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Court blocks cancellation of Owino Market lease

As ownership of Owino rages on, KCCA wants vendors to work from USAFI market. COURTESY PHOTO

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The High Division Civil Division has issued an interim injunction, restraining Kampala Capital City Authority-KCCA and the commissioner land registration in the Ministry of Lands, from proceeding with the re-entries on the Owino Market land including cancellations of the lease title certificates.

In court documents seen by URN, KCCA and the Ministry of Lands have also been restrained from interfering with or sabotaging the activities or developments on the land, pending the determination of the temporary injunction.

Justice Boniface Wamala issued the injunction on Friday after an application was filed by the vendors under the St. Balikuddembe Market Stalls, Space and Lock-up Shops Owners Association-SSLOA.

The interim injunction follows temporary orders that Justice Musa Ssekaana issued on Tuesday stopping vendors from St. Balikuddembe Market alias Owino from returning the duplicate certificate of title to the Registrar of title for cancellation.

The vendors ran to the High court after President, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni instructed the Ministry of Lands to give a land title to the Kampala District Land Board. On July 15th, 2022, the Registrar of Titles made a re-entry on the Owino Market land returning it back to Kampala District Land Board.

On July 18th, the registrar wrote to St. Balikuddembe Market Stalls, Space and Lock-up Shops Owners Association informing them of the re-entry and instructed them to hand over the duplicate certificate of title to the district land board.

The vendors rejected the directive and petitioned the High Court through their lawyers Majdah Atulinda and Smith Kayanja, arguing that they had rightfully secured a lease on the market land and were hence the rightful owners. They asked the High Court for interim orders stopping the registrar from canceling their title pending the conclusion of their application.

The contested land comprises plots 24, M34, 20A-22A, and M77B Nakivubo place, onto which SSLOA acquired a 99 years lease in April 2014, following President Museveni’s 2009 directive of giving markets to people operating therein for redevelopment.

Documents from the Kampala District Land Board, indicate that the lease was issued at a paper corn arrangement, but had terms of four billion shillings premium, and ground rent of 200 million shillings on an initial term of 10 years condition for SSLOA to redevelop the land initially under the then KCC. However, the lease processing by the then KCC was delayed by the various lawsuits.

Whereas SSLOA had not yet developed the land, on 5th October 2018, President Museveni made a U-turn and directed that market ownership revert to local government, and this started off the court battles.



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