KAMPALA - President Yoweri Museveni directed the Land Inquiry Commission to investigate Lusanja land row but the report is not yet out, a statehouse official has revealed.
The Commission of Inquiry into land matters is headed by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire.
"The President directed the commission to investigate and hand over the report to him but I have never seen the report up to now," Irene Birungi Mugisha, who works as a private secretary for administration at the Office of the president, told the court on Wednesday.
She was giving her testimony in a case in which businessman Medard Kiconco accuses Lusanja squatters of trespassing on his land.
The court, sitting at Nakawa court premises, was presided over by Mbale High Court judge, Tadeo Asiimwe.
Birungi testified that in October last year, she accompanied President Yoweri Museveni to Lusanja with a motive of teaching people how to own land and maintain it and in the process the president halted the demolition of more houses.
She disclosed that the president instructed the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) to provide shelter for the evicted victims, food relief and other necessary contingencies as investigations into the matter continue.
Birungi told the court that the President never instructed Lusanja residents to put up structures on the land.
The residents were represented by Erias Lukwago and Kiconco by Rashid Babu while the Attorney General by Goretti Arinaitwe.
Tasked to explain by lawyer Babu whether the land was at Lusanja in Wakiso district or Sekanyonyi in Mperewe, Birungi said the people were at Lusanja where houses were demolished. Birungi said she never witnessed boundaries separating Lusanja and Mpererwe.
Birungi said she was not aware of whether people of Lusanja were erecting more buildings on the land. She also said she was not aware of land in Sekanyonyi.
She also told the court that she was not aware of whether the President gave instructions to the State Minister for Lands, Persis Namuganza to investigate the land matter.
Namuganza is expected to appear in court on Friday with documents explaining why she intervened in the matter.
The judge has summoned all the surveyors, who made a report in regard to the land to appear in court on Friday to give their testimonies. They are Ronald Bwire, Denis Asiimwe, and Henry Sembajjwe.
Bwire is Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) surveyor, Asiimwe is a surveyor for Lusanja people while Sembajjwe is for Kiconco.
Justice Asiimwe also ordered the administrator of the late Paul Bitarabeho's land to appear in court to explain how his sister sold land to Lusanja people without getting permission from him.
On January 12, 2017, Kiconco filed a suit at Nabweru Chief Magistrate's Court, seeking orders for abetment of a nuisance, demolition order, and delivery of vacant possession, permanent injunction and award of damages plus costs of the suit.
The former Chief Magistrate Esther Rebecca Nasambu heard the matter experte (without the defendants filing a defence).
On October 3, 2017, Nasambu delivered judgment with orders declaring the defendants as trespassers, demolition of structures and sh20m in damages plus costs of the case.
It is upon this ruling that Kiconco went to the High Court's execution and bailiff's division and secured a demolition order from deputy registrar, Baker Rwatooro on August 23, 2018.
On December 14, last year, John Eudes Keitirima ruled that the residents were wrongfully evicted from Lusanja land because the trial magistrate had no powers to handle the case.
However, he advised any aggrieved party to institute a substantive case before the right court for trial, which Kiconco did.
Kiconco filed a suit against Namuganza, State Minister for Primary Education, Rose Mary Sseninde and 17 squatters at the Land Division of the High Court.
He accuses the ministers of inciting people to stay on his land with ‘ill' motives while the squatters for trespassing on his land.
The land in question measuring 3.89 acres is part of the 85 acres that the late Paul Katabazi Bitarabeho bought in 1978 from the late Namasole Bagalaayeze Lunkuse, the mother of former Buganda King Mwanga.
Kiconco claims that his land is on block 206, plot 671 at Mpererwe in Kampala while the residents say their land is on block 198, Folio 13 in Wakiso district.
Kiconco purports that by the time he bought the land from Bitarabeho in 2013, there were only 17 squatters, which he compensated.
Kiconco says they included Patrick Opedo, Harriet Nabuso, Samuel Muyanja, Agnes Namukasa, Madinah Nansereko, Christopher Mbogo, Christine Kayesu, John Ntale, Fred Kanyike, Sam Serunjobi, Mary Nankabirwa, John Kilabira, Kenneth Kizito, Bashir Kalema, Martin Ntale, Kabuye Ssekitoleko and Scovia Nyanzi.