On Wednesday Rubaga South MP John Ken Lukyamuzi led his constituents in the demolition of an allegedly illegal fence erected around a plot in Ndeeba central.
According to Lukyamuzi the plot, which belonged to Katrina Nakungu, had been fenced off and Nakunguâ€™s tenants evicted by the â€˜newâ€™ landlord identified only as Katureebe.
Nakungu says she has never sold the plot on which she has lived since 1939 and Lukyamuzi â€˜decreedâ€™ that the land was free until money changed hands. He then invoked the Presidentâ€™s name to justify his actions.
The case raises some interesting points.
The honourable member from Rubaga was irresponsible in leading a mob to reclaim land. Granted the land may have been illegally fenced off and standing up for the rights of the powerless in society is very noble.
But there are institutions to handle such cases and if Lukyamuzi really wanted to be helpful he should have reported the case to the police and followed it to its logical conclusion.
Of course people will argue that such a process takes too long and public officials involved may be corrupted to the detriment of Nakungu. Anybody who lives in Uganda cannot discount those fears. However by his actions Lukyamuzi has further weakened the law enforcement institutions by displaying to his constituents that extra-judicial actions such as these are acceptable. This is a very dangerous precedent. Land is a very emotive issue.
We should not forget that barely a decade ago hordes of gullible villagers followed their leaders in a blood-letting orgy in Rwanda. They put aside their conditioned behaviour to live peacefully with their Tutsi brothers and sisters because their leaders said it was okay to kill their neighbours and in-laws.
Democratic culture is not wished or written into being but streams from a respect of the law and the institutions that uphold it. Lukyamuziâ€™s credentials as a champion of democracy begin to look dubious. He should have known better.
Lukyamuzi should not incite mob justice