Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Justice Jesse Byaruhanga Rugyema has set August 14th, 2020 to deliver judgment on a dispute between the Registered Trustees of Africa Muslim Community Juma Sect and Uganda Muslim Supreme Council-UMSC over the land hosting Natete mosque.
In 2003, Trustees of Africa Muslim Community Juma Sect petitioned court seeking to recover the land occupied by Natete mosque. They accused UMSC together with Prime Women Investments Limited, Uganda Land Commission, Nateete Twale Muslim Community Limited and the Registrar of Titles of fraudulently taking over their land comprising plot 12 and 13 on Masaka road that hosts Nateete town mosque.
The applicants claim that the contested land is currently registered in the names of Nateete Twale Muslim Community Limited and UMSC, yet they acquired it from the colonial government in the 1940’s. The applicants claim that they didn’t process a title for the land due to the endless disputes in the Muslim community.
UMSC acquired a 47 year lease and title for the suite land from Uganda Land Commission on February 3, 1988. The applicants claim that they lodged a caveat on the land in March 1988 but it was subsequently removed by the late Abdnoor Luyomba. They claim that UMSC subdivided the suit land into multiple plots which paved way for Nateete Twale Muslim Community to enter a joint venture with Prime Women Investments Limited for redevelopment.
They asked court to hold the Registrar of Titles and Uganda Land Commission accountable for the loss of the suit land since they were warned against giving a title to UMSC since they were aware that the land belonged to the applicants. They also want court to direct the Registrar of Titles to register Juma Sect community as the rightful owner of the land in question and issue a permanent injunction restraining the respondents and their agents from entering or interfering in anyway with the applicant’s peaceful enjoyment of the suit land.
However, last week, the UMSC lawyers led by Musa Kabega asked court to dismiss the application saying it was filed outside the stipulated time. He argued that the law stipulates that anybody aggrieved on land matters must do so within 12 years. Kabega however explained that the applicants waited for more than 15 years to bring a petition to the High court land division which is outside the stipulated time.
He also told court that the applicants don’t have any right to claim the suit land since they didn’t file any document in support of their claim on the land. As a result, Jesse Byaruhanga Rugyema gave the applicants a chance to file a response to the defense submission. On Friday, the applicant’s lawyer, Hakim Lubega told court that they weren’t able to file a response because the witness who was supposed to avail them the necessary documentation had traveled upcountry.
However, Justice Byaruhanga couldn’t hear any of this saying he will not grant any other adjournment in the matter. He argued that adjourning the matter will result in delayed justice and went ahead to fix August 14th, 2020 for delivery of his ruling on the matter. Ibrahim Mbuubi, the secretary of Nateete town mosque says they have developed structures on the suit land saying the court decision may not favor the applicants.