By Our Reporter
ENTEBBE, Uganda [SHIFTMEDIA] State House top security officials are on the spot for grabbing a land belonging to a civil servant.
Rogers Irumba Kaija, a civil servant in Bwebajja, Wakiso, has petitioned State House to stop security operatives from trying to grab his land.
Kaija is the undersecretary in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM). Kaija accuses Maj Emmanuel Mwesigwa Kuteesa and Lt Col Night Ikiriza of conniving with police officers; Simon Arinaitwe, Sulaiti Kitaka, Godfrey Adria (RPC), and Seguya to deprive him of his land.
He further accuses them of harassment and creating trumped-up charges to intimidate him into losing interest in the land. According to Kaija, the operatives are pretending to help Florence Nambi, a daughter of Mary Namusisi, who sold the land to Kaija.
The contested land is located directly opposite the former J&M hotel, which the government acquired from the family of late businessman Joseph Behakanira. Bwebajja is one of the fastest- developing suburbs on the outskirts of Kampala due to the high demand for land amid speculation that the government is soon shifting several of its entities there.
Many speculators have embarked on a hunt for every piece of idle land, and this has attracted a number of land grabbers.
The Observer has obtained documents that show that on June 14, 2008, Namusisi sold the 50-by-100-foot piece of land to Kaija at Shs 9m and the agreement was witnessed by eight people, including LC officials and Namusisi’s siblings.
According to records, Kaija took possession of the said land by fencing it off and cultivating it without interruption, but in the wake of Namusisi’s death in 2021, her daughter Nambi commenced efforts to repossess it by involving security operatives.
“At the time Kaija bought the land, the prices were still low because Bwebajja is some distance from the city, but ever since speculation became rife that the government plans to bring several agencies here, land speculators have caused inflation of land valuations in the area and it has ignited several land disputes,” a local leader who preferred anonymity said.
In his petition, Kaija asserts that Maj Kuteesa and Lt. Col Ikiriza called him on the phone and claimed that they had instructions from President Museveni to recover the said land for the family of Nambi.
“The two indicated that I must accept government compensation for the land but, in any case, abandon interest in it. They even went on to threaten that I would lose my job if I didn’t comply,” reads part of Kaija’s petition.
According to Kaija, the compensation bit was aimed at having him concede ownership of the land. After refusing the offer, last year, Kaija was summoned to the State House land desk, where he claims similar demands were made of him.
“I heard for the first time that I had in fact never bought the said land, but I got it as a security (asset) after lending money to one Sempijja John Bosco, a brother of Namusisi,” he says.
Kaija says he was shocked when Florence Kiconco, the State House legal officer, wrote to him on August 31, 2021, on behalf of President Museveni’s principal private secretary, accusing him of grabbing the land.
When Kiconco finally visited the site on March 10, 2022, witnesses on the ground, who included the LC-I chairman and other relatives of Namusisi, confirmed Kaija’s contract of sale of the land.
Despite that overwhelming evidence, Maj. Kuteesa is said to have warned Kaija that he must abandon whatever claim he has over the land and never set foot there again or else he would be arrested and taken away, never to be seen again.
“This threat shocked all present, including Moses Mwine, who was the officer in charge of Bwebajja Police Post,” reads Kaija’s petition.
Indeed, on March 30, 2022, Kaija alleges that Maj Kuteesa, Kitaka, and Aciria fenced off the land, and when Kaija tore down the fence, he was arrested and detained at Nateete police station for four days.