- The tycoon, who never undermine a slight competition against him, wants to use the land for purposes of disrupting Serena Kigo`s serene and inaudible environment
- This would hence, act as an equalizer from Speke Resort Munyonyo facility. The Kabaka feels it’s not good for his friend and fellow royal, Agha Khan.
What we know so far is that businessman Hamis Kiggundu Ssegawa aka Ham, is laying claim to the same piece of land in Kigo as same as the Kabaka of Buganda, Ronald Muwenda Mutebi does. But there is another hidden story to this tier which we are now privy to. But first things first. Ham acquired the contested land to use it to construct a sports arena.
After the Kabaka had accused Ham of stealing the property, the businessman initially gave up on the contested land. But why? The relatively young businessman wasn’t ready to collide with the Kabaka, being his royal subject, or so, he stated. Ham personally drove to Bulange-Mengo, the administrative seat of Buganda Kingdom, to make those pronouncements.
Ham did so in the presence of Buganda’s Premier, Charles Peter Mayiga. After that, the duo shared a reconciliatory photoshoot. Consequent to the ceasefire, the Kabaka’s Attorney General, Chris Bwanika instructed two private law firms to work on canceling out Ham’s disputed Title issued over the contested land.
The two law firms are SL and KK & Co. Advocates. SL is the abridged form for Ssebalu, Lule and Company Advocates, whilst KK stands for Kiryowa, Karugire and Company Advocates.
But alas! That was never to happen. As the two firms were going about the process of effecting their instructions, Ham’s own lawyers of Muwema and Company Advocates stormed the Registrar of Titles, John Karuhanga.
Their client had by now, backtracked from the earlier position he had registered in the presence of Katikkiro Mayiga. Ham had turned to accusing what he calls a group of certain individuals within Buganda Land Board (BLB), of ‘using’ Kabaka’s name to intimidate him into giving up the land that, he purports, is legally his! BLB is the purpose vehicle company set up by the King to govern all the land that belongs to the Buganda Kingdom.
From henceforth, Ham offered media interviews, vowing to protect ‘his’ land from ‘mafias’ in BLB, as a matter of life and death. Pissed by Ham’s assertions, Bwanika, Mengo’s Attorney General, responded. The chief of the Royal Legal Chambers, started off his tirade by pointing out to Ham how the institution of the King of Buganda obtained the land he is laying claim to, way back in 1900.
He thus equated Ham’s recent claim to the same land, to Hannington Speke’s discovery of Source of the Nile centuries after the water body’s actual formation. But he submitted, that one doesn’t turn into a proprietor of land or any property, for that matter, by merely discovering it. “Let Ham not be mistaken. We shall not let him or anybody else, to steal Kabaka’s land,” the bespectacled Bwanika declared.
Yet the foregoing story is well within the public domain. What remains unknown to date, is the story wherein it is alleged that Ham is chasing for the contested land on behalf of a top property mogul. We are here to divulge the unusually `violent` manner in which the King responded to this staggering affair. Incensed to the borne, Kabaka is said to have pointedly told his close agents that he can only lose the prized land to Ham, over his dead body! Put simplest, the king is ready to fight to the last drop of blood and breadth in defense of this land. “That land is mine. It’s mine both by law and inheritance,” the King snapped up as he spoke to top confidants who include lawyers, among a few others.
As if to express his readiness to fight off people out to grab the land, the King swore, “No one. I repeat, no one is going to take that land from me. In fact, I can only lose it over my dead body.” We understand that the king has for long been scouting for investors to put up a private top-notch leisure facility at the place in question. But not every investor who can afford. He has one in mind…
The king jointly with Chinese investors already own a housing estate at Kigo. The housing estate is referred to as Mirembe Villas. According to a source very close to the Buganda royal circles, the top tycoon hugely interested in the land we are referencing, is none other than Sudhir Ruparelia. It is understood that Ham is working in concert with businessman, Godfrey Kalungi Kirumira, to acquire the land for Sudhir.
Kirumira is a renowned broker for Sudhir. The Kwagalana group Chairman`s name has been cited several times in contentious land acquisitions by Sudhir. A good friend of the Kabaka and a Muganda himself, Kirumira isn’t, for that reason, expected to be seen and heard publicly engaging in brokering the contentious deal on behalf of Sudhir. Yet, not ever before now, had we heard of, nor witnessed any land acquisition by Sudhir where Ham happened to be the broker for the tycoon.
We have further been reliably briefed that Sudhir doesn’t want anyone else, apart from himself, to acquire this particular chunk of land. Actually, Ham meant business when he threw in the towel first. Everyone was therefore shocked to see him returning with a reenergized spirit to take on the matter once more. It is alleged that his choice to chicken out of it didn’t go down well with Sudhir. But why?
