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    OPINION: President’s Ban On Land Evictions Is For Common Good – D/PPS Faruk Kirunda…

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    Faruk Kirunda is the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary

    The directives issued by H.E President Yoweri Museveni contained in a letter dated February 28, 2022, titled “SUPPORT TOWARDS ON-GOING EFFORTS AGAINST ILLEGAL LAND EVICTIONS AND TRANSACTIONS” and addressed to the Prime Minister, Rt. Hon. Robinah Nabbanja, are within his powers under the Constitution and intended for common good.

    In short, the directives which banned all land evictions that are not cleared by respective District Security Committees (DSCs) do not upset the Constitutional or legal framework and there is no ground to challenge them. The directives serve to streamline the process of carrying out evictions and removing such powers from the hands of a few individuals who can and have been abusing such powers.

    In issuing the directive, President Museveni was using his powers under Articles 98(1) and 99(1) to ensure good governance and protect the Constitution. For legal accountability purposes, the President invoked these provisions to establish an unchallengeable basis for his orders. This served to give the officials concerned confidence to carry out the directives without fear of any repercussions.

    By directing, thus: “No eviction should be allowed to take place in a district without the District Security Committee (DSC), chaired by the Resident District Commissioners /Resident City Commissioners (RDCs/RCCs), meeting, looking and consulting directly the Minister of Lands”, the President was resolving a long standing operational lapse that caused insecurity and social upheaval and has been complained about for some time. The media has been full of stories and scenes of illegal and violent evictions and pending evictions that threatened to break down the peace and quiet of various places.

    Moreover, the evictions usually affected the poor who suffered the brunt of the financial muscle power of the rich.

    Note that there are two types of evictions that were causing problems; there are those evictions that were illegal and procured fraudulently through a corrupt court process or where the various stakeholders, including the buyer and seller were not in full agreement. Then, there were the legal evictions carried out wrongly without notifying local authorities to oversee the exercise. Both categories have been posing a great danger to peace and security and polarising relations between the landed and the landless. This is how mailo land partly became a departure point between landlords and squatters-unregulated transactions and evictions, where the poor tenants were defenceless and suffered injustice at every turn.

    With H.E’s new directive, tenants have a shield but, also, the claims of landlords and new buyers are secured since all parties would have to reach an understanding before physical possession of any space is accomplished.

    For avoidance of doubt, the DSCs are composed of RDCs and RCCs who are the heads.

    Other members are representatives from prisons, District Police Commander (DPC), District Internal Security Officer (DISO), a UPDF representative who is the Intelligence Officer, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Town Clerk, Mayor and Resident State Attorney (RSA). The composition of DSCs is such that all security organs and administrative organs are represented. This enables wide consultations that consider all angles to a land matter before consent is procured for an eviction to take place, if need be.

    Members of DSCs now know that any eviction that they have not cleared or cleared irregularly will backfire on them. It is no longer business as usual. Officials will not negligently or corruptly look on as violent situations explode in their respective jurisdictions. The new development means that anybody engaged in a land transaction that involves eviction has to notify the concerned officials who will consult with the Minister of Lands for guidance on the status of the transaction before a final decision is made.

    It goes without saying that the concerned officials must handle business expeditiously to prevent creating another bureaucracy that may complicate land transactions and also avoid making mistakes that may cost the government dearly in compensation for lost business, and so on.

    In the same communication, the President requested His Lordship the Chief Justice to prevail on Justices and Magistrates from violating the Constitution by illegally evicting people in collusion with land grabbers. He further directed the Minister of Lands to inform the Attorney General about such abuses by judicial officers so that legal action can be taken on them.

    In so doing, H.E did not usurp the court’s powers but appealed to the head of the bench to ensure that his officers dispense justice as fairly as possible in land matters.

    Part of the problem in land management and transactions has a base in the courts where corrupt judicial officers collude with the moneyed and issue illegal eviction orders that are executed at night or in awkward hours. Moreover, this is sometimes done without judges or magistrates visiting the locus to establish the material facts of the matter. A case of briefcase justice!

    With the President’s new directive and appeal to the Chief Justice in this regard, no presiding judicial officer should have interest and pass a decision in a land matter without exhaustively considering the facts on the ground. The indulgence of the learned Chief Justice will make a great difference in how land matters are approached in the Judiciary.

