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Kyegegwa Struggles with Court Cases Due to Lack Land Titles

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As a result, some people have now run to court claiming ownership for some of the land hosting government installations. For instance, in Hapuuyo Town Council, Rose Mbabazi is claiming ownership of seven hectares of the 650 hectares of government land that was initially under the ownership of Tooro Kingdom.
26 Jun 2019 16:06
Court has issued an injunction stopping Hapuuyo Town Council authorities from operarting this market because the ownership of the land where it is located is being questioned

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Kyegegwa District authorities are struggling with court cases arising out of the failure to secure titles for government land. 

In his 2018 report, the Auditor General John Muwanga noted that Kyegegwa lacks 19 titles for key government installations including the district headquarters, several parishes, sub-counties, town councils, schools and markets among others.

As a result, some people have now run to court claiming ownership for some of the land hosting government installations. For instance, in Hapuuyo Town Council, Rose Mbabazi is claiming ownership of seven hectares of the 650 hectares of government land that was initially under the ownership of Tooro Kingdom.

She has already secured an injunction from Kyegegwa grade one Magistrate’s court stopping the town council from operating a market and an abattoir on the land.  Godfrey Mugisa, the Town Clerk Hapuuyo Town Council, says Mbabazi claims the land belongs to her family and has already planted maize on it even when the court is yet to decide the ownership.

Mugisa says the injunction means that they will no longer get revenue from the market and the abattoir, which is likely to affect service delivery.

//Cue in; “Itwe kale nka…

Cue out… mu Katente Court.”// 

Rahel Komuhendo, the Hapuuyo Sub County Chief notes that when the issue got to court, she decided to look for the title of the land. She discloses that during her search, she found that the land has a title in the name of the Tooro Kingdom dated December 17, 1929. 

She, however, says ownership changed to Uganda Land Commission with the abolition of kingdoms in the 1960s. Komuhendo says that winning the court case will require changing the ownership of the land to Kyegegwa District Local Government, a process she says will need some time.

But she notes that the case has since proved so expensive as they pay the lawyer over Shillings 650,000 monthly for his services.   Efforts to get a comment from Mbabazi have been futile as her known contact couldn’t go through.   

In Dere Village in Kasule Sub County, a businessman only identified as Katusabe has already won a court case of land that was initially thought to belong to the government.  The land measures 8 hectares and hosts a community borehole.

Swaibu Barekye, the Kasule Sub County LC III Chairperson, says the land had never been claimed by any person for all the time it has existed. He recalls that in 2002, it was used to graze animals supplied by the government under the nutrition program.

He, however, says because they don’t have a title for it, the court ruled in favour of Katusabe. The Dere village LC I chairman, Julius Mugisa, has been ordered to pay 3 million Shillings as costs incurred by the applicant.

Efforts to get Mugisa for details about this case have also been futile as his known phone contact was unavailable. According to the Auditor General’s report, the district has several pieces of land that not only lack titles but are also unsurveyed.  

He cited examples that include Kijuma parish headquarters land that measures 7 acres but is not surveyed, the 4 acres of iringa parish headquarters that are also not surveyed and the Nkakwa parish headquarters land that measures 10 acres.

John Kisoke, the Kyegegwa LCV chairman, says they also wish to survey government lands but are constrained by the lack of finances.  However, he notes that for surveyed land, they are going to hunt for the land titles from wherever they are so that they start reclaiming the land with evidence.