businesses in the area.

In March this year, the High Court issued a temporary order stopping any government employees from evicting more than 50,000 occupants, among them Pastor Daniel Walugembe on Katanga land near Wandegeya until the final disposal of the main case.

The court also halted any criminal investigations against Pastor Walugembe in respect to the dispute over Katanga land and also stopped the government agencies from interfering with any developments on the land in dispute.

The court order was issued against the Attorney General, the director of criminal investigations, the commandant of the land protection unit of the Police, and the Police.

Pastor Daniel Walugembe protested against the demolition saying that it is an act of impunity by government agents taking the law in their hands.

“We have instructed our lawyers to institute both criminal and civil proceedings against any institution behind these demolitions and individuals because this is contempt of court,” said Pastor Walugembe.

He added that cases of malicious damage to property, theft, criminal trespass and abduction of our guards shall be opened against any perpetrators of the demolition

According to Pastor Walugembe, the demolition was done in contravention of the laws and procedures in the country that bar anybody from evicting people at night.

Thomas Bagonza, the area councilor at Kawempe Division condemned the demolition saying that the act amounts to violence and disrespecting the laws by the government agents.

“We have the numbers for revenge but we are going to take legal action against anyone in this case. We were declared bonafide lawful occupants and the decision of the court has never been overturned but instead it is being infringed,” Mr Bagonza said.

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, Blasio Buyisi, George Kalimu and Samalie Nambogga. They are battling with Makerere University and the Commissioner Land Registration over cancellation of their land titles and ownership of the land by Makerere.

In April this year, the court stopped Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) from demolishing structures on Katanga land until determination of pending disputes.

The order was issued against KCCA and its deputy executive director, Eng David Luyimbazi.

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