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    Why Is Your Commission Targeting Kabaka’s Land? Mayiga Quizzes Bamugemereire

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    Buganda kingdom lawyers David Mpanga, Apollo Makubuya and Charles Peter Mayiga who also doubles as the 'Katikkiro'

    A delegation from Buganda Kingdom led by the Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga appeared before the Land Probe Commission to request that the Commission alleys fears that its sole purpose is to deprive the Kabaka and his subjects of his land.

    Mayiga’s delegation comprised of Martin Kasekende the kingdom minister for lands, Prince David Wassajja, Mbogo Clan head Kayiira  Gajuule, Owek. Apollo Makubuya and Owek. David Mpanga who are also Lawyers.

    Mayiga pinned the land probe for harboring an agenda of targeting Kabaka’s land as a person and Buganda institution.

    ”My lord, it’s no longer a hidden secret that this commission is targeting Kabaka’s land, many people in the countryside tell me that this commission was appointed to take away Kabaka’s land,”Mayiga said.

    Mayiga asked the commission what the problem is with the current land tenure ownership. He warned that what the commission is trying to do was done by the previous regimes unsuccessfully. He gave an example of Amin’s land reform decree of 1975 when he abolished mailo land ownership.

    He also gave another example of when president Milton Obote abolished mailo land titles and even transferred all Buganda land to the Uganda land commission as public land, “when the new government came to power, all the mailo titles were returned back.”

    The Katikiiro also wondered why the land probe in their interim report to the president recommended for the compulsory acquisition of people’s land which is contrary to articles 26 and 237 which gives people powers to own property.

    Mayiga said that the problem is not about abolishing mailo land ownership. “The problem is with the corrupt government officers, a compromised, slow and sometimes unfair judicial process in resolving land disputes, increased pressure on land because of the increasing population and demand for land, politicization and the creation of many layers of authority within the government structures that often interfere and cause confusion in land administration.”

    However, Mayiga was assured by Robert Ssebunya one of the commissioners that they were not appointed to abolish mailo land tenure ownership: “Owekitiibwa Katikiiro I’m assuring you that I cannot recommend the abolition of the mailo land ownership because I know very well where my name Ssebunya comes from.”

    This follows allegations that the interim report from the Commission presented to the President reccommended that the Mailo Land System should be abolished. Among the other recommendations that the kingdom officials presented to the commission include:

    • The Kingdom wants ‘Kyapa mu Ngalo’ Project to be recognised because it enables occupants to get land titles and also gets protection of the law since registered owners cease to interfere with the occupants rights.
    • They want a special court that is entirely dedicated to handling land matters to their logical conclusion to be put in place at district levels. This court should take 3-4 months because very many people including Buganda Kingdom are adversely affected by the land court process where cases take ages to be resolved.
    • Government must also ensure that rule of law is restored and applied fairly across the country to be able to get rid of the untouchables in land matters.
    • He also demanded that more judges be appointed in the High court Land Divisions to deal with the backlog of land cases still pending.
    • He decried Governement’s failure to compensate people for their land especially once the actual values have been agreed upon by the parties.

     

    By Jamil Lutakome

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    NATIONAL

    Furious Kabaka Mutebi Lawyers Protest His Subject’s Prayer To Access His Juicy Bank Accounts And Confidential Kingdom Documents He Signed With President Museveni…

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    Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi (R) with President Museveni (L)

    The Constitutional Court which also doubles as the Court of Appeal is set to decide on Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi’s protest against the prayers made by his subject lawyer Kassim Male Mabirizi who wants to access and inspect his juicy bank accounts and other confidential Buganda Kingdom documents he signed with President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and the status of the Official Mailo land in Buganda.

    theGrapevine has exclusively seen a letter dated 2nd April 2024 which was received by the Attorney General’s chambers, K&K Advocates, lawyers representing Kabaka Mutebi in his Official capacity as a corporation sole culture leader of Buganda and S&L Advocates, the lawyers representing Kabaka Mutebi in his personal capacity as Ronald Muwenda Mutebi the son to late Sir Edward Walugembe Mutesa.

