Katanga Land Wrangles: KCCA loses first round of the battle against 50,000 Bibanja owners

Date: 2022-03-27

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 application.


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 Alum ruled.


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 rendered homeless.


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 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.


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 Kakeeto. 


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.


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