    Parliamentarians should also back the President’s directive and look at it as a matter of national importance in the interest of national development, security, good governance, effective justice and land management and above all, affirming the Constitutional order.

     

    The writer Faruk Kirunda is the Deputy Presidential Press Secretary

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    CRIME

    Kabaka Mutebi, Tycoon Ham Kiggundu Kigo Land War Deepens As BLB Boss Faces Prosecution Over Conflict Of Interest …

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    Tycoon Ham Kiggundu (L) and Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi (R). Inset is Bashir Juma

    Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi’s Kigo Land war with city tycoon Hamis Kiggundu, the proprietor of the Ham Enterprises Limited has deepened after Ham’s lawyers called for the prosecution of Buganda Land Board (BLB) boss Bashir Kizito Juma over conflict of interest.

    Kabaka through his lawyers led by Buganda Attorney Christopher Bwanika, lawyers from K&K Advocates and S&L Advocates petitioned the registrar Land Registration John Karuhanga seeking the cancellation of land titles Comprised on Kyadondo Block 273 plot 23974, 23976, 23975, 23977 and Kyadondo Block 273 plot 87,99, 110 situated at Kigo in Wakiso district.

    Kabaka asserted that he is the rightful owner of the land and accused Ham of fraudulently conniving with officers at Wakiso district land board to grab his land which he inherited from his father and grandfathers.

    He added that Ham admitted that he illegally obtained the land and accepted the cancellation which he strongly objected to in his defense before Karuhanga.

    In his defense, Ham, through his lawyers led by Fred Muwema contended that he is the owner of the land after he legally obtained it from Wakiso district land board.

    He claimed that the survey report which Kabaka Mutebi based on to argue his case is fake since it is not even dated and that’s the reason why he appointed a private surveyor William Matovu to conduct another survey report which contradicted with that of the Kabaka. He promised to present it to the registrar.

    He pleaded to the registrar not to base on the testimony of Bashir Kizito Juma, the legal Attorney to Kabaka because he has a conflict of interest in the matter.

    “Our contention is that there is an actual conflict of interest in the duties of Bashir Kizito Juma acting both as a public officer and a private officer of the complainant,” Ham’s lawyers said.

    They added, “This type of conduct by Bashir Kizito Juma is against the Code of Conduct and Ethics of Public Service issued under the Public Standing Orders 2010.”

    They divulged that conflict of interest is a punishable crime in Uganda especially where a public officer holds a position in a private body whose operations are in conflict with his official duties.

    He added that the irony of the matter is that the freehold titles were granted by the Wakiso District Land, which employs Bashir Kizito Juma which means that he is both a witness and the architect of the complaint.

    “This tribunal can therefore not entertain this conflict of public officers to pursue a conflicted complaint which derogates all best practice in public law. In our considered view, entertaining this complaint as presently filed is to perpetuate illegality and a constitutionally prohibited act,” they stated.

    Ham pleaded with Karuhanga’s tribunal to dismiss the complaint and declare him the rightful owner of the said land.

    Bashir Kizito Juma is the head Corporate affairs, operations and business development at Buganda Land Board (BLB), a corporate body that runs the kingdom’s land.

    Karuhanga is set to declare his team’s decision this week.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    NATIONAL

    Dr. Musenero’s Troubles Escalate As Parliament Gives IGG Three Months Ultimatum To Investigate Her Over Alleged Mismanagement Of Covid-19 Funds…

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    IGG Betty Kamya (R) and Minister Musenero (L)

    Parliament has given the Inspector General of Government (IGG), Beti Kamya three months to carry out further investigations into allegations of financial mismanagement against the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Monica Musenero.

    “We have agreed as a House that there are some burning issues such as abuse of office, money that has been lost, that we refer this and give the IGG three months to report back on the action taken,” Speaker Anita Among said yesterday.

    The resolution was reached during a plenary session when the parliament adopted amendments from the select committee report tabled on May 11 that was first tasked to investigate the alleged mismanagement of Covid-19 funds.

    According to the report, there were gross irregularities, including Shs. 2.6b that was unaccounted for that is why members recommended for the disbandment of the Presidential Scientific Initiative on Epidemics (PRESIDE) and that Dr. Musenero be personally held accountable for the alleged mismanagement.

