KAMPALA, Uganda: “Okulya n’abalangira tekikufuula mulangira,” is a Luganda popular adage, literally meaning that; “dining with Princes does not necessarily turn one into a Prince.” This is the situation Mulago National Referral Hospital administration find themselves in, given their status at the five acre piece of land, which they have occupied for the last 60 years, the Investigator exclusively report.
That Mulago Hospital management has been involved in this land dispute with the Administrator General for over a two years, is a known fact in Ugandan media and to all the residents around the national health facility. However, unless the Attorney General wakes up on the wrong side of his bed, Mulago is currently seen as typical trespassers on their six decades’ ‘owned’ property.
The Investigator can authoritatively report that having wriggled, held meetings, brainstormed their wits out, interpreted laws, sought public sympathy and fought all tribes of wars to be named the true owners of the land comprised in Kibuga Block 29, Plot 846 in Mulago, Mulago Hospital Management have utterly failed to show proof of their claims, a stance that left the Administrator General with no choice but to trot to the government legal mind, the Attorney General, for redress.
For some years now, Mulago has been pulling ropes with the Administrator General (AG) who rightfully administers the property on behalf of the late Sefasi K. Kiwanuka’s surviving descendants. Available documents indicate that Kiwanuka acquired the land on October 24th 1938. It is however little known how, Mulago has been occupying the same without any interferences for the last 60 years.
And basing on that fact, the management and probably public members reluctantly asserted that its government land, hence driving on the same myths to claim so, even long after the rightful owners eventually ‘resurrected’ to reclaim it. Indeed, following the AG’s call on the Attorney General’s arbitration, the latter recently led a team of stakeholders to inspect the land and revelers laughed it off, looking at it as ‘obvious’ wastage of time. “That must be government land,” claimed several of them.
In his wisdom only compared to the biblical King David’s in this scenario, the Deputy Attorney General, Hon. Mwesigwa Rukutana had elected to get the definite answers from all the claimants and stakeholders by not listening to them separately but all collectively.
Sources privy with the arrangements informed us that the government’ legal mind comprised an inquiry committee with all relevant government institutions represented. “At any particular moment when any of them missed a sitting, he would call them directly and follow the phone call with a written communication, therefore demanding an involuntary official response in the process,” offered the source.
The unimpeachable source names some of the inquiry composition members as representatives from even Internal Security Organization (ISO) which, had also investigated the matter but whose findings were shunned by Mulago. “Others were from KCCA Surveyors Department, Uganda Land Commission, Land Registration Commission and Mulago Hospital Administration represented by the ED Dr. Baterana Byarugaba.
Our fly-on-the-wall in the string of meetings held two months back reveals that whereas it looked costly and tiresome, the Attorney General’s modus operandi could solve the longstanding standoff between all parties. “Unless otherwise, it was clear Mulago has no stake on the land save for the sixty years’ occupation, two permanent structures and a few staff gardens with periodical crops,” said the impeccable source that actually attended all the meetings but with no authority to speak for the commission.
Our source generously offers that all the stakeholders concurred that actually, there was not a single other title, “not even a forged one” that was presented to the commission of inquiry but that of the Late Kiwanuka which, all members confirmed as the “true copy.” He adds that… “Interestingly, the Mulago ED insisted on several times that he had documents until the last minute when he gave up and conceded.”
The ED reportedly lost the battle when the Commissioner for Lands presented his report in affirmative of the rest of the members. “He finally said that he thought they owned the land because all the time they had stayed there, no one had ever claimed it. He had not even a handwritten document to present in claiming ownership,” said the source amidst a bout of laughter!
Efforts to reach the Attorney General were fruitless as he never picked and or returned our repeated calls. In the same measure, the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development Hon. Betty Amongi’s comment was not secured as she never picked her calls either and, the Mulago Hospital ED Dr. Baterana’s known numbers were off all the time we called before filing this report last night.
Nevertheless, a knowledgeable source privy with the matter at the Uganda Land Commission on condition of anonymity offered that, given the stories he heard from the meetings, Mulago should lay their guns down on the matter. “Even by law, they (Mulago Hospital) cannot win since government has never shown interest in that piece of land and again if they (government) did, a compensation must be given to the Land Title legitimate holders.”… Watch this space…
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