    In the said letter, Mabirizi claimed that he was going to use the documents to argue out his case against the respondents given that they are instrumental in helping court deliver justice in his petition.

    Among the documents Mabirizi listed to be given to him by Kabaka’s lawyers include; the certified copy of the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding signed between Kabaka Mutebi and President Museveni.

    He also wants to be given up to date particulars of all land leases, sub leases, licenses and other dealings between the office of Kabaka of Buganda and himself as Ronald Mutebi and his personal companies where he has interests and shares.

    Mabirizi also wants Kabaka to give him documents showing the particulars of all payments so far made to his office as Kabaka of Buganda including bank transfers and statements pursuant to the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding.

    He wants to also access all the payments so far made to Kabaka Mutebi by settlers on the official mailo land returned to him by President Museveni’s government in 1993.

    Mabirizi also wants the Attorney General Kiryowa Kiwanuka who is also a senior partner at K&K Advocates who he wrote to in his official capacity as the Attorney General of Uganda to reveal to him certified copies of the parliament plenary attendance lists for Members of Parliament present during the debate and passing of the Land Act 1998.

    He wants to be given the parliament plenary proceedings (Hansard) leading to the Land Act 1998 as passed, the parliamentary plenary proceedings (Harsard) that led to the Land (Amendment) Act 2010 and a certified copy of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2013 between the government of Uganda and Kabaka Mutebi.

    He also wants up to date particulars of all the properties so far returned to Kabaka, all payments and bank statements so far made to Kabaka as a result of the signed agreement.

    Mabirizi also wrote to Kabaka Mutebi’s other lawyers of S&L Advocates who are representing him in his personal capacity to reveal to him the bank statements of their client.

    However, Mabirizi confirmed that Kabaka’s lawyers of K&K Advocates through their senior partner Edwin Karugire who is also a personal lawyer and a son-in-law to President Museveni confirmed to him that they are not going to give him the documents he asked for because he has no legal bearing in his petition.

    “Now I’m waiting for a response from the Attorney General because he is also a party in my petition and Kabaka’s personal lawyers of S&L Advocates. If they decline to reveal the documents I ask for, I will proceed with the application before the Court so that they force them to do so,” Mabirizi said.

    He boasted that he is not threatened with Karugire’s actions because there are a number of authorities which he will rely on to convince the Justices of the Constitutional Court to force them to give him the documents he wants.

    Mabirizi further wants Kabaka Mutebi, his former cultural, palace and security minister and also the former Chief Executive Officer of Buganda Land Board  (BLB) David Kiwalabye Male, Baker Ssejjengo an employee of BLB, Bashir Kizito Juma the Deputy BLB Chief Executive Officer to be cross examined.

    He claims that Kizito and Ssejjego helped Kabaka to mismanage Buganda Kingdom properties and a number of them are registered in his personal names and companies.

    He further alleges that Kabaka Mutebi’s BLB used force to violate settlers on the official mailo while the government looked on.

    He wants court to declare that president Museveni illegally signed the 2013 Memorandum of Understanding with Kabaka Mutebi.

    He further wants the five justices of the constitutional court to declare that Kabaka Mutebi is not the owner of Buganda Kingdom official mailo land but just a trustee.

    Kabaka and other parties denied all the allegations Mabirizi placed against them and asked court to dismiss his petition with costs.

    Court set 1st June, 2024 as the date to kickoff the process of scheduling the matter before it is taken to the five justices who will determine it.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    MY MONEY

    How City Businessman Sentongo Took First Win In The Shs10bn Legal War Against DTB Bank…

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    City businessman Haruna Sentongo the proprietor of Haruna Enterprises Uganda Limited is smiling from ear to ear after bagging the first win in the Shs10bn legal fight against Diamond Trust Bank (DTB) Uganda and Kenya branches respectively.

    Justice John Oscar Kihika of the Court of Appeal which also doubles as the Constitutional Court has issued a temporary injunction restraining the bank’s  agents, representatives, nominees assignees and/or successors in title from selling, transferring, alienating, evicting, dealing with and or in any way interfering with Sentongo’s interest and possession of the properties comprised in Block 12 Plots 538, 826 and 898 at Mengo until the determination of appeal against the the Commercial Division of the High Court Judgment.

