Mbale, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Local Government Minister Rapheal Magyezi has intervened in the dispute surrounding the sale of the land belonging to the former Nakaloke town council in Mbale’s Northern City division. The land measuring around 20 acres was allegedly sold to private developers.
Part of the land hosted the former town council headquarters, the football pitch, police station and three boreholes. Allan Mulyanyuma, the then town clerk of Nakaloke town council is accused of conniving with some councillors to sell the land to Ismail Mukakandi, the Worker’s representative at Mbale city council.
Mukakandi is also the Mbale city works secretary. Last week, there was a fierce exchange between the Mbale City Resident Commissioner, Ahamada Washaki and Mukakandi. It also started when Washaki received complaints from residents about the developments on the land.
Now, the Local Government Minister Raphael Magyezi, has intervened in the matter to establish the circumstances under which the public land was disposed off. He held a closed-door meeting with Mbale district and city officials over the matter.
He told journalists after the meeting that he had paid a courtesy call to the officials to establish how the city and district will share assets and found the dispute over the sale of Nakaloke land. He promised to convene a meeting on October 29th, 2021, with leaders and other stakeholders pertaining to the land dispute.
He warned local leaders against selling government land, saying this lies within the mandate of parliament.
In January last year, George Mwanika, the former Nakaloke town council NRM chairperson, protested the sale of the land. He petitioned the Statehouse Anti-Corruption Unit on January 13th, 2020, complaining about the fraudulent sale of public land citing the town council headquarters and police land.
He accused the political and technical leadership of the town council of conniving to sell off the land to the business community with influence from the district leaders.
“This was witnessed by the division and allocation of land located at the former youth hall that leaves the youth with no other recreation center. Land adjacent to the football pitch, the police station land, which has ongoing construction works and land in front of and besides the town council headquarters,” read the letter in part.
On January 28th, 2020, the then Mbale Resident District Commissioner, Sulaiman Barasa Ogajjo wrote to the then town clerk of Nakaloke town council directing him to stop the illegal sale and giveaway of land within the town council.
“My office has received several complaints about the rampant and illegal sale of council properties such as buildings, plots, playgrounds and others without going through normal procedures. There is an element of demolishing the council structures and allocation of plots mostly to the leaders quietly. The community has complained and even informed the Statehouse Anti-Corruption Unit. This is therefore to bring to your attention that this must stop with immediate effect and proper legal procedures followed,” reads the RDC’s letter which Uganda Radio Network-URN has seen.
On June 8th 2020, the Local Government Ministry halted the disposal of government properties. The ministry indicated that the disposal of land can only be approved by parliament in line with section 34(6) of the Public Financial Management Act, 2015.
Early this year, Loyce Nambozo, the former Mbale Chief Administrative Officer also halted any developments or construction on the land citing an ongoing court case. However, the developer ignored the directives and continued with their developments.
Last week, the Mbale City Resident Commissioner, Ahamada Washaki also halted all activities on the land until the matter is resolved. He accused the former town clerk and councillors of illegally disposing off the land.
However, Mukankadi insists that he legally acquired the land advertised. He says those accusing him of acquiring the land fraudulently should begin with the Mbale district leadership.
Mulyanyuma has also dismissed the accusations levelled against him, saying that they are baseless and only aimed at tarnishing his career. “There is no sale of land there, it has only been leased at 70,000shs to those who applied. I don’t want you the media to be used to tarnish my name which I have worked for,” he told URN on phone last year when contacted over the matters.