KAMPALA, Uganda: One of Uganda’s most respected, leading musicians, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine has elected to unease self of/and tighten his Buganda Kingdom royalty on the pole. Saying for himself, family and members of public who could be facing ‘hostility’ from the Kingdom seat, and in particular the Nkuluze Department (King’s private wallet), he has elected to defy the ‘hostility.’
In a 1311 words press release last evening, Bobi Wine lines a lot of hitherto unknown transactions between Mengo and him. And the same have incurred several losses on his side. In a nine-point press release, he tells his story. Below is the slightly edited dossier;
On Friday 7th April, 2017, people working under the direction and authority of Nkuluze (The Royal Treasury) of Buganda Kingdom trespassed on my land, illegally razed it and destroyed a lot of my valuable property at One Love Beach in Busabala where I conduct business from.
I had decided not to release a press statement on the grave injustice committed to me by Buganda Kingdom officials. However, I am prompted to respond after reading the statement from Owek. Noah Kiyimba, the Kingdom’s Minister of information.
In that statement, there were many deliberate lies and misinformation intended to portray me as someone who was illegally occupying the land and who had several times been warned to vacate it and I refused. I have therefore, in this statement, decided to point out the glaring injustices that are being perpetrated by Buganda Kingdom officials not only on me but on the common man in Uganda who has either bought land from or has lived on land belonging to Buganda Kingdom.
I wish to clarify the following; One, that I am a peace loving man who believes in hard work. I am a very strong believer in Buganda Kingdom and I have for all my youthful years used my talents to support the Kingdom activities and rally people to support and love it. I hold my Kabaka- His Highness Ronald Edward Frederick Kimera Muwenda Mutebi II in the greatest esteem. I revere him and I believe all Baganda should!
Two, As an entrepreneur, I have over the years participated in various transactions trying to buy and develop land from Buganda Kingdom officials not only for my benefit but also for the benefit of many young and old people by offering them employment and economically empowering them. In most cases, the said officials were acting for and on behalf of His Highness the Kabaka under the institution of ‘Nkuluze’. In most of the transactions I was treated unjustly and unfairly by those officials, but I decided to keep quiet.
Three; For example in 2009, I bought four (4) acres of land located in Mulago, Kibuga, Block 29, Plot 315 from the Kabaka of Buganda (Copies of the agreement are all available.) I paid the full agreed amount of money (UGX150M) I even had to acquire a bank loan to pay for the land! I started compensating the tenants on the land. In 2010, eleven months after I had bought the land, I was informed by Owek. Nsereko David, the same person who had communicated the acceptance of the sale on behalf of the Kabaka, that the Kabaka had changed his mind about the sale of the land.
I lost that plot without payment for all the expenses I had incurred while compensating the tenants. Without any consultation, I was given a refund of only UGX150m I had paid as if the value of the land had not accumulated. I also had to individually meet the bank interests and all other expenses. Despite my obvious disappointment in the process, out of respect for my Kabaka, I let it go peacefully.
At that time, I had started buying land from ‘bibanja’ holders in Busaabala with the intention of setting up the beach. The Kingdom officials convinced me that if I let go of the land in Mulago, they would grant me a lease on the land in Busaabala. I had already started developing land approximately 6.25 acres where the beach is located currently.
Four; In 2010, with a desire to expand, I applied for a lease in Busaabala – Kaazi, plots 7060 and 7065 – from the Buganda Kingdom Treasury- The Nkuluze. In April, 2010, I paid the requisite application fee, and with approval by Mr. Nsereko David – “Omuwi wamagezi ku ttaka lya Kabaka,” I remitted the survey fees. On 6th February 2014, I officially received the grant of a forty nine (49) years sub-lease on plots 7060 and 7065 curved out of the Kabaka’s land in Busabala. I further paid the stipulated premium of UGX20, 000,000 (Twenty million shillings) and took great care to compensate all the tenants on the land.
Five; I developed the land and have continued to do this every day. I have incurred the cumbersome costs of extending electricity to the area which was relatively isolated from the grid as well as the constructing of an access road. Not only was the Royal treasury (Nkuluze) aware of all these activities on the two plots by 2010, but they also sanctioned these projects eagerly. By the time the place was razed I had imported several trees, electricity poles for lights and several other valuable materials that were destroyed by the graders on site under supervision of the Police.
Six point; The King has visited the beach several times and also been to this parking area that many believe I encroached on. Several Kingdom activities have taken place on this land including; “empaka z’amaato” as well as some of the collection fundraisers of the “ettofaali” which were all officiated by the Buganda Kingdom officials. Some of the trees razed down were planted by the Katikkiro!
Seven; In 2015, four years after fulfilling all conditions for the sublease, including payment of the twenty million shillings consideration, remittance of Busuulu for four years and, compensation of the squatters on the land, I received an untimely communication from Mr. Nsereko David informing me that the Kabaka has rescinded his offer to grant me the sublease. I was informed that the Kabaka had once again changed his mind after selling me land- Plots 7060 and 7065 in Kaazi, Busaabala – I decided to express my concerns to the people from the Treasury of the Buganda Kingdom.
I proposed to pay an additional fee for the same piece of land since I had invested a lot into the land for over four years. I was advised by the Royal Treasury advisor- Owek. Nsereko David as well as Owek. Kitenda John – “Omuwanika wenkuluze,” that instead of surrendering my interest in the land, I could find a way of creating room for the Kabaka. I went ahead and did as advised and as a loyal subject of the Buganda Kingdom I had to give up about a portion of the land and compensated the squatters on the adjacent land that is approximately 1.5acres, and clear it of any structures I had installed, for use by the Kabaka.
Eight; The sudden eviction and forceful grading of the land without notice or any Court Order, therefore, on land I had invested heavily and acquired authorization to do so, jointly perpetuated by Buganda Kingdom officials and Uganda Police under the supervision of ASP John Garvin, came as a shocking surprise.
Nine; These events above have affected myself and my family and whereas we have bottled them up for a long time out of respect for the institution of Buganda Kingdom, I believe that what has happened to me is happening to many other local Baganda who are occupying the Kabaka’s land.
The blatant violations and impunity on the part of Buganda Kingdom officials should not continue unabated. I am a humble man with a great sense of dignity and I have neither the desire nor the will to forcefully evict any occupants from any land, as is being alleged, because I honestly know the pain arising from property loss. I have instructed my lawyers to take legal action against the trespassers.
I have tried to seek audience before the Buganda Kingdom Officials, but all this has fallen on deaf ears. I have also humbly requested the audience of the Kabaka through a letter written on April 11, 2017. This course of action has come after long and deep thought, analysis of the relations between the Kingdom and the local person, and a desire to pursue justice to the end.
Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu (Bobi Wine)