    Sentongo through his lawyers lead by Commercial law giant Derrick Bazekuketta filed an application to the Court of Appeal alleging that his multibillion property is under a serious threat as banks have sent brokers to inspect the property with the suitable buyers claiming that it was available for sale on orders of the court.

    In his affidavit, guided by Bazekuketta, Sentongo pleaded to Court to stop the selling of his property insisting that his appeal is meritorious and he has higher chances of winning the appeal against the bank.

    He explained to the presiding justice at the Commercial Division of the High Court erred in law and in fact when he dismissed his entire case on technicality because he failed to honour his directive to fiIe trial bundle within the timelines he directed noting that to his surprise even the bank didn’t file the said trial bundle.

    He insisted that his failure was caused by the grant of an order for leave to amend his plaint and the subsequent pleadings.

    However, the bank through their lawyers led by Stephen Zimula protested the application relying on the affidavit of Emajeit Mbabazi. Zimula raised two preliminary points of law insisting that the application is incomplete before the Court of Appeal.

    In his submissions, Zimula told Court that the said application was supposed to be first filed in the High Court before proceeding to the Court of Appeal insisting that the Order issued by the High Court is a negative order that is not capable of being stayed.

    Counsel informed Court that the rule against issuing a stay order in respect to a negative order cannot be circumvented merely by terming the order sought as an injunction.

    In reply, armed with a number of authorities, Bazekuketta told Court that in an application for temporary injunction, it is not mandatory for the Applicant to first file the Application at the High Court noting that laws and rules allow him to rush to the Appellate Court directly.

    He also argued that his application before the said Court is one seeking for a temporary injunctive order and the same is validly before the court.

    He explained to the Court that his application is for a temporary injunction and not an order of stay of execution of a negative order.

    He pleaded with counsel Zimula to carefully revise his law books so that they help him not to confuse an application for stay of execution with an application for a temporary injunction.

    Justice Kihika agreed with counsel Bazekekutte’s submissions noting that it would not be possible for Sentongo to file an application for a temporary injunction in the High Court in the absence of a pending suit explaining that the only option available to him was to file the application before the Court of Appeal.

    “I therefore found that this application for a temporary injunction is properly before this court. The first preliminary point of law is thus over ruled,” the judge stated in his ruling.

    He further disagreed with counsel Zimula’s argument that Sentongo’s application is seeking a stay of a negative order of dismissal which is not capable of being stayed explaining that it is clear that the application seeks an order for a temporary injunction against the bank restraining its agents and other people working in the bank’s interest from interfering with his interest and possession of his properties comprised in Block 12 Plots 538, 826 and 898 at Mengo until the termination of the appeal.

    Justice Kihika explained that a temporary injunction is intended to maintain the status quo of things pending the determination by court of some serious cause pending before it.

    He noted that the granting of a temporary injunction is an exercise of judicial discretion and the purpose of granting it is to preserve the matters in the status quo until the question is investigated in the main suit and disposed of.

    He cited the conditions for the grant of a temporary injunction which include; the applicant must show a prima facie case with a probability of success and that such injunction will not normally be granted unless the applicant might otherwise suffer irreparable injury which would not adequately be compensated by an award of damages.

    He further stated that a temporary injunction can be issued and if Court is in doubt, it would decide an application on the balance of convenience. He added that a temporary injunction is granted so as to prevent the ends of justice from being defeated.

    On the issue of likelihood of success, Justice Kihika stated that Sentongo stated in his affidavit in support of his application that the appeal is meritorious, raises serious questions for determination of the Court of Appeal and has a high likelihood of success.

    He further agreed with Sentongo who stated that on 30th March, 2023, his matter came up for hearing and timelines were issued by the trial judge of the High Court on when to file witness statements, trial bundles and a joint scheduling memorandum.

    He added that On 14th April, Sentongo filed his witness statement and on 18th he applied for leave to amend the plaint, which leave was granted.

    Following the grant of his application, an amended plaint was filed on 21st June 2023 and in November, the bank filed an application seeking for further and better particulars.

