Kibiri CoU Leaders Appeal for President Museveni’s Intervention over Land Grabbers Using State House Letters to Grab Church and School Land

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Reverend Maxwell Ssebugwawo of Kibiri Church of Uganda (CoU), Makindye Ssabagabo, has appealed to President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, seeking his intervention into a land wrangle they are embroiled in with the family of late Joshua Kibazo.

This follows increasing concerns from church leaders and Kibiri Cell A residents seeking help from authorities to protect their lives and save Kibiri CoU government aided school and church properties that the grabbers have destroyed using letters said to be from State House.

According to Rev. Ssebugwawo, the land under dispute was bought from the late Joshua Kibazo Bageyante, who sold the 3-acre to the Church and School Management Committee of Kibiri Church of Uganda Primary School in the early 1970s.

“The disputes on the land registered under Buganda Land Board file number BLB/02/3369, started after a neighbor to the church, Lukenge Jackson, and his son, Bageya Senkya Tom, with the help of scrupulous brokers identified as Kenneth Keeya, Timothy Ssenabulya, Sunday Mbowa used letters from State House, claiming the 3-acre Estate,” Rev Ssebugwawo narrated.

He added that prior to the disputes, Lukenge’s family wrote to Kibiri CoU school management in 2018, requesting the school management to offer an alternative piece of land of the same measurements, in exchange for the one they possess.

“This was meant to enable Lukenge’s family to get an access road since the school land had surrounded their land and left them in the middle without a clear access road, which the school management agreed to,” he added.

He further stated that; one of the conditions of the exchange was that Lukenge’s family would remove their ancestral graves for relocation elsewhere after a short period of time, as agreed with school management.

However, according to residents, before the period for transferring the ancestral graves ended, some of the family members turned against the school and church management when they started claiming the entire 3-acre church and school land after the family sold part of the newly exchanged piece of land in less than two months before fulfilling the above condition.

“Mr. Lukenge turned against the school management and church and started claiming the whole of our land. We started receiving letters from State House that we are conspiring with the grandson to grab the family land,” says Rev Ssebugwawo.

According to the petitioners, the land grabbers used the alleged letters from State House to destroy church and school gardens as well as the school plantation, from which the school grew food for the pupils.

The above actions were published in Bukedde News Paper of 18th October 2019.

Ssebugwawo and other church elders said they reported the case to Katwe Divisional Headquarters under references SD REF 24/15/10/2019, KATWE CBR/741/19, SD REF; 20/40/02/2022 and SD REF 16/30/04/2022, but are yet to receive any assistance regarding their appeal.

In 2019, the Church petitioned the Court, but the case was dismissed due to a lack of jurisdiction and thus referred to the High Court.

However, according to church leaders, the land grabbers used this as an opportunity to do further damage to the land with the help of brokers and local authorities.

“We wrote to the then Special Presidential Task Force on Land Matters, headed by Brig. Gen. Lukyamuzi, who tried to offer security to protect the land from further encroachment until the office was dissolved,” the church elders said.

However, the leaders say that Lukenge and company contacted several “big” offices to see to it that security was withdrawn, which they succeeded at. And that immediately after the security was withdrawn; the land grabbers used that opportunity and have continued to connive with Local Council chairpersons to sell off pieces of land.

“So, as disputes are ongoing, some land has been sold off by the family with sales agreements, and the Local Council (LC) endorsed the stamp,” said Rev. Ssebugwawo.

Ms. Emily Nuwamanya the Assistant Head of Laity added that on 25th January 2023, they were taken to another office of the Private Secretary of the President under Hon. Gertrude Njuba.

“However, we later discovered that the office was already compromised after her deputy, Primah Tumwebaze, later disregarded in a letter what had been discussed in the meeting earlier,” she said.

The Church leaders say, the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) of Makindye Ssebagabo Municipal, and the Katwe Police Station are part of the cartel that has continuously turned a blind eye to the whole matter.

“Several letters from State House have been used by these brokers, and recently, some of the land has even been fenced off by these fellas,” they insisted.

Ssebugwawo revealed that after Primah’s letter, together with brokers, resumed to forcefully encroach on the land and went ahead to threaten everyone trying to stop them.

On 3rd March 2023, Rev. Jasper Tumuhimbise Mpiriirwe (CEO of Church Commissioners Holding Company Limited) asked Fulltime Security Service Ltd, a private security company, to help deploy and maintain the status quo until the dispute was settled, a request blocked by DPC Katwe Police Station.

He added that unknown people keep following them wherever they go, threatening their lives, on top of having sleepless nights.

“We are having sleepless nights, but when we reach out to police, especially Katwe Police, nothing is done. Recently, some thugs ran after me and blatantly told me to leave the land issue or risk death,” said the Rev. Ssebugwawo.

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