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MUBS seeks Parliament support to stop land squatters

Prof. Waswa Balunywa (L) and a colleague appearing before the Public Accounts Committee.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Makerere University Business School (MUBS) is on the verge of losing land to squatters, the University’s Principal, Prof. Waswa Balunywa, has said.

Balunywa said the university has failed to have physical possession of the two acre piece of land located in Kireka Hill View, 20 years after acquiring the land from Uganda Land Commission (ULC).

“We have been grappling with this land issue for 20 years now. People have been encroaching on our land and up to now we have failed to take charge of this land [in Kireka] because squatters have already built houses and it is not easy to get the squatters out of the land. Our engineers have been there several times and they have been chased,” Prof. Balunywa said.

He said this while appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (Central) to respond to Auditor General’s queries for Financial Year 2020/2021 on Wednesday, 07 September 2022.

It should be recalled that MUBS owned up to 13 acres of land in Bugoloobi, a Kampala suburb which was given out to private developers by ULC. However, after an out of court settlement, the land commission compensated the school with 0.9 hectares of land (about two acres) located in the swampy part of Kireka-Butabika.

Prof. Balunywa says that despite the university being in possession of the land title, efforts to take control of the land have remained futile due to resistance from the squatters. He added that management is stranded and cannot value, gazette nor develop the said land due to the challenge of squatters.

He appealed to the committee to assist them take physical possession of the said land.

“It is this same committee [PAC] that helped us to get compensated by the Uganda Land Commission. We seek for the same support to help us take possession of this land,” he said.

PAC vice chairperson, Asuman Basalirwa, advised MUBS management to drag the squatters to court since they have the land title to justify ownership of the land.

Ibanda North County MP, Xavier Kyooma was quick to note that perhaps MUBS has not explored all options including writing to the squatters and securing an eviction court order to claim the land.

“Why wouldn’t they [MUBS] secure an eviction court order like others have been doing? And also this is an evidence based committee and I would be very happy to find out that MUBS has made all attempts and have finally got a court eviction and that police has not helped them,” Kyooma said, adding that it is prudent that the committee helps MUBS to secure the land whether it is located on the wetland or otherwise.



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