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Uganda Land Commission disowns scout bosses in sale of 120-acre land at Kaazi camping site

Kampala, (UG): Uganda Land Commission (ULC), the statutory agency mandated to hold and manage all government land and property has filed a response denying to having aided the sale of a 120-acre land in Kaazi, Wakiso district.

The development comes in the wake of concerns raised by the Buganda Kingdom protesting the manner in which the land which belongs to Kaazi camping site was fraudulently sold by the leaders of the Uganda Scouts Association.

The Kingdom through the Buganda Land Board (BLB), the entity responsible for managing Buganda Kingdom land, had earlier on October 25, petitioned the Commissioner of Land Registration, requesting the cancellation of all titles acquired on the disputed land arguing that the said titles were improperly obtained.

BLB also contested the subdivision and sub-leasing of the land by the Uganda Land Commission (ULC), which they said, occurred without the consent of the Kabaka of Buganda, who is the registered owner of the land.

Now responding to the Kingdom’s queries, the Uganda Land Commission in a letter dated October 26, 2023, addressed to the Commissioner of Land Registration at the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, denied having given out or assisted the process of selling the land with further evidence tabled for perusal.

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“We wish to clarify to you that on perusal of the records, it has been confirmed that the title was transferred from the Commission to the Kabaka of Buganda. In our letter of 6th October 2023, we communicated to you the response from the Commissioner for Surveys and Mapping to our request to confirm whether the land falls under mailo tenure or not (a copy of the letter from Commissioner Surveys and Mapping is attached),” reads in part a letter signed by Mr Andrew Nyumba the acting secretary of the commission, copy of which DailyExpress has seen.

“We further inform you that the Uganda Land Commission during its meeting of 17th -19th October 2023 under minute 40/2023 (a) (193) rescinded minute 40/2021 (a) (33) of 6th -10″‘ September 2021 that had approved consent to subdivide, sublease and change of user from Camping to Camping, National Training and mixed-use (Commercial and Residential) having noted that by the time the consent was granted, the land had already been transferred to the Kabaka of Buganda. This means that the consents to sublease and change of user that were granted by minute 40/2021 (a) (33) of 6th -101h September 2021 are all recalled by the Commission,” the letter adds.

Background

The 120-acre piece of land is located 12 kilometres off Entebbe Road, on the shores of Lake Victoria, and has served as the national scouts’ camping site since 1948 when it was granted to them by Sir Edward Muteesa II. The disputed land, located in Kyadondo Block 273, Plot 5, is part of the 350-square-mile area known as Olusukulwa Kabaka (Kabaka’s plantation).

Documents show that the Uganda Scouts Association initially secured a 49-year lease from Muteesa himself.

In 1967, the land came under the management of ULC after the government’s seizure of all Buganda Kingdom properties following the 1966 crisis.

In 1988, ULC renewed the lease under similar terms for 99 years. However, when the government returned Buganda Kingdom properties in 1993 through the Traditional Rulers (Restitution) of the Assets and Property Act, the land reverted to Buganda Kingdom.

Notably, the estate administrators of the late Sir Daudi Chwa I, Prince Kalema Kimera, and Princess Nalinya Nandaula had previously claimed ownership of the land. In 2017, they filed a lawsuit against the Kabaka of Buganda, BLB, the Commissioner of Registration, and the Attorney General, seeking a declaration of their ownership.

However, the Principal Judge, Dr. Flavian Zeija, dismissed the case on September 28, 2020, citing that it was barred by the Limitation Act. The act allows for a 12-year period within which a land recovery lawsuit can be initiated, and the judge questioned why it took the petitioners 93 years to file their suit.

Wrangles begin

Recently, Brig Gen. Moses Lukyamuzi, the head of the presidential special task force on lands and environment, halted further development on the land while investigations were ongoing. Armed individuals have resisted those attempting to cut down trees and grade the land.

The Ministry of Education, which oversees the activities of the Uganda Scouts Association, claims to have no knowledge of the sub-divisions or sub-leases on the scouts’ land.

Dr. Dennis Mugimba, the ministry’s spokesperson, stated that the commissioner for physical education and sports, responsible for scouting, would investigate the matter and report to the Education Minister and First Lady, Janet Museveni.

Land sold to Serena Heights Kaazi

According to documents which this website has seen, a section of leaders at the Uganda Scouts Association obtained a substitute certificate of title with the assistance of certain ULC officials before subdividing and sub-leasing part of the land to two companies: M/s Serena Heights Kaazi Ventures and M/s Sky and Lakes Limited. These companies subsequently began parcelling out the land for commercial and residential purposes.

On a run-through of a name-check at the Uganda Registration Services Bureau, this website learnt that the two companies cited in the saga; Serena Heights Kaazi Ventures was established in 2022, while M/s Sky and Lakes Limited was incorporated in 2011.

The sub-leases to these companies were endorsed by all members of the Scouts’ association leadership and witnessed by officials from the National Scouts Board. Notably, one listed witness, Lucy Nakyobe, did not sign the document.

Bigwigs implicated

Prominent individuals, including Bishop Nelson Onono Onweng, Patrick Barugahare Mujuni, and Dr. John Mugisha, who serve as trustees of the Uganda Scouts Association, are among those involved in signing the sub-leases. The Chief Scout Dr. Maggie Kigozi, and Richard Kamya, Lawrence Kazoya, acting on behalf of the National Scouts’ board, also witnessed these transactions.

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Bishop Onweng, one of the scouts’ association trustees, urged scouts to reach out to him directly for explanations regarding the sub-leases on the Kaazi land.

It’s essential to note that Kaazi is not just a campsite; it also serves as a conservation area.



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