Katanga Land Wrangles: KCCA loses first round of the battle against 50,000 Bibanja owners
By Nabirye Edith
Kampala Capital City Authority KCCA
has lost the first round of the battle to evict of 50,000 Bibanja owners after High
Court civil division in Kampala has halted its plans to demolish buildings on
Katanga Valley land near Wandegeya.
The interim restraining order was
issued on Friday, bars KCCA and its
deputy Executive Director, Eng David Luyimbazi from implementing their plans up
to a 4th April, 2022 when court will reconvene to hear the
In his petition City Pastor Daniel
Walugembe of the Eternal Life Gospel Church told court that the buildings which
the KCCA intends to demolish are occupied by more than 50,000 bibanja holders
in Busia and Kimwanyi Zones in Katanga Valley.
The order was issued in the presence
of Brian Rubaihayo the lawyer representing Pastor Daniel Walugembe as well as
Ms Rita Mutuwa who represented KCCA and Eng Luyimbazi.
“An order restraining the
respondents, their employees, subordinates, agents, successors in office,
assignees or any other person acting in their stead or claiming under them from
demolishing/ removing structures and buildings,” Assistant registrar, Ms Agnes
The court order followed an
application in which the city pastor (Walugembe) is challenging the planned
demolition of the buildings on Katanga Valley land saying that the said
structures are a source of livelihood to more than 50000 residents who will be
Walugembe is one of the 50,000
Kibanja holders who are embroiled in protracted legal battle with Makerere
University over Katanga valley land.
In 2015, the then high court Judge
Alphose Owiny Dollo 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
However, Makerere University has
since appealed against the decision faulting the High Court in a matter pending
hearing and determination before the Appeal Court.
Through his lawyers of Mwesigwa
Rukutana and Advocates, Pastor Walugembe contends that KCCA and Eng Luyimbazi
have on several occasions organized meetings and hatched out malicious and
illegal plans on how to demolish his structures.
Court records show that on
March 18 to 20, KCCA deployed its enforcement officers to survey the suit
properties to come up with a plan on how to carry out the demolition which was
slated for March 21 to 24.
“The structures and buildings that
the respondents (KCCA) intend to demolish have been in existence since 1997 and
I acquired them for value from my predecessors in title. The first respondent
(KCCA) has for a long time been collecting property tax from me in respect to
the suit buildings,” Pr Walugembe states in the sworn statement.
According to the court records, upon
realizing the difficulty in legally challenging the interests of the 50,000
occupants among them, Pastor Walugembe, Makerere University resorted to opening
up malicious criminal charges against him in order to arrest him and evict him
from the disputed buildings.
In the affidavit, Pr Walugembe
states that on August 12 last year, the vice chancellor of Makerere university,
Prof Barnabas Nawangwe wrote a letter to Eng Luyimbazi falsely alleging that
there was an ongoing illegal construction and that the same was copied to the
Director in charge of Estates and Works at Makerere, Eng Christina
He states that Eng Kakeeto is the wife
of Eng Luyimbazi. “Without issuing notices to me as required by law, the
physical planning committee under the direct influence of the 2nd defendant
(Luyimbazi) took a decision to demolish my property without according me a
right to be heard,” Pastor Walugembe complains.