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Idle land whets appetite of land grabbers

By Andante Okanya, Edward Anyoli

Added 1st October 2019 12:37 PM

On Monday, Opio told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters, that grabbers fancy their chances of taking land, after monitoring and confirming that it is unutilised.

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Commissioner Robert Opio appearing before the Land inquiry commission at archives center Kampala on Monday 30th September 2019.Photo by Ivan Kabuye

On Monday, Opio told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters, that grabbers fancy their chances of taking land, after monitoring and confirming that it is unutilised.

LAND PROBE

KAMPALA - Idle land whets the appetite of land grabbers, the acting commissioner land registration has warned.

Robert Opio disclosed that a salient land grab trick is to slash idle land as a warning shot.

On Monday, Opio told the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters, that grabbers fancy their chances of taking land, after monitoring and confirming that it is unutilised.  

“There are fraudsters who look out for land that is idle. Non-use is a problem. As long as they (genuine owners) do not use the land, they attract such grabbers. The fraudsters will come, slash the land, and tell you that the land has been sold,” said Opio.

He made remarks at the National Archives and Records Centre in the city suburb of Nakasero, during a public hearing.

Opio’s response was prompted by the advice of Inquiry commissioner Frederick Ruhindi, who said the national Lands registry office must notify those with leases nearing expiry, about their situation to enable them to prepare adequately.

 ohn aruhanga left with ommissioner obert pio appearing before the and inquiry commission at archives center ampala on onday 30th eptember 2019hoto by van abuye John Karuhanga (left) with Commissioner Robert Opio appearing before the Land inquiry commission at archives center Kampala on Monday 30th September 2019.Photo by Ivan Kabuye
 

 

 


The acting lands registration commissioner had been summoned to shed light on the dispute between two aristocratic Buganda families, over a nine-acre lakeshore strip in the upscale city suburb of Munyonyo.

The families are Alistairiko Sekaggya Nsibirwa Kiwana (died 1973) and Dr. Solomon Byatike-Matovu (died June 2, 1964).

Kiwana is the father of former finance minister Maria Nabasirye Kiwana Kiwanuka. He was the chief executive officer of the National Housing Corporation. 

Kiwana was the son of iconic Buganda educationist, philanthropist and two-time Katikkiro Martin Luther Nsibirwa (assassinated 1945).

Byatike-Matovu was a prominent medical doctor and a close associate of the Kabaka and Mengo.

Kiwana stake
Records show Kiwana purchased the property on May 1, 1968, from Ambrose Wafubwa, who bought from Sekabaka Daudi Chwa’s son Prince Alfred Kigala.

The land is now managed by the family holding company Alimar Limited, whose business is real estate development.

The other shareholders are Widow Margaret Kiwana, and daughters Maria, Janet Nkabidwa Collyer Kiwana, Babirye Nakasi Kiwana, and Esther Nabwami Kiwana, and Nakato Kiwana.

Byatike-Matovu estate claims it bought from Sekabaka Daudi’s son Prince Alfred Kigala on July 31, 1959, but that by the time he (Byatike-Matovu) died, transfer into his name had not been effected.

Nakato testified on September 17, saying unlike Byatike- Matovu daughter Dr. Irene Lubega who cannot back her claim, the Kiwana family has 51-year proof of ownership.

“The information I have about how our father got the land, is the land title. Therefore, I cannot give any other information that I do not have,” said Nakato.

Commission fact file
On December 8, 2016, President Yoweri Museveni appointed a seven-member commission of inquiry chaired by Court of Appeal Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, to inquire into land matters. 

This was prompted by several documented instances of public outcry. The team took oath on February 19, 2017, with a mandate to inquire into the effectiveness of law, policies and processes of land acquisition, land administration, land management and land registration. 

Subsequently, public hearings commenced on May 9, 2017, at National Archives and Records Centre in the city suburb of Nakasero.

On November 10, 2017, the President extended the probe’s mandate for six months. Last year on May 4, 2018, Museveni endorsed an 18-month extension of the probe.

The probe commissioners are Frederick Ruhindi, Dr. Rose Nakayi, Mary Ochan, Robert Ssebunnya, Joyce Habaasa, and George Bagonza. 

Deputy lead counsel is John Bosco Suuza, while Andrew Odiit is assistant lead counsel. Dr. Douglas Singiza is commission secretary, while Daniel Rutiba is deputy secretary. 

 

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