By Eddie Ssejjoba
KAMWOKYA - The Kampala Metropolitan Police commander, Andrew Kaweesi Sunday intervened in the eviction and demolition of premises in Kamwokya, a city suburb and arrested local council officials and some police officers behind the incident.
Kaweesi who addressed residents of Kamwokya and apologized to Tereza Nassolo, a widow who owns the disputed land on Plot 493/494 along the Old Kira Road.
Police Commander Andrew Kaweesi arrests a CID officer who was at a meeting at Kamwokya after residents pinned him for behind the demolition of their houses. PHOTO/ Eddie Ssejjoba
This was after hired men armed with machetes and other tools invaded the area at about 2.00am on Friday and razed down several structures and tortured the tenants.
According to testimonies by the victims, the men beat up everyone and tortured the women and children who were sleeping, stole money and phones and injured several people.
They also attempted to strangle Nassolo’s son, Robert Sseguya, who sustained serious injuries and lost money and other property.
Irritated by the incident, Kaweesi ordered for the arrest of the area LC1 chairman, Kabuye Ssebatta who had addressed the meeting but booed by residents for being behind the confusion.
The chairman LC1 Kamwokya, Kabuye Sebatta (left) aboard a police pickup vehicle after his arrest. PHOTO/Eddie Ssejjoba
Kaweesi also ordered for the arrest of two police officers who were in the meeting but pinpointed by residents for taking part and directed for the immediate apprehending of Fred Nyazi, a brother to artiste Bob Wine, who claims ownership of the disputed land.
He said the suspects, together with several others still at large would be investigated and charged with attempted murder, theft, assault and other cases.
Kaweesi also faulted some Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) officials who he said had gone ahead to exchange communications with the landlord without ascertaining ownership of the land.
Kaweesi tours some of the demolished houses in Kamwokya. PHOTO/Eddie Ssejjoba
Some victims pinned Moses K. Atwine, the KCCA director for Physical Planning, who attended the meeting, saying he was aware of the developments surrounding the disputed land.
They claimed that Atwine was aware that Nyanzi’s wife worked with KCCA and most directives originated from his office.
Atwine however denied the claims and told the meeting that KCCA had not participated in the demolition but had written to the Nyanzi advising him to work with the Police to first resolve complaints from the occupants.
He said his office had received letters from the area chairman and Nyanzi complaining that the premises had become a nuisance and the dilapidated structures had become a health risk to the area.
According to the letters read in the meeting, the chairman stated that the dilapidated premises had no sanitary facilities and were harboring criminals but Kaweesi blamed him for conniving with the landlord to evict people despite the police’s advice.
Residents were stunned when Kaweesi said that the commander of the Kampala Metropolitan Police, Kampala East, Siraje Bakaleke had denied signing on a letter authorizing the demolition.
Tereza Nassolo, a resident of the area, explaining her land dispute in a meeting at Kamwokya. PHOTO/Eddie Ssejjoba
Kaweesi read the signed letter in the meeting and promised to investigate its origin.
“The landlord misused some of our police officers who worked under the dark to attack this place; I’m going to deal with all of them but we are very sorry for what happened here,” he said.
He ordered Nassolo to fence the place and directed the police to guard the area as investigations go on, saying the demolition was illegal and did not follow the proper procedures.
“Though this was illegal, the police did not intervene in time although the victims reported to the nearby Kira Road Division police station in time.
"This old lady (Nassolo) has full rights over this land and if the landlord is interested in the land, he must negotiate and compensate her,” he said.