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Nakalema orders Mukono diocese, BLB to carryout joint verification of tenants on contested land

Col. Edith Nakalema led a delegation to the encroached Mukono Diocese land at Kisowera, Mukono district.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Col. Edith Nakalema, the head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit has ordered Mukono diocese and Buganda Land Board-BLB to carry out a joint verification of tenants on Nakanyonyi church land.

The land measuring 426 acres is under contention between the residents, who claim to have acquired it through Buganda Land Board and Mukono diocese. Although the church only acknowledges 30 bonafide occupants, there are over 2000 settlers on the land.

Simon Muwanga Kabogoza, the Chief Executive Officer of Buganda Land Board, says that following the 2016 boundary opening exercise, they instructed all residents who had registered with BLB with intentions of acquiring titles (Kyapa mungalo) to visit the diocesan land office to prove their tenancy.

However, during the community engagement involving all parties at Nakanyonyi Mission Church, Nakalema insisted that the church and BLB conduct a joint verification exercise of residents within two weeks starting from Monday, October 4.

“I want the exercise conducted on the ground so that every claimant is given a chance to present evidence of occupancy so as to find an everlasting solution to the misunderstanding on the church land. The exercise should not take more than two weeks,” Nakalema said.

Rev. Godfrey Sono, the Head of Mukono Diocesan Land Department, said it would be hard for the church to conduct the verification exercise since it lacks details of the bonafide occupants who applied for lease titles before the boundary opening.

According to Rev. Sono, since the boundary opening in 2016, several other residents have encroached on the land by backdating their agreements.

Peninah Nakaweesi, one of the tenants says that she bought the contested land from Buganda parish officials (Abatongole). She notes that BLB is now abandoning them after realizing the mess in the transaction.

John Kizito, another resident says they were not given sufficient chance to explain how they settled on the contested land. He also faults the church for creating a gap with the residents, saying that they promised to establish a land office in Nakanyonyi eight years ago, to handle the matter in vain.

Christopher Bwanika, the Buganda Attorney General and Minister for Local Government says that the three kingdom officials implicated in the land scam namely Ahmed Keteregga, John Sseguya and Muhammad Kizza were relieved of their duties.

He says that all those who bought land from the trio were conned and have a right to sue them in the courts of law. Nakalema has also tasked residents of Kisowera in Nama sub-county to prove their occupancy.

Over 200 residents have been involved in serious fights over land for the past three months accusing the church of evicting them from the land, which they claim belongs to the late Kawalya Kaggwa.

However, the Commissioner of Surveys and Mapping in the Lands Ministry, Wilson Ogalo has since confirmed that the contested 200 acres of land at Kisowera belongs to the church whose title was printed in December 1926.

Ogalo advises residents to follow proper land acquisition procedures before claiming ownership of the land. He notes that a tenant is not required to sell or share any part of the land to any person without informing the landlord.



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