More than 500 Entebbe families face eviction

17 Feb 2024

BY URN

KAMPALA. More than 500 families living on a piece of land located in Manyago Housing Estate in Manyago village in Katabi Town Council, Entebbe Municipality in Wakiso district say they are living in fear and risk being evicted after their land was leased out to a third party without their consent.

The families, while addressing a press conference on Thursday through their lawyers led by Stanley Okecho from GEM Advocates, said that the occupants earlier petitioned Court. They then entered into a Consent Judgement that stated that the  sitting tenants be given priority when the Entebbe Municipal Council is leasing out the 15 acre land.

According to the Court records seen, it was agreed in the consent Judgement that the occupants shall have one month from the date of filing the consent to apply to Entebbe Municipality Council for their respective plots whereupon, they shall be given five months to pay the premium and other necessary fees as shall be stated in the offer letters . Upon grant of lease, the occupants were to demolish the current houses on their respective plots of land within the same period.

Entebbe Municipality was also given responsibility to grant necessary consent and approval of the building plans presented by the occupants, according to the consent where Court of Appeal Geoffrey Kiryabwire presided over as the Mediator.

Despite this, Okecho says his clients have since established that Entebbe Municipal Council created another lease over the same piece of land which ordinarily would be going to the sitting tenants.

He explains that when court issued the consent judgement, it directed that the land be evaluated to ensure the sitting tenants know how much to pay.

As a result, records show that Entebbe Municipal Council through its former Town Clerk, Aisha Kitenda on January 16th 2023 wrote to the Chief Government Valuer to ascertain the value of the land in issue for purposes of implementing the consent judgement.

Further, Entebbe Municipality Council on January 18th 2024 again wrote to the Chief Government Valuer reminding him to conduct the Evaluation Exercise after waiting for a full year without feedback.

“The Concern was raised in the Auditor General’s Report for the year ending June 30th 2022 where it was recommended that the Accounting Officer expedites the process. The same was re-echoed by the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee. In the absence of the valuation report, we cannot proceed,” reads the letter by the Town Clerk Emmanuel Mugisha Gakyaro.

Despite all this, the families say they were surprised to learn that the land to which the Chief Government Valuer refused to give valuation was fraudulently leased to a third party in total contempt of court.

A search in the Ministry of Lands indicated that the same land had been leased by Entebbe Municipal Council to one Bugembe Kaggwa Ssegujja for a period of 49 years starting January, 20, 2023.

Documents also show that Ssegujja bought the land on lease for a paltry 20 million shillings as the premium and an annual rent of 100, 000 shillings. According to the documents, whereas Entebbe Municipal Council entered the consent Judgement with the sitting tenants of Manyago Estate in 2020, the lease to Ssegujja shows it was entered in March, 2011, an issue that tenants say there is a possible fraud.

In another letter dated February, 6th 2024 the Town Clerk, Mugisha Gacharo emphasizes that there is no lease on the land in contention.

Now, the tenants say they are confused and that after putting in huge sums of money into the said land, including renovating houses, the municipal council leased out their land without their consent yet in the consent judgement, it was clearly spelt out that they should be considered first.

One of them Flavia Aliru has told URN with emotions that she is living in fear because of the looming eviction and called upon the government and security to prevail over their grievances.

Retired Civil Servant Joyce Okiror says that she is about to clock 70 years but has been living on that land but she wonders how the lease could be given to a third party when there was a court consent that the tenants be given priority.

The tenants now want the existing lease they describe as fraudulent created in favor of the third party to be surrendered and cancelled.

On his part, Ssegujja  Kaggwa whom they allege to have been given the lease as the third party when contacted about the accusations about him, he stated that  that he acquired the said lease legally, paid the taxes and all fees required and the documents were accordingly signed .

He said that the other two people with the leases and it is not only him with the lease but as for him, he went through the right process.

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