KAMPALA: A month after Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) Corporal held the Land Commission of Inquiry Chairperson and Commissioners at gunpoint as they visited a locus in quo on Mutungo Hill, the army is yet to take any punitive action.
No 095301, Corporal Julius Katuriba, attached to External Security Organisation (ESO) held Justice Catherine Bamugemereire and Commissioners Joyce Habasa, Dr Rose Nakayi and Fredrick Ruhindi at gun point and ordered them and other people including journalists to move away from the quarter guard of a residential building he was guarding.
“ Nyinyi, mutoke hapa maramoja. Sitaki kuona mutu hapa saa hii” he said in Kiswahili. Meaning, can all of you go away from here. I don’t want to see anybody here.
Efforts to have a comment from the UPDF spokesperson Brigadier Richard Karemire was futile as his phone was off and did not reply an email.
The Land Commission of Inquiry Chairperson, Commissioners, journalists and residents were inspecting the land in contention on Mutungo hill in Luzira. Mutungo, the prime Kampala, hill, is hostage to a number of court cases and Land Commission of Inquiry hearings. It has also become hostage to development and occupation.
Three families, namely Prince David Kintu Wasajja, Sir Edward Mutesa II’s youngest son, retired Dr Muhammad Kasasa and former Amd Maurice kagimu Kiwanuka, son of the late Benedicto Kiwanuka, Uganda’s first chief justice are embroiled in an argument on the ownership of the Mutungo Hill land.
The trio are all giving their testimonies on the matter before the Land Commission of Inquiry
Earlier, during the locus in quo, the Land Commission of Inquiry Chairperson, Commissioners and Lead Counsels, had met with the residents of Mutungo in Kiduuka Zone, where the residents presented their grievances. After meeting the team proceeded to the field to inspect boundaries the land in contention when they were confronted by a gun wielding UPDF officer who said he was working under orders not to allow anybody within the premises he was guarding.
The house on Natasha Road, Mutungo Hill the UPDF soldier was guarding, reportedly belongs to Natasha Museveni Karugire, daughter of President Yoweri Museveni
After pleading with the UPDF Corporal in vain to allow them talk to somebody in charge of the premises, the Land Commission of Inquiry Chairperson, Justice Bamugemereire implored the UPDF Corporal to let them continue with their inspection. It was at this time that the fracas went to another higher level.
On seeing that the number of people on the locus was increasing, the UPDF moved aside towards the entrance to the building at the extreme top of Mutungo hill and help the team at gunpoint.“Can all of you go away from here….” The visibly nervous UPDF Corporal kept shouting as he held his gun. At this point, he didn’t want to see anybody moving towards him to plead.
All the four senior police officers from the ranks of Assistant Senior Superintendent (ASP), Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) and Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) who were assigned to the Locus by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), scampered and ran away leaving the Justice Bamugemereire alone as she talked to the UPDF Corporal.
“Let’s go away, tell the Judge to come back and we go away. It’s becoming bloody now” one senior police officer said as he scampered.
“How can our bosses run away instead of giving us orders to disarm this soldier?” one junior officer said. “We have taken too long with this Corporal. We need to act now” one junior officer said as they moved to confront the UPDF soldier.
Indeed, in a twinkle of an eye, one officer had grabbed the barrel of the UPDF soldier’s gun and removed the gun’s magazine where bullets are loaded from.
“Lock your safety catch, …lock your safety catch…” other junior officer kept shouting at the UPDF soldier who had by now been disabled.
“Why do you shout at people. Which country are you guarding?” Justice Bamugemereire asked the UPDF corporal.
“You are in very big trouble because you have caused an impasse, This country is called Uganda, you are a member of the UPDF. I am going to call your bosses, ESO, UPDF Chief and others. They will come and tell us why you took a gun and wanted to shoot at my people” Justice Bamugemereire said amidst the uncontrollably hot sun heat.
In the case under contention, the three families are accusing each other seeking ownership of the land. Prince David Kintu Wasajja has accused , the late Benedict Kiwanuka, and founder of Uganda National Congress Joseph Kiwanuka of grabbing his father’s land, Sir Edward Mutesa II’s in Mutungo, a Kampala suburb on Old Port Bell Road, Luzira.
Prince Wasajja, in his testimony, told the land probe chaired by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire that the late Kiwanuka was a shareholder in a company that wound business called Lake View Properties, which mortgaged the disputed land to a bank in 1972. He stated that the late Kiwanuka together with former Band of Uganda Governor, late Joseph Mubiru, Lawrence Ssebalu, Joseph Mary Balimu Musenze Kiwanuka and Charles Semanda Mukasa, were all directors in the same company. They reportedly grabbed the land in 1968, mortgaged it to a bank, but when they failed to pay the bank, they sold the land to Dr Muhammad Bawule Kasasa. Dr Kasasa, in his statement, claims that he bought this land from Princess Nnalinya Mpologoma. Maurice Kagimu Kiwanuka, has also come up saying his late father, Benedicto Kiwanuka, did not steal or grab the land. That he bought it genuinely. Kagimu contends that he wants the land to revert back to his father. The hearing continues.