Breaking

Construction of New Kabarole District Headquarters Hangs in Balance over Land Dispute

According to the Tooro Kingdom Lands Minister, Polly Kateeba, the structures working as Busoro Sub County headquarters also belonged to Tooro Kingdom before the abolition of kingdoms in 1967. Kateeba notes that they are not trying to stop the district from constructing on the land but they first want the district leaders to formally acknowledge that the land is for the kingdom and not for central government.
Busoro Sub county headquarters are on the same land.

Audio 2

The construction of the new Kabarole district headquarters is hanging in balance over a land wrangle between the district and the Tooro Kingdom.

When Fort Portal municipality was elevated to the city in July last year, it becomes autonomous and was no longer under the Kabarole district. This also meant that Kabarole leadership had to shift the district headquarters that are now in Kitumba ward, Central Division in Fort Portal to another place outside the city.

The district leadership led by the Chairperson LCV Richard Rwabuhinga chose Busoro Sub County as a place where the new district headquarters should be constructed.

However, the Tooro kingdom administration has come up to halt the demarcation process, saying the land belongs to the kingdom and that the district leaders with the Ministry of Local Government should seek their permission first and agree on compensation. 

The land in question measures 49 hectares and has the Busoro Sub County headquarters and kingdom subjects on it. 

According to the Tooro Kingdom Lands Minister, Polly Kateeba, the structures housing Busoro Sub County headquarters also belonged to Tooro Kingdom before the abolition of kingdoms in 1967.

Kateeba notes that they are not trying to stop the district from constructing on the land but they first want the district leaders to formally acknowledge that the land is for the kingdom and not for the central government. 

He says that even though the kingdom does not have a title for the land, it is among the known assets that they are demanding from the central government.

//Cue in: “All these properties…

Cue out… since that time.”//

However, Rwabuhinga argues that the land has been in their hands for a long time as bonafide occupants and they are ready to go on with their plan of constructing the district headquarters.

//Cue in: “We are the…

Cue out… district land.”// 

Last Friday, the Kingdom officials led by Kateeba were scheduled to meet the Local Government Minister, Raphael Magyezi, at the current Kabarole district headquarters in Kitumba. However, the minister delayed to arrive and Kateeba with his team left the place in protest. 

Kateeba says he could not wait for the minister for the whole day yet as kingdom officials, they had not even been welcomed at the venue and no one reportedly recognized their presence. 

Even though the kingdom officials left, Magyezi later turned up and went to Busoro with Rwabuhinga where he directed that no developments should take place on the land until the issues are resolved.  

Kateeba, however, says that they never got any formal communication about this and is now waiting for a time when they meet the minister. He also insists that he will not relent on the issue and the headquarters will not be constructed until the issue is fully resolved. 

The clash between the district and the kingdom has already attracted public attention and now some people say it would not do any hard if the district leaders negotiated with the kingdom, just as other districts have done before.

In February, the Bunyangabu Chief Administrative Officer, Stephen Oloya, wrote asking for a dialogue meeting with Kateeba to allow the construction of the Justice, Law and Order officer on kingdom land. The permission was granted after the meeting. 

Land disputes between Tooro Kingdom and local governments are not new. In 2018, the Kingdom reclaimed ownership of land in Nyancwamba Sub County in Kamwenge district and forced the relocation of the Sub County headquarters. The land was measuring 175 acres. 

Currently, the government is in the final stages of returning the Tooro kingdom assets after protracted negotiations between the two parties. The assets include land, county and sub-county headquarters that were forcefully taken over by the central government when then-President Milton Obote abolished traditional institutions and made Uganda a republic.   

The assets are found in Kabarole, Kamwenge, Kyenjojo and Kyegegwa districts. Tooro Kingdom also has assets in Kasese and Bundibugyo districts, which were formerly under its jurisdiction.  

      

Images 1