    On 29th November, 2023, the trial Judge dismissed the suit under Order 1 Rule 4 of the Civil Procedure Rules.

    In conclusion, Justice Kihika therefore considered that Sentongo has convinced Court that he has a prima facie case pending determination of his appeal before the Court of Appeal.

    On the issue of whether Sentongo will suffer irreparable damage or that the appeal will be rendered nugatory when the temporary order is granted, Justice Kihika base on Sentongo’s affidavit where he stated that he acquired the suit land in 2014 and it took him over 5 years to develop the same with a market he named ‘Nakayiza’ after his mother.

    He added that he has a sentimental attachment on the property that cannot be compensated for in damages if the property is sold. The property in the instant case is a commercial building with a market whose rent proceeds can be ascertained.

    “In my understanding, the applicant has to show that the damage bound to be suffered is such that it cannot be undone. It is therefore my considered view that the Applicant will suffer irreparable damage if this application is not granted,” the justice ruled.

    On the issue of balance of convenience, Justice Kihika explained that it is determined to lie more on the one who will suffer more if the bank is not restrained in the activities complained of in the said case insisting that the balance of convenience favors Sentongo if the application is not granted.

    He based on the evidence that Sentongo is in possession of the suit property which is a commercial building with various tenants carrying out business and the sale of the property will be to the detriment of him. That is why he wants to maintain the status quo until the determination of the appeal pending before the Court of Appeal.

    Court records seen by the mighty Grapevine indicate that in 2015, Sentongo approached the bank for a financial facility for completion of the commercial blocks for Segawa Market which was to be rented out to tenants to derive rental income.

    Both parties executed a facility in a letter dated 22nd February, 2016, for a Loan of Shs5bn and it was agreed that the facility would only be serviced through rent collections from the market if the bank funded the development.

    Sentongo claims that the bank breached the facility contract by failing to disburse the agreed sums of monies.

    Court documents show that Sentongo told the Commercial Division of the High Court that the bank would purport to credit his bank account, and synonymously liquidate the loan, paying itself back immediately with the sums credited, and the sums it would repay itself were always reflected as “Loan amounts recovered”.

    The bank on the other hand, according to court documents claimed that between February to October 2016, Sentongo was granted several loan facilities and at his request, they were consolidated into one term loan with a single monthly instalment amortized for a period of five years.

    He however, failed to meet his loan repayment obligations consequent upon which the bank issued him two notices of default.

    The bank further claimed that when they started the process of recovering their sum of Shs10bn, Sentongo decided to institute a lawsuit and was defeated at the Commercial Division of the High Court.

     

    By Sengooba Alirabaki

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    CRIME

    Minister Mao In Trouble As Lawyers Threaten To Petition Law Council Over Contempt Of Court Order…

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    Seasoned Kampala lawyer who also doubles as Mityana South legislator Richard Kizito Lumu has threatened to lead a team of lawyers to petitioned Uganda Law Council contesting the actions of Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister Norbert Mao of violating legally issued court orders.

    Lumu claimed that Mao intentionally violated a Court Order issued by High Court Registrar Fasial Mulalira stopping Democratic Party (DP) National Executive Committee meeting which was held in Mbale city.

    Lumu explained that the Court Order resulted from a recent High Court judgment declaring Mao’s election as the DP presidential general illegal.

    However Mao insists that the said Court Order is fake and that it was forged by his competitors in the party who are challenging his political marriage with president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s government.

    Mao boasted that he is a highly trained lawyer who has been in legal practice since 1994 and he has enough experience to differentiate a fake Court Order and a real one.

    However, Counsel Lumu gave Mao only 24 hours from Sunday evening to report to police the complaint of forging a Court Order or they petition the Law Council.

    “Mao used his office as a minister in Museveni’s government to report the complaint to police and cause the arrest of the lawyer who extracted the Court Order. We are taking him to the Law Council for disciplinary action,” Lumu said.

    He claims that all the resolutions passed in the DP NEC meeting in Mbale are illegal and they are going to challenge them before the Courts of law.

     

    By Hadijjah Namagembe

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