The land, according to our source, is in close proximity to Munyonyo. So what? Sudhir’s owned Speke Commonwealth Resort Beach is located at Munyonyo. What about that? Our reliable source has it that Kigo is a serene place, free from noise and dust as well. It, on top of that, boasts of excellent flora and fauna.
Further to those very appealing attributes, Kigo lies by the lakeshores. It goes even without saying it therefore, such kind of a place would enjoy an all-around cooling gentle breeze generously dispensed by Lake Victoria. Tourists and other vacationers out to ease up or even see nature, love to frequent places with such foregoing attributes. And in all this, a smaller but elegant Serena Kigo enjoys all this unsolicited nature generosity.
Consequently, Sudhir fears that, if anyone else other than him, especially Serena Hotel owner, acquire the land in question, and expands his facility here, his own Speak Resort Hotel in close vicinity, would end up losing high-value customers. Already, Serena Kigo is, in its smaller self, becoming a threat by day.
The addition or extension of Serena Kigo, Sudhir fears, would only serve to complicate the already emerging competition against his Munyonyo facility. If you don’t know already, Sudhir’s Speke Resort is patronized by big monied customers. They include the Central Government and its agencies, as well as key international bodies. For the record, in 2007, the Beach Hotel hosted the Queen of England and other high-value dignitaries.
The top-notch guests had flown in to participate in that year’s edition of the Common Wealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). So, on getting wind of plans by the Kabaka to grant opportunity to none but Serena`s Agha Khan, Sudhir, it is highly alleged, went into panic mode. Whereas Ham is fighting to grab the land for Sudhir, we can authoritatively reveal that the Kabaka is fighting to retain the same for Agha Khan, whose interest were already being considered by BLB.
For that matter, the tycoon supposedly embarked on thinking about how to thwart the whole process. Alert to the fact that by going it alone to acquire the land, the move could boomerang since Sudhir is a controversial name, the tycoon is reported to have finally zeroed on using proxies. The first proxy, Sudhir purportedly thought of, was Kirumira.
But Kirumira humbly declined to take on the livewire deal. He is then believed to have proposed Ham to execute the job on behalf of Sudhir. All the same, Kirumira is being suspected by Mengo, not to have absolutely pulled out of the deal. On the contrary, Mengo believes, Kirumira is still scheming with Ham, albeit clandestinely, to secure the land for Sudhir.
The king is understood to have expressed untold outrage and shock, upon learning of Kirumira’s assumed invisible hand in the contentious deal. The king is quoted as telling confidants that he didn’t expect Kirumira to betray him since he regards him as one of his royal subjects. For the record, Kirumira is a close friend of the person of the King. For that matter, the King appointed him, among such initiatives, to lead a committee of rich people who refurbished the Mengo main palace.
Remembering that Ham had pulled out of the whole deal, Mengo suspects that he only backtracked due to the unbearable pressure from the other tycoon itching to grab the land. Ham is on record stating that his land is different from that of the Kabaka. He notoriously asserted that his land is located in Lake Victoria. Yet the government or anybody isn’t allowed to own land in water bodies!
The Kabaka insists that what Ham claims to be his land is legally his (Kabaka’s). He says all Ham did on the way to claiming his land, was to create a Freehold Title. That having done this, the businessman then superimposed his Freehold Title on that of the Kabaka which is Mailo Land in nature. Just like that, the Kabaka points out, Ham started claiming to be the owner of the land which is ideally not his. As it stands currently, the Kabaka possesses a Title to the Land. And so is Ham!
The two conflicting Titles were issued by the government’s own relevant Offices. One is obviously superior to the other, having been issued earlier than the other. Mark you, we are saying this without prejudice to the interests of either of the parties. Unless he forged his Title, Ham’s Title is genuine as well, at least, by default. That being the case, it is incumbent upon the relevant government offices to clear this mess of their own creation. Yet government should expect one of the losers to drag it to Court at the end of the day since it misled them into believing that it was issuing either, a genuine Title! But wait.
Lastly and most importantly, we have it on authoritative grounds, that the main reason Kabaka doesn’t want this land to land into Sudhir`s possession is, the tycoon, who never undermine a slight competition against him, wants to use the land for purposes of disrupting Serena Kigo`s serene and inaudible environment. This stance, by putting facilities that can create a little noisy atmosphere, enough for Serena guests` discomfort. This would hence, act as an equalizer from Speke Resort Munyonyo facility. The Kabaka feels it’s not good for his friend and fellow royal, Agha Khan.Watch this space…
- Mr. Stephen Kasozi Muwambi is a seasoned crime investigative writer, majoring in judicial-based stories. His two decades’ experience as a senior investigative journalist has made him one of the best to reckon on in Uganda. He can also be reached via [email protected]
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