Kampala, Uganda [SHIFTMEDIANEWS] ‘What goes around, turns around,” so goes the saying. The 30-year battle over true ownership of the late Bishop Shalita’s land located at Omukyeera. Kimomo, Nyabushozi Kiruhura seem to have ended.
The end follows a directive by President Yoweri Museveni in a letter dated November 8, 2023, to the Inspector General of Police, John Martins Okoth Ochola, to have the ‘stubborn and chaotic’ trespassers evicted.
As we wrote this, the IGP had already instructed that two buses, accompanied by a contingent of heavily armed anti-riot police, evict and load the trespassers found in the disputed land to face prosecution for malicious damage, trespass, and assault.
The trespassers (invaders), the late Christopher Kajundira’s family, are being backed by one Major Muhoozi and President Museveni’s younger brother, Micheal Nuwagira aka Toyota.
Sources reveal that after the presidential missive of November 23, Toyota met Museveni and literally ‘cried’ that elders on the ground be heard before any eviction is carried out. The IGP was notified to stay the eviction until the elders are heard on Saturday, December 16, 2023.
But the family of the late Bishop Shalita says that the actions of Toyota are geared towards delaying their re-entry into their land.
What Prompted Museveni’s Action?
On September 12, 2023, Kampala Associated Advocates (KAA), the lawyers representing Bishop Shalita’s family, wrote a six-page letter to President Museveni and First Lady, Hon. Hon Janet Kataaha Museveni. In the complaint Tittle: “Invasion of Bishop Shalita Family and forced take-over of their land by Major Muhoozi, Toyota Nzaire, and the Kajundira family at Kyeera, Kimomo, Kikatsi, Nyabushozi missive, the lawyers laid down their demands to the Fountain of Honor.
They noted that Christopher Kajundira invaded Bishop Shalita’s land in the 1960s. The dispute over the land went to different courts of law and was resolved in Bishop Shalita’s favor in the 1990s.
KAA noted that in seven court decisions, the courts found that the land belongs to Bishop Shalita and his family and that Kajundira and his family are trespassers. The courts ordered that the Kajundira be evicted in 1997, only for them to come back led by Major Muhoozi Kajundira, armed with guns, spears, and machetes, on March 22, 2022. The president was informed that Major Muhoozi was supported by Michael Nuwagira (Toyota), Shadrach Nzaire, the RDC, DPC, and DISO of Kiruhura.
Summary of Court Judgments
Civil Appeal No. 76 of 1990 ruled that the land belongs to Bishop Shalita, who acquired it from Mutashwera and Rwakanuma, and that Kajundira was a trespasser.
Similarly, Civil Application No. 35 of 1994 that Kajundira appealed upheld the ruling of 1990. The case was dismissed. In 1996, Kajundira filed the fourth case at the High Court (Application No. 02 of 1996), further seeking to appeal; it was also dismissed. He was still declared a trespasser, and the appeal had no merit.
On February 7, 1997, the court issued a warrant of eviction against Kajundira and his family. They were evicted on February 19, 1997, and all their developments were removed.
25 years after the eviction and death of Kajundira in 2005, Major Muhoozi Kajundira, son of the late Christopher Kajundira, supported by Toyota and Nzaire, attacked the Bishop Shalita family with guns and spears. They again filed a case in High Court Misc Application No. 4 of 2022 seeking to overturn the 1990 ruling, but the court again dismissed the application on April 20, 2022, but they remained on the land to date.
In a High Court Application No. 172 of 2022 filed by the Bishop Shalita family, where they sued the DPC and RDC of Kiruhura, the court ruled that land belongs to the Bishop Shalita family. The court also ordered that the Kajundira family, the RDC, and the DPC were guilty of contempt of court for forcefully returning to the land. The Kajundiras were fined Shs10 million, while the RDC and DPC were reprimanded.
Other Investigations Conducted
The various government entities that conducted investigations confirmed that there was violence, contempt of court, and a forceful takeover of the land. The findings showed that the attempts to evict the Kajundira family from Bishop Shalita’s land are frustrated because of the involvement of Toyota, Nzaire, the RDC, and other district officials.
The Solicitor General cautioned the RDC on May 18, 2004 against resettling the Kajundira family on Bishop Shalita’s land. The SG noted that Kajundira had the right to claim land from which he had been evicted and warned that it was unlawful for any government agent to try to resettle him on the land.
Again, a State House investigation conducted by State House SPA/Legal, Flora Kiconco, on August 30, 2010, established that the land was for Bishop Shalita and noted that there was no way Kajundira would be allowed to re-occupy the land.
Efforts by the Minister for Lands in a March 28, 2022, letter warning the RDC Kiruhura to desist from defying court orders were not honored. Her orders that the RDC evict the invaders weren’t respected due to her influence.
On April 7, 2022, the Principle Private Secretary to the President wrote to the Rwizi Regional Police Commander, directing him to ensure Kajundira’s family was removed from the land they forcibly occupied in defiance of court orders. His directives were also defied.
As if that was not all, an investigation report by the Joint Security Team from Police and Minister of Defense, Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi, geared to conduct an inquiry on the disputed land released a report on June 17, 2022, indicating that Kajundiras had forcefully invaded and maimed the Shalita family against court orders. The directives that they be evicted weren’t honored.
Investigations by UPDF and CMI released on July 6, 2023, concluded that Bishop Shalita was the true owner of the land. The CMI also confirmed that Major Muhoozi had deployed soldiers who shot and tortured the family members of Bishop Shalita. They recommended disciplinary action against Maj. Muhoozi, but nothing was done.
On August 5, 2022, the Attorney General advised the IGP regarding the dispute over the land. The AG warned that the actions of the police officers were clearly on their own and that their actions were not sanctioned by the government.
The IGP wrote five (5) letters to the RPC directing him to evict the Kajundiras from the land; Toyota, the RDC, and Nzaire thwarted the eviction.
What’s on the Ground
Currently, Toyota, Maj. Muhoozi, and the Kajundiras are forcefully occupying the land. Cows were stolen, and others were killed. Cattle spray races were destroyed, and watering points were forcefully taken over. Houses have been vandalized. The police are protecting the invaders, while a unit is protecting the Kajundiras.
Registrar Lands On Spot
The Registrar of Lands, though directed by the Minister for Lands to evoke the illegal processes used to attain the land titles, defied the directives. Baker Mugaino refused to cancel the illegal titles, stating that he was asked by “people highly connected’ to maintain the illegal titles in favor of the Kajundira family. In a recent traditional ceremony, Mugaino was seen posing with the likes of Toyota, Nzaire, and Kajundira family members. This depicts, as you can guess.
In his letter to the IGP (that we obtained), Museveni wrote: “I have been informed that the land dispute between the two families has been going on for a long time. It was adjudicated in different courts that ruled in favor of the late Bishop Shalita. The Attorney General also gave an opinion on the matter.” Museveni added: “As a result of the judgments, the family of Late Kajundira was evicted from the said land; however, using force with the assistance of some police and Army officers, the family instead forcefully reoccupied the land contrary to court judgments. This impunity and lack of respect for the rule of law must not be allowed to prevail in this country.”
Museveni then directed the IGP to immediately evict the family of the late Kajundira and their agents. “Disciplinary action should also be taken against the police and Army officers who facilitated the illegal reoccupation of the land. All the other persons involved should also be prosecuted,” ordered Museveni.
Museveni also ordered that the certificates of title for land belonging to Bishop Shalita that were cancelled be reinstated and that title issues to the Kajundira family be cancelled. “I also direct that disciplinary action be taken against the land officers involved,” said Museveni.