    Kazo County Member of Parliament, Dan Kimosho who moved the motion to amend the report has thus called upon Dr. Musenero to step down from her office as investigations into her case continue.

    In response, however, Dr. Musenero who has since denied all the allegations told parliament that “If there is in any way, in my work and in the way I handled things, offended anybody, I regret those things and I will work to build a reputation and to build the science.”

    “The report refers to money which was lost but that money never left the Ministry of Science to go to PRESIDE scientists, because PRESIDE itself didn’t receive any money. There was no money lost and Musenero never touched any money.

    “Now, when you go to a technical institution like IGG, which is okay because we will sit and analyze the evidence. I am happy with the recommendations of the committee report, although they have some things which were not very accurate. We shall be telling the public what those facts are,”  Dr. Musenero added.

    Since last year, Dr. Musenero has been reporting to the committee to respond to a wide range of issues linked to the development of the Covid-19 drug of which the project is registering significant progress.

    President Museveni on several occasions publicly applauded Dr. Musenero with a vote warning all her perceived detractors that he would die with them should they continue attacking “his scientists.”

    Museveni recently even cautioned that the unwarranted fights would derail the projects of developing numerous virus vaccines.

    The President on many occasions has said that Uganda is likely to be the first African country to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.

     

    By Kobusiinge Monica

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    NATIONAL

    End Of Operation Shujaa: UPDF To Withdraw Troops From DR Congo In Two Weeks Unless M7 And Tshisekedi Agree On Extension…

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    Commander Operation Shujaa, Maj. Gen. Kayanja Muhanga (with walking stick) in DRC

    The Commander of Land Forces Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba has announced that Uganda will remove its troops from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in two weeks after months of massive fights and bombings in a fight against the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) terrorists.

    According to Lt. Gen. Muhoozi, Operation Shujaa will officially cease in about two weeks.

    “Operation Shujaa will officially cease in about two weeks according to our original agreement. It was supposed to last for 6 months. Unless I get further instructions from our Commander in Chief or CDF, I will withdraw all our troops from DRC in two weeks,” Lt. Gen. Kainerugaba revealed on Tuesday.

    Muhoozi however added that Operation Shujaa will only continue if President Museveni and President Tshisekedi agree to extend it.

    “To be clear Operation Shujaa will continue even for another 6 months if the two Presidents, Kaguta Museveni and H.E. Tshisekedi decide to extend it. The two of them are the ultimate authorities. The Joint Forces of UPDF and FARDC are happy to keep eliminating ADF,” he added.

    Under the command of Maj. Gen. Kayanja Muhanga, Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) in November last year launched an operation code-named operation Shujaa with air, artillery and ground attacks against ADF rebels in eastern DR Congo in a move to eliminate the Islamist militants who had allegedly launched terror attacks on Uganda.

    Maj. Gen. Kayanja Muhanga, celebrating Women’s Day with Congolese women in Kainama trading centre.

    The ADF has for several years operated in the volatile North Kivu which borders other provinces including Ituri to the north and South Kivu to the South and has been a battleground for a number of rival armed ethnic groups since 1998.

    The province consists of three cities including; Goma, Butembo and Beni as well as six territories Beni, Lubero, Masisi, and Rutshuru.

    According to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, the ADF which was designated as a terrorist group by the US government has used the name Madina at Tauheed Wau Mujahedeen (City of Monotheism and Holy Warriors (MTM) to refer to emphasize its links to the Islamic State.

    In 2019, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for an ADF attack and first referenced a “Central Africa Province.”

    The organization is allegedly led by Musa Baluku, who served as a senior ADF Islamic legal official before consolidating power following Mukulu’s arrest in 2015.

    The group has been blamed for last year’s bomb attacks in Kampala which killed over seven people and left others with severe injuries.

    Following the launch of an operation against the group in the thick DRC forests by a joint force of the UPDF and Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FADRC), the ADF rebels were said to have fled their hideouts and were roaming in the thick jungles after their lives were made difficult.

    Consequently, the group has been carrying out attacks on several villages and towns where they know the joint forces are not present and looting food and animals.

     

    By Kobusiinge Monica

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