With tones of frustration, they endure lengthy queues on rainy and sunny days, in pursuit of justice. But for all, there is a common name pushing them into a state of being landless; Charles Kyagaba, a name that is featured in land wrangles dating as back as 2001.
Every working day, people from all walks of life gather
at the Land Protection Police Unit in Kibuli waiting to lodge or follow
up on complaints of their land being grabbed by mysterious claimants.
a tone of frustration, they endure lengthy queues on rainy and sunny
days, in pursuit of justice. But for all, there is a common name pushing
them into a state of being landless; Charles Kyagaba, a name that is
featured in land wrangles dating as back as 2001.
But many of the complainants
do not know how Kyagaba became an interested party on their land, yet his name does not feature anywhere, at
the time of buying or selling the land, or even in documents older than Uganda’s
In fact, some have been sued by
mysterious people, only to find out that the same Kyagaba is claiming
ownership of their land. Even those who have won the court cases have
not been able to utilize the land as more and more lawsuits and police
cases keep coming up. While Police officers label him a mercenary, the
victims say that Kyagaba is larger than the state.
Landowners and buyers are
puzzled over the same person and how he has acquired land, and it's on the basis of this that the Inspector-General of Police
–IGP Martin Ochola, ordered a comprehensive investigation against Kyagaba in
April. The outcomes indicate that Kyagaba is an ‘available for hire' land
reports explain that Kyagaba uses
mysterious people to open cases at police stations, secure court
injunctions and file lawsuits on land that has been or is being sold. He
then creates ‘ghost’ tenants
commonly known as Bibanja holders.
Mutungi, the commandant of Land Protection Police Unit, Detective Senior Superintendent of Police
Mirondo Fred Paul and Detective Assistant Inspector of Police Andama
Joseph all describe Kyagaba as a person who consistently creates
non-existing claimants or in some cases hires people to claim interest on land
whose location and boundaries they don’t even know.
Uganda Radio Network –URN that at first, they thought Kyagaba was a genuine claimant
until several complaints kept piling; all pointing at him. Police say Kyagaba
hires people as far as Mubende district to come and claim the land in Kampala.
people. The claimants are never seen in some cases but he succeeds in securing
court injunctions. During our investigations, we summon people or go to the
ground but the claimants do not exist. He explores the loophole that magistrates
or judges do not go on the ground while giving orders. Many people are
suffering from non-existing claimants,” Mutungi explains.
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is a conman…
a landlord in Kampala explains that he has been suffering since 2012
with 1.5 acres of land he leased for 49 years from the Kampala
Archdiocese. He paid a premium of
165 million Shillings with a ground rent of 3.3 million Shillings for
At the time of
securing a lease, the land on block 419-420 plot 793 at Kisubi was being
used by the
Brothers of St Amans. But Bukenya compensated the Amans with 20 million
Shillings for the sweet potatoes, cassava and banana plants which were
crop garden at Kisubi-Kawuku and the compensation was acknowledged by Fr
Charles M Kimbowa who was the director.
planned to set up a structure to utilize the land, he saw a court order stopping
his activities because he had not compensated one Annet Nalweyiso. Upon
consulting Kampala Archdioceses, he was informed by the Catholic Land Board that
Nalweyiso has never been a Kibanja holder but was just a daughter to one of the
investigated with the church, we noticed that Nalweyiso is a daughter to
a former Church worker and she was married in Mubende district. Kyagaba
Nalweyiso and we took her there with the police to show us her land, but
surprise, she didn’t even know where the land starts and ends,” Bukenya
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Cue out…show up.”//
seen by URN signed by late Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, Msgr Charles Kasibante
and Msgr Charles Kato all indicate Nalweyiso was a daughter to a Church worker and
she had left the place several years ago.
a son of one Koseya Buule, has been fighting to rescue the family’s three acres of land for
17-years. Trouble started when Buule verbally leased an acre of land to
Gabudyeri Minani in the 1990s. But Minani later shifted to Kiboga district and returned
to the same piece of land after nine years.
documents show that Minani had asked for 2.7 million Shillings as compensation in 2004. Buule
did not have the money in cash and he asked for three months to get it. When the
money was got, Buule called Minani to pick it. But Buule Minani
said he had given the land to his children among them Charles Kyagaba.
court redress and he won the case against Kyagaba since he fronted himself and
Minani did not appear throughout the trial. But Kyagaba immediately
fronted Specioza Nalukwago as another daughter to Minani also claiming
The Buule family has won four court cases against Kyagaba but
he keeps fronting other claimants and has used the endless court process to
grab more acres from Buule’s land located at Namulanda in Wakiso district.
“Kyagaba is a mercenary and has entrenched security and court systems. There is no police
station where you can report him and he gets arrested. He even laughs at us who
report him. Before grabbing two more acres from us, he called me and asked to
give him half an acre so that he could leave us. We refused and he warned us
that he was to take it for free. Indeed, he has succeeded because the courts have
not helped us,” Kizito said.
//Cue in; “twategeera
URN has seen
letters that Kyagaba secured from the State House Anti Corruption Unit- commanded by Col Edith Nakalema,
through one Nathan Bwoogi, the legal officer to allegedly frustrate Bukenya, among others.
Apart from Bwoogi, an Assistant Superintendent of Police who was Officer
Incharge CID at one of the police stations in Kampala where the majority
of the complaints come from verbally petitioned CID for protection from his senior at the rank of Assistant Commissioner of
Police. He said he was being witch-hunted for attempting to prosecute
Another ACP who
also conducted an independent report about Kyagaba was shocked when he found
him in a meeting with his immediate boss who is at the rank of Commissioner of
Police –CP. The ACP decided to keep the report to himself because Kyagaba even
smiled at him and signalled to him that he was more clever than he thought. Three months
ago, the ASP and ACP were transferred from the Kampala Metropolitan Policing Area.
“Kyagaba is a
daring man. When you get him in all corners, he resorts to threatening you. He
has sent me threats of intention to sue but I am not scared. Kyagaba is
everywhere. People are suffering because of court orders from people they don’t
know,” Mutungi said.
//Cue in; “when I get…
Records show that
all cases of
criminal trespass, malicious damage to property and theft that were
filed against him have failed to succeed. CID also has several files of
people accusing him of grievous harm, destruction of
property but those cases have not gone beyond past DPP’s
Some of the other
victims include Shamim Namale whose land is in Ggaba, Beatrice Mpamize and
Reuben Musiime. URN has seen several petitions to RDCs, DPCs, RPCs, CID, State
House and IGP but nothing much has been done to stop Kyagaba.
The minute facts available show that Kyagaba started as Bibanja Holders
Rights Defender. But police
investigations say he creates the Bibanja holders because when he grabs
he sells it to low-income earners in very small pieces of about 20 by 30
ft, 25 by
30 ft and 50 by 50ft. Such people who buy unknowingly are the ones he
uses as interested parties whenever there is a case. He has also
contested twice for the Busiro South Parliamentary sear on the
Democratic Party ticket but lost both in 2011 and 2016.
URN did not
succeed in getting a comment from Kyagaba as his known telephone number was off.
Joseph Kato is currently a Master's candidate at Makerere University. He holds a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communication from Kampala International University, a Diploma in Journalism and he's also a graduate in Guidance and Counseling.