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Cabinet ordered Bwengye eviction

By Vision Reporter

Added 6th October 2003 03:00 AM

CABINET directed the Ministry of Lands to acquire Francis Bwengye’s plot on Mutungo Hill for state duties.

CABINET directed the Ministry of Lands to acquire Francis Bwengye’s plot on Mutungo Hill for state duties.

By Yunusu Abbey

CABINET directed the Ministry of Lands to acquire Francis Bwengye’s plot on Mutungo Hill for state duties.

Baguma Isoke, the lands state minister, told The New Vision on Saturday, it was not his ministry, which solely took the decision to take over the Mutungo Hill land.

“It was Cabinet that instructed us to acquire the Mutungo land, which belongs to Francis Bwengye,” Isoke said.

The disputed half an acre plot is registered as Block 237, Plot 420, Kyadondo.

Mutungo Hill boasts of modern tile-roofed houses. First Lady Janet Museveni also has a house there.

Bwengye is constructing a two-storey house at the site, which he says is worth about $250,000. By yesterday, construction work was still in progress.

“When I got that Cabinet directive, I had to invoke it immediately. Article 26 of the new Constitution (1995) and the Land Acquisition Act of 1965 empowers the Government to acquire any land it might require anywhere for public use,” Isoke said.

He did not say what the Government would do at Bwengye’s plot.

Initial reports said the plot might have been allocated to a security agency, but there was no independent confirmation.

Since Saturday, Betty Akech, the state minister for security and David Pulkol, the External Security Organisation chief, could not be reached for comment.

Bwengye said Akech and Pulkol had contacted him over the possibility of selling the plot to government but he declined the offer.

Isoke said there was nothing strange about government taking over the property. He cited how Government acquired the Okello House at Nakasero, Kampala, Moringa land in Karamoja and other property. He said Bwengye would be compensated and paid ‘disturbance allowance’ for his property.

“Bwengye is free to appoint a private valuer. But the Chief Government Valuer will be asked to value the land and determine its cost before the owner is compensated,” he added.

Isoke warned that should need arise, government would be obliged to acquire more plots within the same vicinity.

“So even those who have remained there, should be aware that they can be asked any time to quit,” he added.

“It was Pulkol who contacted me first in mid-August this year over the matter. Then last month, Akech wrote a ‘commanding letter’ instructing me to report to her office but I refused to go there,” Bwengye said.

Bwengye said he acquired the plot in July this year from Jane Kirenga, widow of the late Emmanuel Kirenga.

“I am constructing there a five-bedroomed house with a swimming pool. The late architect, Paul Kagimu, drew the building plan while engineer Emmanuel Gasana is the contractor,” he said.

He added, “I am importing some of the building materials from UK and the house is supposed to be ready by end of this year. I intended to occupy it with my family.”

Bwengye accused the Government of discrimination, saying he had been singled out for eviction yet there were other people living on Mutungo Hill.

“I am not ready to surrender my property. They would rather take and occupy it by force the way the Obote II regime did to the late John Wycliff Kazzora’s house in Makindye and that of Godfrey Binaisa,” he said.

“I want us to battle it out in court. If the worse comes to the worst, I can only allow them to rent it. Selling my house is totally out,” Bwengye said.

Cabinet ordered Bwengye eviction

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