The KCCA technical wing has been ordered by Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago to stop Makerere University from evicting people in Katanga from disputed land.
Residents of Katanga Valley are facing displacement when it was announced that the disputed 37 acres of land in Katanga Valley would be developed.
However, in a letter to the KCCA Executive Director dated September 2, Lukwago claims that he has received complaints from lawyers working on behalf of Pastor Daniel Walugembe and the area LC1 chairman, alleging that an impending eviction affecting over 50000 persons from the disputed territory.
He claims that a long-running legal struggle, dating back to 1993, is currently before the Court of Appeal.
The physical planning directorate and the building control board, according to Lukwago, will be breaking the law if they issue demolition orders and approve Makerere University’s plans before the Court of Appeal rules on the subject.
“I am appalled at how the KCCA management team gets involved in instances involving court orders being disobeyed. In the letter, Lukwago claims that Makerere University can pursue their appeal and persuade the judges to overturn the High Court verdict.
According to Lukwago, disputes over Katanga Valley land have been the subject of protracted judicial fights dating back to 1993.
The Katanga Valley land was occupied by four family members and their licensees in 2015, according to the High Court, who are now bona fide occupants whose rights are properly protected under land ownership regulations.
Jonathan Yosamu Masembe, Bulasio Buyisi, George Kalimu, and Samalie Nambogga are the four members of the Masembe family. They were in a legal battle with Makerere University and the Commissioner for Land Registration regarding the cancellation of their land titles and the university’s ownership of the land.
Makerere University, on the other hand, has filed an appeal against the verdict, blaming the High Court in a case that is currently being heard and decided by the Appeal Court.
Makerere University had sought injunctive orders prohibiting Katanga people from developing or alienating their bibanja/bonafide tenancies, which the Court had dismissed with costs.
The status quo should be maintained until the dispute is resolved in court, according to Lukwago, who also advised the KCCA against permitting residents to be evicted from the contested area.
“As law-abiding citizens, Katanga residents took all necessary steps in accordance with Justice Owiny Dollo’s 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,” he says.
Lukwago writes in the letter that traditional tenants have equitable interests in any piece of land in their possession under the law, and that the tenants cannot be evicted until the matter at the Court of Appeal is resolved.
“As the Vice Chancellor claims, Makerere University has no vacant land in Katanga Valley. As a result, because it is all occupied by bona fide inhabitants or customary tenants, the university’s only options are to compensate them in order for them to quit the land or encourage them to acquire leasehold or freehold interests,” he explained.
Prof Barnabas Nawangwe, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University, wrote to several parties on the disputed site on August 11th, urging them to update them on the university’s planned developments.
In the letter, Nawangwe explained that Makerere University had purchased land on Block 38, also known as Lower Katanga, and that it will be used for “future developments in line with our ethos of building for the future.”
He stated that the university is now ready to begin developing the area, which meant that the current occupants would be evacuated.