Residents of villages of Makukuba, Nkulagirire and Kaabulo in the sub-county of Nabbaale- Mukono district have petitioned the lands minister Judith Nabakooba and President Museveni to intervene and stop a one Nicholas Kabagambe from evicting them and destroying their properties.
The more than 2,000 residents accuse Nicholas Kabagambe for tormenting them since 2019 with the help of security personnel. It is said that Kabagambe acquired the land which measures over 680 acres from the family of the late Andrew Guluddene. It is alleged that with the help of officials at the Mukono district land offices, he secured a freehold title on the said land and told all the occupants to leave or be forced to do so.
Things got bloody when a resident called Hakim Ssendagire, was shot in the leg as he was trying to save his cows that some unknown hooligans were trying to confiscate from him at his 70-acre kibanja. Ssendagire says his attackers, who came from Kabagambe’s farm in the area, cut down over 1,000 trees on his kibanja, poisoned 20 cows, and killed 200 goats on his farm.
Although Ssendagire survived the attack, he limps up to date. This prompted the then Lands minister Beti Kamya to write to the RDC of Mukono, imploring him to stop this brutality and evictions. However, just this month, the residents were once again attacked by people who claim to be working for Kabagambe. They destroyed their crops, including banana plantations, coffee, eucalyptus trees and sugar canes.
According to available records, the land under contestation is part of Kabaka’s 350 square miles estate which was returned to Buganda in 1993. When contacted, the spokesperson of Buganda Land Board, Denis Bugaya noted that indeed, this is Kabaka’s land. He added that when some of the residents of the said villages reached out, BLB immediately petitioned the ministry of lands to cancel Kabagambe’s land title because it was acquired illegally.
Bugaya says no one can obtain a freehold title on top of Kabaka’s official Mailo. It was therefore wrong for Mukono district to offer such a title to someone else when they are aware that this is Kabaka’s land. Meanwhile, Kabagambe says the land belongs to him because he acquired it through legal means and no one will stop him from utilizing his land.
Our investigations have unearthed how, in 1980, a one Andrew Guluddene got a 49-year lease on the land from Uganda Land Commission (LRV 1099, Folio 24, Kyaggwe Block 40, plot 58). This was at a time when the land was under the administration of government, having been confiscated by the Milton Obote administration from Buganda Kingdom in 1966.
When the land was returned to Buganda in 1993, Guluddene took his lease title to Buganda Land Board in 2001 for variation, and he started paying annual ground rent to BLB. However, when Guluddene died, his children; Mulindwa George, Ssebidde Robert, Lilian Nakintu Guluddene and Mercy Guluddene, supposedly colluded with Nicholas Kabagambe and fraudulently changed the tenure of his title from leasehold to freehold.
They changed the title from Leasehold (LRV 1099 Folio 24 Kyaggwe Block 40 plot 58) to Freehold (Mko1631 Folio 19 block 40 plot 58). After undertaking the said fraud, they purportedly sold the fraudulent freehold title to Nicholas Kabagambe. Immediately after the illegal freehold title was transferred to Nicholas Kabagambe, he started to violently evict bibanja holders on the land, destroying their property, crops and injuring many in the process.
It should be remembered that in 2018, a similar scenario played out in Kigaya-Golomolo, Buikwe district when, then youth minister Ronald Kibuule vowed to evict residents, until he was stopped by Buganda Land Board. Buganda Land Board petitioned the ministry of lands who subsequently cancelled Kibuule’s illegal title.
Many people get freehold titles through district land boards and use them to evict lawful bibanja holders. Government looks reluctant to stop this practice which has caused so much suffering to ordinary people, especially in villages. Experts warn that if the habit of ‘rich’ fraudulently acquiring freehold titles from districts and using the same to evict hapless people, doesn’t stop, the country will face a problem of a landless society, famine and possible insecurity.
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