14 families in crisis after ‘buying air’
Aug 13, 2022
Lugazi municipality mayor John Bosco Onzuma Aseya said the residents ‘bought air’ since the land that they are claiming was a public road and belongs to Lugazi municipal council and the council is planning to re-construct it again.
Affected residents and area leaders inspecting the land at the centre of dispute. Photo by Emmanuel Balukusa
A total of 14 families in Kitega cell, Butinindi ward, Kawolo division in Lugazi municipality, Buikwe district are in panic after discovering that they ‘bought air’ from Peter Sserwadda, a landlord.
Mark Babalanda, one of the residents on the land, said he bought his plot of land from Sserwadda, who used their village chairperson, Vincent Katumba and defence secretary Swaibu Mubiru as his agents.
Babalanda said the duo (Katumba and Mubiru) was collecting the money, writing and giving them land purchase agreements. However, Babalanda said he was stopped from developing it after he delivered construction materials there in 2019.
Babalanda is among the many victims, who testified during a meeting with the district leaders, headed by Buikwe LC5 chairperson Jimmy Kanaabi and Lugazi Municipality MP Stephen Sserubula on Tuesday.
The team first toured and inspected the land at the centre of the dispute.
Reports indicate that problems started when Nimrod Basiga, who is also a landlord in the same area, stopped Sserwadda from using the land.
Raymond Wamanga, another victim on the same land, explained he bought the plot four years ago from Sserwadda, but is now battling Basiga in court over accusations of trespass.
Area councillor Jumah Kisuule, said all the conflicts on the said land were caused by Katumba and Mubiru after the duo allegedly abandoned their duty of serving the community and resorted to land deals.
While addressing residents, Lugazi municipality mayor John Bosco Onzuma Aseya said the residents ‘bought air’ since the land that they are claiming was a public road and belongs to Lugazi municipal council and the council is planning to re-construct it again.
Uganda Railways Corporation
Basiga’s wife, Sarah, said the land belonged to the Uganda Railways Corporation.
Buikwe district surveyor Cissy Nakato also confirmed the conflicts on the land, saying that the two landlords approached her office over the land conflict.
Nakato said she directed them to undertake a joint survey to determine the boundaries of their respective land.
However, the landlords are yet to carry out the surveyor’s directive. She added that the area where the houses were constructed was part of a public road.
Sserubula, said the land was initially a public road, but some people illegally took possession of it and sold it to the victims.
He called for the residents to be compensated by Sserwadda.
Kanaabi, said the 14 families bought the land from Sserwadda.
He added that they had also commenced investigations into finding out the rightful owner of the land since three parties: Sserwadda, Basiga and Lugazi municipal council all claim the same land.
Kanaabi said the victims would be compensated if they discovered that Sserwadda illegally sold the land to them.
When contacted, Sserwadda declined to speak out, saying that he could not comment on the matter via the telephone.